PreMED\ Internationl Students

I don’t know if I completely qualify as an international student going into medicine having lived in Australia for the preceding 3 years for my undergraduate degree. Even more so that my undergraduate degree; my colleagues who make up the year have very diverse backgrounds and experiences. In my opinion, this diversity and ample endowment of adventure and interaction is part of the reason I do not really feel like a complete outsider, even as an international student.


The standard of living in Canberra is on par or even better than some major cities. As I have already mentioned; the sheer diversity in communities means that there’s always a selection of activities to do. From coffee and movies; to mountain biking, running and other sports. In winter; the snow is only a couple of hours drive away. The only drawback is that it’s generally more expensive living in Australia compared to home. In my case the difference is particularly pronounced.


That said, you may also wish to find employment while you are here. The experience is always handy, particularly if you are employed in the health care sector, in a pharmacy or causal work in a hospital/family practice. International students are allowed to work 20 hours in a week, although there is no limit on the hours you work outside of the semester.


I feel that the biggest challenge has been my lack of know how of health care and other organisational hierarchy and systems in Australia. That said, it isn’t a major issue, as a lot of these concepts are recurring during the duration of the MChD degree and even more once a student gets into their clinical years. A lot of information can always be found on the internet too; as always.


Canberra is also home to all the diplomatic missions in Australia; which means that if you ever needed to apply for a travel visa; you do not have to drive too far at all. The airport is a small domestic establishment; but Sydney is only a 3 hour drive away; which is a hub for a large number of major destinations. If you don’t have a car; Murray’s operates a bus service to Sydney at regular intervals and offer discounts to student travellers.


You may also wish to apply to live in one of the universities accommodations offered on their homepage. Residential Colleges (as they are called here) are a good option to take if you are unsure about finding accommodation while you are oversees. Having lived in one for my first year, there are pros and cons to this. While they can be expensive, colleges run several events and festivals throughout the year. Finding accommodation in Canberra is pretty straightforward. The constant turnover of outgoing 4th years mean that there’s always a likelihood of a vacant room at the perfect time; which is the start of the academic year after a contract with a residential college expires. Otherwise, is a great resource to find rented accommodation and it is very easy to use.


To conclude; I have lived in the city for over 2 years now and I love it. Roads here are friendly to cyclists; which means that I do not need to get a car or worry about parking here; and at the same time I get a chance to exercise more. It’s quiet. There’s always the gigs here and then at a local pub or the canberra theatre (music, plays or comedy shows). There’s also the Manuka Oval and Canberra stadium where football and cricket games are held. I love this place and will be very happy to stay here for another couple of years at least!