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Studying at university is a wonderful way to become an expert in your chosen field. A tertiary degree can help you begin an exciting new career or bring you closer to a promotion in your current career. If you’re considering living and working in Australia, some degrees can give you the training and qualifications you need to apply for a skilled migration visa. 

With so many study options available, choosing the right degree for your goals can be a challenge. While some people know exactly which course they’d like to study, others may need some help deciding. If you’re unsure which course is right for you, consider using Ikigai to help you choose the right degree.

Nursing in Australia

What is Ikigai?

‘Ikigai’ is the word for a Japanese idea that loosely translates to ‘reason for being’. Ikigai can also be described as your life’s purpose, your happiness and what brings you joy. Ikigai is very personal, and everyone's Ikigai is different. 

Whether it is for study or work, Ikigai helps us by bringing together things we love, what we're good at, what we value, and how we can help others. By doing this, we can live a balanced life that feels meaningful and satisfying. It's like having a roadmap to a happier and more content life.

How can Ikigai help you choose the right degree?

There are four main elements of Ikigai:

  • What you love

  • What you are good at

  • What you can be paid for

  • What the world needs

By discovering where these elements overlap in your own life, you can find your own personal Ikigai. When you know what your Ikigai is, you can search for a degree that closely aligns with your true purpose and supports you in living a happy life.

Six tips for choosing the right degree using Ikigai

1. List the things that you love

To live a life that you enjoy, you should do as many things as you can that bring you happiness. Think about the things you enjoy doing and write these down. 

For example:

  • I like to travel

  • I like to help people

  • I like to cook

2. Identify the things you are good at

Understanding your own personal strengths is important when deciding what kind of career you may do well in. Write down the things you are good at. Do any of them overlap with the things that you love?

For example:

  • I am good at cooking

  • I am good at using computers

  • I am good at solving problems

3. Think about which skills you could be paid for

Take a look at the list of things you love and things you are good at. Are any of these potential jobs that people might pay you to do? Write down any possible careers that combine your skills and interests. 

For example:

  • I could cook for people

  • I could help people with technology

  • I could help people plan holidays

4. Consider what the world needs

Make a list of anything you think the world needs more of. Are any of these things compatible with your potential careers or skills? 

For example:

  • The world needs caretakers

  • The world needs creativity

  • The world needs technological advancements

5. Identify your own personal Ikigai

Now that you’ve given some thought to the four main elements of Ikigai, it’s time to see where these elements overlap to reveal your own personal Ikigai!

Maybe your Ikigai is cooking and sharing your delicious creations with the world. Your Ikigai might be making people's lives easier through the use of technology. Whatever your Ikigai is, it should be something that brings you happiness and excitement. 

6. Choose a degree which aligns with your Ikigai

Now that you’ve found your Ikigai, you can search for courses and degrees to kickstart a fulfilling and exciting career. Is your Ikigai cooking? A degree in cooking might be right for you. Is your Ikigai related to teaching? Consider a degree in Teaching!

Australia's medium and long-term strategic skills list (MLTSSL) can help you understand which of your potential degree choices can also provide a pathway to permanent residency. If you’d like help choosing the right degree, contact the education specialists at IDP for personalised course and university guidance.

If you want to know more about Ikigai, consider "Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life". It's an inspiring book that explores the concept of Ikigai and its impact on overall well-being. The book highlights the experiences of people from Okinawa, known for their longevity, and provides valuable insights into finding purpose and joy in everyday life.

IELTS requirements for tertiary study

If you choose to study in Australia, there are some English language requirements you will need to satisfy. These include:

  • The English language requirement for your visa

  • The English language requirement for your chosen university

The requirements for your visa and university may be different, so it’s important that you understand both criteria before applying for a visa or degree. 

What is the minimum IELTS score for tertiary study in Australia?

While the minimum IELTS score required for a subclass 500 Student visa is 5.5, each university can set their own minimum entry requirements for both the school itself, and each individual degree. 

The minimum overall IELTS score required for entry into most Australian universities is 6.0. Before enrolling into any course, check with the institution first to confirm the IELTS requirements for both the university and the specific course.

42 Universities in Australia for IELTS scores of 5.5 and above

Which test should you take to study in Australia?

There are two tests available:

But, the test you choose should be based on what it is you want to do. The Academic test is usually for entry into university. General Training is used for migration purposes.

The organisation where you plan to work or study sets the requirements. So, before you book your test, it’s good to check which one is right for you.

In short, all Australian universities accept IELTS Academic. And, some schools, work places and immigration authorities accept IELTS General Training. Have a look at the difference between IELTS Academic and General training. 

Practice makes perfect

Preparing early for your IELTS test is essential. It allows you to get familiar with the test format and understand how you will be marked and scored. The good news is we have a range of free and paid material to give you feedback from official IELTS experts on your progress. This can help you focus your preparation.

Additionally, don't forget to access your study plan and get IELTS tips from our IELTS Experts during our Masterclasses.

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Get expert advice from an education counsellor

With so many courses and universities to choose from, deciding where and what to study can be challenging. As experts in international student placements in Australia, IDP education consultants can help you choose a course that's right for you and make sure you have the best chance at having your application accepted.

You can book appointments with one of our highly skilled education counsellors online or face-to-face.

Course and university guidance