Why did you choose Australia as your study destination?
I had three main reasons for choosing Australia.
Firstly, I have a personal connection to Australia. The teacher who made the greatest impact on my English was a Turkish Australian who was born and raised in Australia to Turkish parents. She moved to Turkey to study and started teaching English there. Her effect on me made me genuinely interested in life in Australia.
Secondly, I was impressed by the art scene in Melbourne. I am a theatre artist; when I found out about the vibrant performing arts scene in Melbourne, I knew it was the right city for me. Also, before stepping foot here, even through photographs, the nature in Australia seemed very inspiring. True inspiration from your immediate surroundings is something that artists are always on the lookout for. I knew the combination of urban life and nature in Melbourne would be great for me.
Thirdly, it was for my education. One of the main reasons was the university I attended. My application to The Victorian College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne was successful. I heard so many great things about the program and consider myself lucky to be among the alumni with many other amazing artists.
When did you graduate and what are your future plans?
I finished my master's degree in theatre in December 2021 and managed to make invaluable connections through the course.
I already have a number of projects lined up for 2022 with 3 different theatre companies. My future plans revolve around building a theatre career as an international artist in Melbourne by incorporating my experience in Istanbul as a theatre maker with what I have learned through my course and interactions in Melbourne.
Why did you choose IELTS?
I was already very familiar with IELTS. I have known about IELTS for about 20 years as it is a highly popular English proficiency test in Turkey. Most universities in Turkey allow you to skip the English prep year if you provide an adequate score in the IELTS; so, besides students who want to study overseas, it's known by those who are enrolled in Turkish universities as well.
It is a very established and reliable test that is internationally recognised by countless institutions. I did not think for a second to choose another test.
Having an IELTS score brings many opportunities for study, work, and migration. What doors did it open for you?
I first took IELTS for my University of Melbourne application as a valid IELTS score was a requirement. I used the same test results in my visa application which was also a required document. It literally made it possible for me to take the first steps in order to make my move to Melbourne possible.
Also, international students who complete a university degree in Australia qualify for a Graduate Visa that gives them the right to live and work in Australia for 2 to 4 years. I recently took another IELTS test for a fresh score to use in my Graduate Visa application.
Knowing that the level of my English is proven through an internationally recognised institution like IELTS gives me confidence as it is a document that can accompany any job application without further information about the rubrics. Employers in Australia know how to interpret an IELTS score; so, it will undoubtedly open many doors for people on a study or work visa.
Do you have any advice for people taking the IELTS test?
The golden rule is to familiarise yourself with the structure of the test. No matter what level your English is, you'll benefit greatly from knowing what to expect during your test.
Once you know the basics, doing a couple of practice tests to identify your weaknesses would be the next step. You can make a study plan based on your needs and arrange the date of your test accordingly.
In the meanwhile, exposing yourself to a variety of accents would be highly beneficial as you will hear different accents in the listening section of the test.
Do you have any advice for those wanting to move to Australia for study?
Google is your friend! Initially, do a lot of research on your own to find your dream university or the program that makes you go "this is it!".
Once you make that decision, I highly recommend making a long-term plan to see all the steps and spread them out in a manageable way. The application is not necessarily a quick and easy process. Preparing the application requirements for the specific course that you want to attend might take months. I cannot stress enough the importance of starting out early, as it would reduce the application-related stress levels to a minimum. Even before making the move, immerse yourself in both the diverse cultures that exist in the country and try to learn as much you can about the history of it. It is an island beaming with stories and potential, the more you learn about it, the more you will want to be here. Last but not least, do not fall into the trap of googling spiders and snakes native to Australia. Yes, they exist, but they are surely not part of the urban life. I have been here more than two years and have not encountered a single dangerous animal. Also, once you move past your fear and anxiety, you learn to appreciate the beauty of co-existence. They have been here forever and deserve to be treated with respect.