First job, first car, first home.
That’s just how it used to be for young, aspirational Aussies. But if we’ve learnt anything from the now infamous ‘smashed avo debate’, it’s that times have well and truly changed.
With this in mind, it makes sense that young Australians have their eyes set on a very different goal.
According to a recent study, 76 per cent of Gen Ys say they’d delay “settling down” to travel overseas, and nearly 90 per cent want to travel more often.
The increase in young people travelling even prompted one expert to suggest that travel could be the “real smashed avo”.
Believe it or not, travel does not have to mean coming home broke, or a gap year working multiple jobs and eating solely two-minute noodles just to fund your trip.
If you’re a student, you can actually receive money to live and learn in some of the most exciting places in the world. Crazy, right?
Your uni can help you
Australian universities all offer various scholarships and grants to students looking to spend a semester overseas.
For example, the University of Melbourne offers scholarships for both academic excellence and financial need. Melbourne Uni students could expect to receive up to $2000, and all Australian universities have similar base grants. More competitive scholarships, like UTS’s Chau Chak Wing Scholarship, will hand out $10,000 to students looking to study in China.
Universities offer so many different grants but often do a less than stellar job at advertising them, which means the pool of students you’re competing with is smaller than it could (and probably should) be. Just check your uni’s ‘Study Abroad’ webpage to see what they offer.
Look for other exchange grants and programs
You can also help fund your trip through direct government grants and other philanthropic and cultural programs designed to help young Australians study abroad.
For example, the Federal Government is currently encouraging Australian students to engage more with the Asia-Pacific region. Its New Colombo plan scholarship offers pretty substantial financial assistance to students looking to study in Asia.
Adam Reeves, who is currently on exchange at Parahyangan Catholic University in Bandung, Indonesia, says he received $6000 through the initiative.
“[It’s] allowed me to enjoy my semester abroad without stressing about money,” he says.
The international relations student says his time in Indonesia has been a thought-provoking experience. “In some ways I have learnt the most outside of classes, especially through meeting new people with a very different background to me,” he says.
The New Colombo plan is just one such program. Others include Australian government partnerships with foreign nations such as Finland, France and Japan, and many more.
How to stretch your money while you’re overseas
You’ve received your scholarship or grant, and saved as much as you can before you head off. Now what?
Well, if you’re currently receiving Youth Allowance you may be able to keep getting those payments while studying abroad. You just need to ensure you let Centrelink know and provide them with evidence of your approved overseas course.
Many students use these fortnightly payments to cover accommodation or other costs while they’re abroad, leaving the money they’ve saved and brought with them to spend on travel after their semester finishes.
And once you’re finally abroad, another good thing to think about is your superannuation. If you’re on a student visa, you probably won’t be working, and even if you are, the money you make won’t be added to your super like it would be in Australia.
Making a voluntary super contribution is a great way to make sure that your super keeps growing while you’re away. AustralianSuper has a handy calculator that will help you figure out how much to contribute.
Also worth noting is that the Federal Government also offers a generous Overseas HELP scheme, which allows students to borrow up to nearly $8000, which is then paid back through the tax system. You might not want to add to your existing HECS/HELP debt, but it’s good to know the money’s available if you need it.
This article has been sponsored by AustralianSuper Pty Ltd ABN 94 006 457 987, AFSL 233788, the Trustee of AustralianSuper ABN 65 714 394 898. The views and opinions expressed in any article accessed through The New Daily are those of the author or The New Daily and not the responsibility of AustralianSuper. For more information about AustralianSuper, please visit australiansuper.com