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International Students

A degree from the University of South Australia is widely recognised by employers. Those graduates who are most successful ensure that they take advantage of the services and support available at UniSA, as well as seeking out opportunities to develop skills and to gain experience.

For international students who are intending to stay in Australia, it is a good idea to be as involved in your Australian surroundings as possible.

Careers Workshops/Employer Presentations

Career Services offer a range of workshops including Job Search, Resumes and Responding to Selection Criteria. These are advertised through the UniSA Career Hub. We also run an International Careers day, a day to develop your strategy for moving into the workforce both in Australia and in your home country. Career Services also host a yearly Employment and Careers Expo where a large amount of employers are in attendance and Employer Presentations are regularly held at metropolitan campus which are also advertised on UniSA Career Hub.


Work while study/experience

There are advantages and disadvantages to working while studying. Think carefully before committing yourself to employment.



Number of hours you can work

The student visa allows you to work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight during the study period and an unlimited number of hours during holidays. This does not include work that is a formal part of your course. More information on flexible work conditions (PDF - 68kb)

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship website contains detailed information relating to working and visa requirements.

Salary and working conditions

If you are not being paid regularly, or you are receiving cash in hand without a payslip, you will know that something is wrong. The Workplace Ombudsman can help if you need advice about your pay, contract of employment and working conditions:

Finding part time job opportunities

You may find casual/part time work in hospitality, retail, telemarketing, tutoring, IT, or in administrative work in a company. Some other opportunities may be available on UniSA Career Hub jobs database.
Some students are able to find work related to their degree. This has added benefits helping you to establish a network of contacts in your field of expertise and giving you the opportunity to learn more about your profession.

These are some ways to find casual work:

For tips on how to build contacts see these pages on networking.


Visa requirements

For information relating to visa requirements and your ability to work in Australia you can find further information from International Student Service, or make an appointment to speak to a UniSA International Student Officer.

Alternatively, see DIMIA if you have any questions about visas and migration.

Australian tax file number

When working in Australia you require an Australian tax file number. A Tax File Number (TFN) is a unique number for you. A TFN is essential, and it ensures that you are taxed the correct amount. You can find an online TFN Application form or go to the ATO office at 91 Waymouth Street, Adelaide SA 5000.

Employers who ask for PR or citizenship

Some Australian employers will ask for applicants who have Permanent Visas and/or Citizenship. This includes the Public Sector and many defence companies. These companies insist that you have residency for security reasons. Do not apply if you do not have the correct visa.


Language and assertiveness in recruitment


In recruitment you are encouraged to be assertive (but not arrogant). This is something that some Australians find difficult too. To be assertive you will need to:

Phrases to avoid  Phrases to use
I may be able to ... I can ...
I feel ... I am ...
I think I might ... I can ...
I haven't got these skills ... I am able to learn these skills ...



Employers will reject students who do not have a good standard of written and spoken English. Mistakes on resumes and in covering letters are enough to prevent you from getting an interview.

Improve your English every day! The best place to learn a second language is in a country in which the language is spoken. This is ideal for you! All you need to do is listen, read and learn. Here are some ideas.

Global Experience host GE Experience English Language Discussion group weekly at City East, City West and Magill. The LTU also have various online English Language Resources that may help you.


Business Communication and getting on with colleagues

Culture is the behaviour which is considered to be normal in your own country. Your beliefs and values are likely to have been shaped by this culture. By travelling to other countries you will learn more about your own culture, and yourself. There is no right approach to learning about yours and others culture. Enjoy the learning experience!

These are a few ways in which Australia may be different.

Hierarchy and management

The Australian workplace does have a hierarchy. Despite this, the communication between managers and employees is usually informal.

Informal communication

Informal jokes are encouraged and managers are likely to join in. Being included in jokes and laughter means that you are considered to be a welcome member of the team.

Contribution and respect for management

Managers are responsible for making the final decision. In Australian culture it is advisable for managers to ask for the opinions of other members of the team before making the decision. The reason for this is that everyone is considered to be an expert in their own role. Combined expertise is considered to be valuable.

Australian employees tend to have more respect for employers who ask for their advice.

Meetings and conflict

Meetings include information-giving, and provide a forum for sharing ideas. This means that everyone may be asked to contribute. In meetings you may notice that people will disagree with each other. This is encouraged as disagreement means that there are different perspectives being analysed. It is even acceptable to disagree with the manager.

Although the Australians use direct language to explain their views, they also ensure that they are polite. Telling someone that they are 'wrong' is not considered to be polite. However, you can say:

'Please can I add another comment, ...'
'I'm not sure about that, I was wondering...'
'Perhaps we can look at this from a different perspective'
'From the work I was doing I found...'

When you don't understand

When anyone starts a new job there will be things that they don't understand. In Australia saying the words 'I don't understand' is not an insult to the person teaching you.
The manager/supervisor will want you to understand the job so that you can contribute. You are therefore expected to ask if you don't understand.


Going home or overseas

If you are considering returning to your own country or moving to another country there are many things you can do to prepare in advance. Can you answer the following questions about the country you intend to move to,


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