Frequently Asked Questions

Why Study Abroad?

Deciding to study abroad is a big decision for both you and your parents.
Studying abroad will give you the opportunity to:

  • learn and improve your English language skills
  • try new subjects and develop an adaptable learning style
  • improve your tertiary education and career prospects
  • learn to appreciate other cultures
  • gain a unique and new appreciation of your own home country
  • meet interesting people from around the world
  • learn to be more independent, mature and confident

Even if you are not sure what career path you will take, understanding other cultures and being able to communicate in English (the third most common language spoken world-wide) will open up so many opportunities and give you a distinct advantage over someone who does not have these skills.

You can choose to study abroad at any point in your educational journey, however, leaning to adapt to a new study and living environment will be easier in the supportive, structured environment of a school and homestay family.

The learning environment in a South Australian government school is specially designed to support international students and focuses on teaching English so you can succeed in your studies and make local friends. This means that when you graduate it will be easier for you to achieve in your tertiary studies.

International education is a family investment

Families have many personal and educational reasons for sending their children abroad to study but in doing so, they are also making an important financial decision. South Australia is a family-friendly choice for international education and at South Australian Government Schools, we offer a discount to families who have more than one child studying abroad with us at the same time as a high school student.

For your child to study abroad in South Australia it is an exciting and rewarding experience for them, giving them the opportunity to:

  • become a global citizen by experiencing and understanding a different culture
  • broaden their experiences by living and studying abroad
  • learn English and improve their language skills
  • meet new people and share their culture
  • make friends for life and become more independent

For children who are in high school, they will live with a caring local South Australian family and have access to studying different subjects to help them achieve their career aspirations; they may even discover a new career path! Studying in South Australia will also give them access to Australian universities.

While studying abroad they may also to travel to different parts of Australia and see new places that are very different to their home country. They will taste new food and encounter our famous Australian animals such as kangaroos and koalas.

Why study in a South Australian government school?

South Australian Government Schools represents 100 primary and secondary public schools in South Australia with each school specialising in particular subjects and areas of education. You can choose from short or long term programs, depending on your purpose for your children studying abroad. They will be placed in a school to meet their needs, matched with one of our caring homestay families (if they are high school students) and supported throughout their program. South Australian Government Schools also provides an intensive English tuition course if they need to develop their reading, writing and spoken English language skills before entering mainstream classes.

Our schools provide a comprehensive orientation program in the first week of school and will introduce your children to their buddies (local students) who will show them around the school and help them meet local students. As well as being part of the local student community they will also be part of a small community of other international students studying at the school.

South Australian Government Schools manages a homestay program for local families who are accredited to host international students. All adult family members are police checked and their houses and facilities inspected prior to an international student being placed there. We also provide subject counselling, ongoing English language support and a 24 hours emergency phone service.

Benefits of using an Education Agent

Studying abroad is a big decision – where to study, what program to study, when to commence and then submitting your application, sorting out flights and getting a passport and visa can all be a bit daunting. However for education agents, this is what they assist students and parents with every day.

At South Australian Government Schools, we always recommend that you consider using the services of an education agent to help you in this decision and throughout your journey.

An education agent is a person or company that provides advice and support to students who are interested in studying abroad. They submit the application on behalf of the student to the education provider and provide a range of services including booking flights, arranging visas and conducting pre-departure information sessions.

Experienced education agents have a detailed knowledge and understanding of:

  • overseas education systems
  • education providers, programs and enrolment process
  • student visa application requirements

All education agents working with and on behalf of South Australian Government Schools are accredited and monitored by the Department for Education to ensure that they provide accurate advice and quality services to all students and their families.

An education agent can assist you in so many ways:

  • counsel you on your interests and career ambitions
  • offer information and advice in your own language
  • recommend a program option that will best suit you
  • assess your academic qualifications and English proficiency
  • help you choose a school
  • answer any queries or concerns you may have about studying abroad including: homestay accommodation, cost of living, additional school costs and adjusting to the Australian culture
  • translate and explain important document such as: Letter of Offer, Confirmation of Enrolment, Terms and Conditions and School Reports
  • liaise with the education provider on your behalf
  • assist you with the student application process
  • assist you with the formalities including visa and overseas health cover
  • conduct pre-departure information session
  • provide valuable follow-up services once you have commenced your program

For countries where the student visa application process is particularly complex, we highly recommend that you use the services of an education agent. They can greatly assist in preparation of your student visa application and all the necessary documentation (including financial) to ensure that your visa application is processed as quickly and smoothly as possible.

So if you want to ensure that you have all the facts and are keen to save time and effort on all the formalities, consider using an education agent when booking your study abroad experience. Visit our website for your nearest accredited education agent and we look forward to welcoming you to South Australia soon!

Curriculum in South Australia

South Australian government schools teach a comprehensive curriculum which is organised into eight essential learning areas. Individual schools offer a broad range of subjects within each of these learning areas:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Arts
  • Design and Technology
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Languages
  • Society and Environment

When a student successfully completes and graduates from high school in South Australia, they will have achieved their South Australian Certificate of Education, or SACE. Read our post about SACE to find out what students need to do to achieve their SACE.

In making your choice of school, consider what subjects you would like to study and other interests you may have such as sports, music, or technology. Since there are too many to mention, here is an example of the range of subjects offered by South Australian government schools:

  • Science and mathematics: robotics, forensic science, nanotechnology, astronomy and viticulture
  • Sports: aquatics (swimming, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, surf lifesaving), outdoor education (rock climbing, bushwalking, orienteering), football (International, Australian Rules, Touch), softball, baseball, golf, tennis, cricket, basketball and cycling
  • Performing and visual arts: music (instrumental, orchestras, bands, choirs), dance, drama and visual arts
  • Information Technology: multimedia, broadcasting, graphic design, web design and animation

Special Interest Programs:

Some high schools offer more specialised programs called Special Interest Programs. These programs are usually a strong focus area of the school and a selection process, or audition, applies to students wishing to enrol in these programs.

  • Languages: Adelaide High School
  • Music: Brighton Secondary School, Marryatville High School, Woodville High School
  • Performing Arts: Charles Campbell Secondary School
  • Physical Education and Sport: Henley High School, Wirreanda High School
  • Sport (cricket and rowing): Adelaide High School
  • Sport (volleyball): Brighton Secondary School, Heathfield High School
  • Sport (tennis): Marryatville High School, Seaview High School
  • Sport (baseball): Grant High School, Seaton High School
  • Sport (netball): Blackwood High School
  • Sport (cricket, Australian Rules football, netball): Mt Gambier High School
  • Sport (Rugby League football): Reynella East College
  • Sport (basketball): Pasadena High School
  • Sport (soccer): Underdale High School

Gifted and Talented Education:

Some high schools are recognised as centres of Excellence in gifted and talented education and offer the IGNITE program. A number of other high schools offer individualised programs to support students who have demonstrated outstanding ability or potential in a specific area including mathematics and science.

The schools offering the IGNITE program for gifted students are:

  • The Heights School
  • Glenunga International High School
  • Aberfoyle Park High School

Co-curricular clubs and competitions:

Schools also offer the opportunity to participate individually or as a team member in any school based activities including music bands, drama productions, sports and adventure activities.

A variety of state, national and international competitions provide a further challenge, testing the abilities, skills and knowledge of students in many areas including academic excellence, sports, enterprise and leadership.

Taking part in co-curricular clubs and competitions helps international students develop new skills and interests and make friends with local students.

South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE)

The SACE is an internationally recognised qualification awarded to students who successfully complete Years 11 and 12 in a South Australian high school. The SACE is divided into Stage 1 and Stage 2. In planning your senior secondary study, you will complete a Personal Learning Plan in Year 10 or when you start Year 11. You need to get 200 credits to achieve the SACE, through a mixture of compulsory and free-choice subjects and courses. Credit towards the SACE may be given to students who have successfully completed Year 11 in their own country. Visit the SACE website for more information.

Students receive an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) based on their academic results. The ATAR is recognised for entry into Australian universities and Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions, and is used by many universities around the world to select students for degree courses.

The SACE is based on a credit system with students needing a total of 200 credits to be successful. One subject taken per semester (2 terms) is equal to 10 credits, while a year-long subject (4 terms) is equal to 20 credits.

What is the Personal Learning Plan?

The Personal Learning Plan (PLP) is usually started in Year 10 and gives students the opportunity to examine their study strengths and weaknesses and options for work, further education and training, and community life.

Completing the PLP assists students with their subject choices for Year 11 and Year 12 so they can successfully plan their Stage 1 and Stage 2 study and identify future pathways.

Visit the South Australian Certificate of Education website for more information about Stage 1 of the SACE and the Personal Learning Plan.

What is the Research Project?

The Research Project is a Stage 2 subject which is started and completed in Year 12. It gives students an opportunity to undertake in-depth research about a topic of their choice where they will utilise their creativity and initiative and develop skills in research and presentation that they can use in the future.

Visit the South Australian Certificate of Education website for more information about Stage 2 of the SACE and the Research Project.

School versus Foundation Studies

South Australian Government Schools do not offer Foundation Studies.

Schools offer a broader range of subjects and greater in-depth study which will provide more options for your university studies. Importantly, most students in Year 12 study the subject English as an Additional Language (EAL) to prepare them for the rigours of university study and enable them to enter without an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score.

Our schools also provide the personalised care and support to help you succeed in your studies including in-class support and personal, subject and pathway counselling. Every school has an International Student Program manager dedicated to your success, safety and wellbeing.


Studying abroad in South Australia gives you the chance to become fluent in the English language, which will help you build confidence and is an attractive skill for future employers. You will need to be disciplined in making the effort to learn English.Many students who are thinking about studying in Australia may be concerned that their English language skills may not be acceptable to be successful in their studies. As part of the South Australian Government Schools study programs, a range of English language support is available for high school students to ensure that they are able to succeed in their studies and have an enjoyable study abroad experience.

Intensive Secondary English Course: For international students who are studying at one of our high schools, we offer the Intensive Secondary English Course (ISEC) as part of their study program at no additional cost. Depending on their English proficiency, students can undertake up to one year (4 terms) of ISEC before entering their mainstream classes.

What does ISEC involve? In ISEC classes, students focus on learning the English language skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening while studying their curriculum subjects such as mathematics and science. To determine how many terms of ISEC the student will undertake, the ISEC teacher closely monitors their progress before recommending the student to enter mainstream classes.

English as an Additional Language: As the aim of many international students studying in schools is to improve their English, the curriculum subject called English as an Additional Language o(EAL) has been designed to help students achieve this goal. By undertaking this subject, students will also achieve points towards their final South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) score if they are enrolled in the High School Graduate Program.

Ongoing English Language Support: Once you have entered your mainstream classes you will receive ongoing English language support in all of your subjects to ensure you can be successful in your academic goals.

How can I prepare?
Good preparation techniques for learning and improving your English before you leave your home country include:

  • watch movies in English with subtitles in your language
  • talk to people you know who can speak English about how they learned
  • read English websites, comics, books and magazines
  • look up the English terminology of items or concepts from your current classes that you will also take when studying abroad, for example, mathematical terms

Tips on how to improve your English

  • Find some local friends you’re comfortable with and talk to them.
  • If you have a friend that speaks your language, talk to them in English instead, you can help each other learn.
  • Talk with your teachers and homestay – they’ll help you get started.
  • Talk to as many people as you can. You’ll be amazed how much you can learn from short conversations.
  • Join sport clubs! Clubs help you get used to the Australian culture, and will definitely help your English while making new friends.
  • Search the internet in English, try to make sense of what’s going on, or Facebook in English and it’ll encourage your friends to reply in English too.
  • Read anything you come across, books, comics, or even signs. It’ll help you get used to the language.
  • watch movies in English with subtitles in your language, and try to connect the spoken lines to the written captions.
  • If you don’t understand what something means, just ask someone.
  • Last not but least… be confident! Don’t be afraid to talk to people, Aussies are nice people!

Practicing your English in these fun ways will expand on your skills learnt in your English class and help you when having conversations with people in Australia.

We can arrange Homestay accommodation

If you are 12 years of age or older, we can arrange homestay accommodation for you with a caring South Australian family.

Our homestays are individually selected and accredited to host our international students. We interview the family in their home to assess their home environment, facilities and to better understand their interests and lifestyle. This helps us to find the best match possible for you with a suitable homestay.

To ensure your safety and wellbeing, every family member in the homestay over 18 years of age undergoes a Working With Children Check.

Your homestay family will provide you with:

  • a furnished bedroom
  • daily meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • use of shared household facilities
  • help in getting to and from school when you first arrive
  • help in catching public transport
  • help in opening a bank account (if needed)

About our high schools

The academic year is made up of 4 terms (2 semesters) and starts in late January and ends mid-December.

  • Semester 1: terms 1 and 2
  • Semester 2: terms 3 and 4

There are approximately 10 weeks in each term followed by holidays.

Students attend school Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 3.30pm.

Lessons take place in a range of school locations including classrooms, science laboratories, specialist workshop and studio spaces, gymnasiums and outdoor sports fields. Some aspects of study may take place a work-place environment.

Choose the right school for you

After doing your research and deciding on your study abroad destination you need to decide on which school to study at.

When you choose to study abroad with South Australian Government Schools, you can choose from more than 100 primary and high schools…but don’t be overwhelmed! This blog will give you some tips on how to figure out which school is right for you. Our agents and staff are also here to help you. We can find the right school for you!

Consider the following to help you decide on the right school for you:

Would you like to live and study in metropolitan Adelaide or regional South Australia?
Adelaide metropolitan school- Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, is a well-planned city of approximately 1.2 million people. Surrounded by green parklands, Adelaide is one of the most beautiful and liveable cities in the world. Beyond the inner city, the suburbs stretch from the hills to the sea.

South Australian regional school – South Australia has many beautiful and varied regions including the Riverland, Flinders Ranges, the Limestone Coast and Kangaroo Island. Regional South Australia offers a uniquely Australian experience, good living and unspoilt natural environments.

Long term study or short term study?
Will your study abroad period be one year or less, or more than one year?
If you will be studying for one year or less you can enrol in the High School Study Abroad Program or Regional Study Abroad Program.
If you will be studying for more than one year you can enrol in theHigh School Graduate Program.

Are there any subjects you must study or subjects you want to study to match your individual interests and ambitions?
Read our curriculum post for more information on subjects.

Are there any languages other than English that you must study, continue to study or want to study while you are in South Australia? Use the search function on the Choose a High School page. If you do not find what you are looking for, please contact us as there are options to study languages in our schools through the School of Languages.

Orientation Program

To help you when you arrive to study in a South Australian government school you will take part in a comprehensive orientation program to help you settle in. There will also be plenty of people at your school and in your homestay to ask for help, but is there anything you can do before you arrive to prepare yourself for your upcoming experience?

You will be used to a particular lifestyle including way of studying, home-life, food and having your friends and family nearby. Think about how you can adapt when studying abroad in a country where you won’t know anyone, do not understand the customs and may not speak the language.

Extracurricular activities and student achievement

South Australian Government Schools offer a range of extracurricular activities including sport, governance, community service, student newspaper, music, dance and drama. Other more unusual and specialised activities include robotics, animation, astronomy, poetry, film making and game app developmentExtracurricular activities build confidence. And this confidence can translate into a more confident performance in the classroom. So when choosing your school preferences, why not also consider other activities that you would like to participate in to make the most of your study abroad experience.

Many activities take place at lunchtime, but some occur before school, after school or on the weekends. In pursuing activities that interest them, students discover what they are capable of, how to apply themselves and how to work collaboratively and responsibly with others. These are all key skills for success.

Do you have a passion for the Arts?

If you are interested in studying visual arts, music, dance or drama, then make Adelaide your study abroad destination of choice!

Adelaide has been recognised as one of the best festival cities in the world, with an exclusive invitation to join the inaugural International Festival City Network along with other cities renowned for hosting some of the world’s biggest and best festivals.
The South Australian capital is the only Australian city invited to join the network, which will include Barcelona, Krakow, Montreal, Berlin and Edinburgh.

South Australia’s biggest festivals include the Adelaide Fringe, OzAsia, WOMAdelaide, the Adelaide Arts Festival and Come Out Children’s Festival.

Ever thought about studying in regional South Australia?

If you live in a city and are looking for a very different experience – how about studying at one of our regional schools?

For Sayako the change from living in an eighth floor apartment in one of the world’s largest cities to life in a small country town in the Riverland region of South Australia has turned out to be a journey that she will never forget.  But just how different is it from her home environment? “It’s very different  from my country; my country’s colour is grey, here it is all green,” the 16-year-old Renmark High School student said. “The sky we can see is very small, but here the sky is very big, we see very beautiful stars, I can’t see stars a lot in my country.”

And as for family life… Host mother Danielle Weeks feels that Sayako has adapted easily to Australian food  and Sayako says her host family’s routines are really not that different to those of her own family  in Japan. However her queen-size bed has taken some getting used to. “My bed is very big, first I couldn’t sleep well, but I got used to it now,” Sayako said. “In Japan I sleep on the floor, so every time we sleep we have to put on my sheet, it’s called a futon.”

What about school? Sayako said studying at Renmark High School was initially difficult because of the language barriers but now she is enjoying the more relaxed atmosphere and different teaching styles. “It’s different from my school, my school is very hard, we don’t change classrooms, we only sit and listen to what the teacher say and write what the teacher write,” Sayako said.

Do you offer student exchanges or scholarships?

Our international student program is not a reciprocal exchange program. We also do not currently offer scholarships to international students, however, check with your agent for scholarship or financial assistance opportunities offered in your home country for studying abroad.

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