Frequently asked questions (FAQs)


​​​​​​​​Find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) on a range of topics:

About Queensland, Australia

Why study in Australia?

Australia is a multicultural nation which hosts residents from many different countries. Studying overseas provides international students with a unique opportunity to meet, study and share knowledge with both Australian and other international students. This opportunity fosters the development of international friendships and networks that can last a lifetime. International students who live and study in Australia are able to improve their English skills while learning about Australia's unique way of life. Students have the opportunity to acquire self-confidence and independence. Find out more about the Queensland lifestyle.

What is so great about studying in a Queensland Government school?

The Australian Government requires education providers to have strict quality standards in place so that international students and their parents enjoy a high level of service and financial protection that is unique to Australia. Queensland Government schools are internationally recognised for providing high quality education to all students. Queensland Government schools are also world leaders in providing English language courses for international students. The Queensland Government schools available to international students are located near major transport routes and have the latest equipment and facilities. Queensland also offers excellent value for money and a high standard of living. For further information about receiving an education in Queensland please visit the Department of Education website. Find out more about studying in Queensland.

Study questions

What is the structure of the education system in Queensland?

All Queensland Government schools are coeducational day schools. In Queensland, it is compulsory for students of school age to attend school.

Students aged 5 can enrol in a Preparatory Year prior to primary school. Students study for 7 years at primary school and then 6 years of high (secondary) school before graduating.

At high school there are 4 years of junior high school (Years 7 to 10) and then 2 years of senior high school (Years 11 and 12). At the end of Year 12, most students will receive a Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE).

An Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is awarded on completion of Year 12.

Students may then choose to study at tertiary level to continue their education at a university or vocational education provider after completing high school.

Find out more about the Queensland school system.

Do I need to be fluent in English?

Your application to enter a Queensland Government school is assessed on your academic performance and your level of English language competency. If your level of English does not meet our direct entry requirements (PDF, 630KB)​, you may be offered a conditional "Offer of a Place". This means that you may have to complete 1 school term (10 weeks) or 2 school terms (20 weeks) of High School Preparation (HSP) first. For more information please refer to High School Preparation. International students who are offered a place at a Queensland Government school are required to have sufficient English to successfully undertake the course in which they are enrolled.

Find out more about High School Preparation.

Do I have to enrol in High School Preparation (HSP)?

Unless an English test result is provided at the time of application, most students should expect to undertake an average of 2 school terms (approx 20 weeks) of HSP (or an equivalenr English preparation course) prior to commencing mainstream studies at their host school. If you feel you will not need to participate in HSP you may have to undertake an English Language test to demonstrate your English proficiency and to meet your student visa requirements.

Find out more about International Student Programs entry requirements (PDF, 630KB).

If I want to study in High School do I have to complete Year 12?

The high school program is an academic program that provides students studying in junior and senior high school with long term educational opportunities.

Students completing Years 11 and 12 in Queensland schools will receive a Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE). Students enrolling in the High School Program could be eligible to graduate with Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) which is used as a benchmark for entry to Queensland universities and vocational education providers.

Students wanting to study in High School for a shorter duration can choose a study abroad option that provides a high school experience for students, usually from 3 to 12 months duration. This program provides an educational and cultural experience that allows students to continue to develop their English language proficiency while continuing high school studies.

Find out more about high school study abroad.

Who can participate?

Applications received from prospective international students will be assessed according to the following academic and English language requirements. A prospective student who is assessed as meeting the academic and English language criteria will be made an offer of a place in the EQI international student program.

Students must have a satisfactory pass in all core subjects in their previous 2 years of schooling. International students are required to have sufficient English to successfully undertake the course of study in which they are enrolled.

Find out more about specific courses and their individual requirements

Where can I study and for how long?

You can choose from a range of more than 90 different Queensland Government high schools or primary schools throughout Queensland from Brisbane (Queensland's capital city) in the south to Cairns in Far North Queensland. Over half of the schools available are in Brisbane, while the remainder are located in the major regional centres of Cairns, Central Coast, Fraser and Burnett Regions, the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast and Townsville.

International students can choose to come to Australia for a minimum of 3 months (one school term) or for a number of years in order to complete their high school studies. Students will need to meet the visa requirements for their country of origin. Please contact the Australian embassy in your home country for information on the terms and conditions for obtaining a student visa or more information can be obtained from the Department of Home Affairs website

Find out more about Queensland schools.

What if I have graduated from high school already?

EQI will accept applications from students for the international student program provided the period between graduation and entry to our program is no greater than 6 months.

How do I apply to study in a Queensland Government school?

You can either apply online or complete an EQI's international student application form. Once you have completed the form in English you will need to send it to EQI with the required supporting documentation attached. Entry requirements (PDF, 630KB) are assessed primarily on the basis of a student's academic records and English language proficiency. Students who have limited English proficiency may be made an offer on the condition that they first successfully complete an intensive English language course (High School Preparation) prior to enrolment in mainstream schooling. Find out how to apply.

When do I need to apply?

Prospective students are encouraged to submit their completed applications with all the necessary documentation prior to the application cut-off dates​ to ensure that we have sufficient time to process the application. Applications should be submitted no later than three months prior to the commencement of the student's course to ensure you receive your student visa in time to arrive for your course.

Can I apply individually or do I have to use an agent?

Prospective international students can apply directly for enrolmen​t in our programs or they can apply with the assistance of an agent.

What happens after I submit my application?

EQI officers assess student applications within 10 working days of receiving a complete application, as outlined in EQI's client service standards​. Students will be advised by email of the outcome of their application to join the EQI international student program. If you are successful, you will receive an Enrolment Agreement. The information sent with the Enrolment Agreement will tell you what to do next. The entire application process is outlined in the are you applying to study on your own student visa? document​.

Will I need a visa?

Yes, students applying to join EQI's international student programs require a valid student visa (subclass 500 schools) for the duration of their study program. If you accept a place in a Queensland Government school and pay the required fees, you will be issued with a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) which you must submit to the Australian Embassy in your home country to enable the processing of your student visa application.

Can I graduate from school whilst here in Australia?

Many international students graduate from our high schools each year. Most of these students wish to further their education at a tertiary institution after they finish Year 12. To be eligible for further study here in Australia you will need to consider your choice of subjects carefully so that you are eligible for an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) which is awarded on completion of Year 12. Further information about subject choice and tertiary options after high school will be available at your host school via the guidance officer here in Australia.

Why do I need overseas student health cover?

The Australian Government requires all international students to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the duration of their student visa as part of their visa conditions. Make sure you are fully aware of the basic medical and hospital services covered by this insurance. More information can be obtained at Department of Home Affairs.

Homestay accommodation

Where can I live when I attend high school in Queensland?

Living in homestay accommodation provides students with a blend of independence and care as well as the opportunity to live with an Australian family. Your Queensland Government school will organise the homestay for you and will send you the details of your host family prior to your arrival in Queensland. Please note: students enrolled in primary school must live with a parent or close relative. Students who are enrolled in high school may choose to live with a parent or close relative or request homestay accommodation with a Queensland family.

Find out more about homestay.

How much does homestay cost?

Homestay fees are available on our Fees page.

Homestay accommodation includes a single room with a bed, desk and wardrobe and three meals per day, seven days per week. Students should be prepared to pay for the cost of their telephone calls and internet access at the homestay.

What should I expect from my homestay experience?

In most homestays you will be sharing bathroom facilities with other members of the family. In Australia all family members help out with household chores. Students may be expected to do their own ironing, clean their own room and help out in the kitchen.

What will my host family be like?

The host families who volunteer to host international students are carefully screened and selected. They may have children of any age (not necessarily teenagers) or they may not have children at all. There may be other relatives living in the home. They may live in urban, suburban, or rural areas, and they may live in an apartment or on a larger property.

They will have one feature in common - a desire to welcome you into their home and to treat you as a member of the family. Our host families are keen to open their homes to international students and be part of their learning experience. Students are matched with host families based on common interests and activities. All homestay families are required to obtain a Working with Children Authority (Blue Card) before students are placed in their homes. The application process for a Blue Card includes a police identity and criminal history check.

What are Blue Cards and why are they used?

Blue Card Services is responsible for issuing Blue Cards to people working with and hosting children to help protect the interests and wellbeing of children and young people in Queensland. The application process includes a police identity and criminal history check.

When will I get the details of my homestay family?

Schools are required to provide detailed homestay family information to all students at least 4 weeks prior to the student's arrival.

What happens if I have a problem with my host family?

Most problems with host families occur due to miscommunication and culture shock. You will have a homestay coordinator based at the school to assist you. This person is there to help you solve any problems you feel you have with your family. If after discussions, meetings and negotiations your problems cannot be solved, then a change of host family is possible. We want to make sure you feel comfortable with your homestay family.

Can I live independently?

Students enrolled in an EQI international student program are required to remain living in homestay or with a parent or approved close relative for the duration of their course. No students are allowed to live independently at any time during the course of the studies, even if you are over 18 years old.

Program costs

How much does it cost to study in Australia compared to other overseas countries?

An Australian Government survey showed that in terms of total costs – including tuition fees and living expenses – Australia was consistently less expensive than the USA and UK. Tuition fees will vary depending on the course and its duration. Living costs too will vary by location, course and lifestyle.

Find out more about program and homestay fees.

What is included in the tuition fee?

The tuition fees cover all compulsory costs of schooling, including all tuition costs, textbook hire and compulsory school excursions. To confirm your application for enrolment you will need to pay the cost of your tuition and homestay (if required) for a minimum 6 months (or for the duration if your program is shorter than 6 months) and the cost of your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

Find out more about program fees.

What is not included in the tuition fee?

The tuition fees do not include homestay accommodation, school uniforms, materials such as pens, calculators and similar items of stationery and all non-compulsory activities (for example, a school skiing trip). The fees also do not include passport and visa fees, personal spending money, and any charges for public transport costs to and from school.

Find out more about program fees.

School information

Do students have to wear school uniforms?

At most Queensland Government schools it is compulsory for students to wear the school uniform. The uniform for each school is different. You can visit individual school websites to find out the details of their student dress code and cost of the uniforms. Most schools also provide second hand uniform shops as a cost effective option. It is the student's responsibility to purchase the school uniform as these costs are not included in the tuition fees paid prior to enrolment.

How will I get to and from school on my first day?

Your homestay family will make sure you get to school and home again on the first day. When you are comfortable with travelling to school on your own, your homestay family may show you the best way to travel on your own. The method of travel will vary depending on the location of your homestay and the distance to your school. Students may walk, catch a bus/train/ferry, cycle or be driven by car to school. Students are required to cover the cost of their transport to and from school each day. Costs will vary depending on distance travelled but usually it costs between AU$15.00 and $25.00 per week.

What support will I receive from my host school?

The International Student Coordinator and/or the Homestay Coordinator based at your host school will be available to students during school hours for personal or school related support issues. A member of the international student program team will make contact with your family prior to your arrival to introduce themselves and provide details of the host school and your homestay family.

During orientation at the school, emergency numbers will be provided to each student for their information and use as necessary. 1800 QSTUDY (+61 1800 778 839) is available if you require any assistance outside of school hours.

If you require any assistance with English, school or personal issues during your stay, these team members will be happy to help. EQI also provides support for schools in emergency situations.

Find out more about our support team.

Will I be homesick or experience problems?

It is normal for students to feel homesick for a short period of time and to experience some problems adjusting to a different environment and school. Learning to manage these situations yourself, with the support of your homestay family, staff and teachers at the school and the team members at EQI, is one of the benefits of enrolling in EQI's international student program. It builds self-confidence and maturity. Assistance is always available to international students from both their school staff and EQI officers, so do not hesitate to seek additional help if you need support or advice.

Will I be able to take all the subjects I choose?

Subject availability will vary from time to time (depending on whether you join the program at the beginning or during the Queensland academic year). We recommend you check with your agent and your school of choice to ensure your subject needs are met.

Can I join a sports team at my school?

Queensland schools have many sports teams and students may join these based on their ability and whether there is room for additional players in the team. In Queensland, there are different seasons for sports so it is important to check if your sport will be available during the period of your stay. Many students have access to a wide variety of sports by joining local sports clubs in their school or homestay area.

Can I transfer schools?

International students enrolled in Queensland Government schools are advised to select their school carefully prior to lodging their application. Students are not permitted to change from one school to another except in compassionate and compelling circumstances. Students who wish to transfer schools are required to have their parents apply in writing. A transfer fee may apply to any approved transfer.

Can I extend my study program?

Yes, you may extend your program provided that your school and your family approve the extension. EQI requires a written request from your parents at least 2 months prior to the end of your current study program. EQI can provide you with an extended Confirmation of Enrolment which you will need to take to the Department of Home Affairs to extend your student visa.

How do I withdraw from an International Student Program?

Students wishing to withdraw from an EQI course are required to give notice in writing from their parents outlining the reason for withdrawing.

For further information, refer to the EQI International Student Program terms and conditions of enrolment (PDF, 630KB) and ongoing enrolment – subclass 500 (schools) visa procedure.

What are the schools hours?

Most Queensland Government schools hold classes from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm Monday to Friday except for public holidays, school holidays and student-free days.

More information on terms dates and school holidays can be found on the Queensland Government schools website.

What happens on the first day of school?

On your first day of school, the school International Student Coordinator will meet you. The school will conduct an orientation program with you, introduce you to other students and school staff responsible for international students, take you for a tour of the school, help you select subjects and help you to buy your school uniform.

Will somebody meet me at the airport when I arrive in Queensland?

Yes, the first time you arrive in Queensland, an airport meet and greet service is provided between the hours of 6am and 9pm as part of your program fees for no additional cost to international students. This service is not available to students commencing in primary school. Please check with your airline about their requirements for travel by unaccompanied minors. If you want to be met on arrival you need to complete an Arrival Details form. This form will be sent to you with your Confirmation of Enrolment.

Find out more about airport pickup.

Outside-school activities

What do Australian students do in their free time?

There are many activities available to students outside of school, such as joining sports clubs (soccer, rugby, basketball, volleyball, skating, swimming, surfing, dancing, etc.) or visiting the numerous public parks for picnics, swimming, walking, hiking, and cycling. Queensland is also well-known for its national parks and beaches, as well as its thriving music and arts scene, allowing students to enjoy cinema, theatre and concert events. There are also many shopping malls that cater for all types of interests. Speak with your school staff about what activities are available in your area and the instances where you may need to get approval from your parents and/or the school to participate.

What will I do during the school holidays?

EQI arranges holiday adventure programs to various destinations to offer international students the opportunity to travel and see other parts of Australia. These programs are fully supervised by state school staff and include fun activities for young people.

What about safety – local, national, worldwide?

The safety of all students in Queensland Government schools is always the highest priority. Parents can be assured that every possible effort will be made to ensure that their son or daughter will be safe for the duration of their study until their return home. Queensland is well known as a safe destination with well-developed systems for ensuring the wellbeing of young people.

EQI has an emergency hotline for international students within Australia – 1800 QSTUDY(+61 1800 778 839). This emergency number is accessible in Australia and overseas to support international students, their families, host families and agents 24/7 every day of the year. This service is managed by experienced EQI staff and school support officers.

Can I travel while I am overseas?

EQI has a safe travel procedure for all international students. It is the student's responsibility to request all travel on the appropriate form (PDF, 430KB)​ and it is your school principal's responsibility to consider all travel requests while you are studying in a Queensland Government school. Travel under the supervision of a relative over the age of 21 years, your host family, school or on a trip organised by EQI or another approved organisation is considered appropriate. Travel will only be permitted during school holidays.

Can I work in Australia while I study?

Yes. International students under 16 years of age may work up to 12 hours per week during course time and up to 20 hours per week during holiday periods. Students over 16 years can work up to 20 hours a week during course time and full-time during holiday periods. You will need to speak to school staff about your wish to work after you have started school. This permission to work will be reviewed by your school principal if working has a negative impact on your studies or academic results.

Will someone take me to the airport after I finish my program?

In most cases, someone from your host family will take you to the airport on departure to say goodbye. In the event that this is not possible, a staff member from your host school will provide this service.

Future studies

When I have finished Year 12, can I continue to further my education here in Queensland?

If you wish to continue your education at a Queensland university you need to complete Year 11 and 12 to obtain a Tertiary Entrance statement (or ATAR from 2020) and Queensland Certificate of Education. A huge variety of undergraduate degree courses are available to international students at all 10 universities in Queensland. Students also have an option to apply to attend a vocational education and training (VET) provider. Students should consult with the guidance officer at their school of choice or the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) for information on their individual options for study after completing high school.

Further information on tertiary education options is available on the Study Queensland website.

Will my studies here in Queensland be recognised in my home country?

Queensland qualifications are respected internationally when seeking employment or entry into further study at leading international universities. It is important to speak with individual education institutions directly to ascertain their entry requirements. You will be provided with written progress reports at the end of each school term/semester and all assistance possible will be given to help you to achieve your best potential whilst studying in a Queensland Government school. It is possible for your studies undertaken in a Queensland Government school to be recognised overseas.

Read the Recognition of Queensland school reports fact sheet (PDF, 246KB).

Please check with your home country school before undertaking your overseas studies to make sure that they will recognise your overseas studies.

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Visa information​​​​

What visa do I need to travel and start my Queensland education program?​

International students must apply for a student visa ​500​. Your visa must be valid for the whole time you are studying on one of our programs.​

If you are a student and have a guardian travelling with you, they will need to apply for a visa as well​ (see Form 157n (PDF, 292KB)).

See student guardian visa 590​. Their visa must also be valid for the whole time they are your guardian.

Can I arrive and start studying in Queensland on any other visa?​

No. You can only study in one of our programs once have successfully applied and been given a student visa 500​ before you arrive into Australia​.

What visa do I need to live in a homestay?​

EQI offers welfare and accommodation​, as required in the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (Standard 5), for international students in Years 7 to 12 who request this service. Students must have and maintain a student visa 500​. Homestay accommodation is not available for any other type of visa before, during​ or after the education program.

My visa (or my parent’s visa)​ will be changing and I will transfer from an international student to a temporary or permanent resident. Do I need to tell the school and EQI beforehand about these changes?

Yes. You must let the school and EQI know in advance of any visa changes that could cancel your student visa while you are here studying. Our expert staff can help you plan ahead and make sure the correct applications and paperwork are submitted.​

Visa changes impact enrolment status, welfare arrangements and fees, as well as your immigration status. You may even need to depart Australia if you do not have immigration-accepted arrangements in place for your age.

Can I remain in my homestay after my education program is finished while waiting for my parents to join me from overseas to travel, live or study in Australia?​

EQI can only provide accommodation and welfare responsibility while you hold a student visa and for the welfare period specified in your Enrolment Agreement. As soon as you hold another type of visa, it is not possible to remain in an EQI arranged homestay or to make arrangements directly with a family. Applying for another visa may cancel your student visa during your stay,​ so be sure that your parents arrive before visa changes happen so that you withdraw from your homestay.

I will be in Queensland for an education program and want to travel with my parents after I have completed studying. Can I extend my homestay while I wait for them to arrive?​

No. It is not possible to stay in your homestay after the program by extending your homestay while waiting for your parents. Your parents must arrive during the last week of your welfare and homestay as indicated in your Enrolment Agreement.​

If you know your plans for after completion of your studies at the time you apply to EQI, EQI may be able to negotiate an additional week of welfare when we issue your Enrolment Agreement. This will be considered on a case-by-case basis.​

What do I need to consider if I change my type of visa during my stay as an international student?

Visa changes could have unexpected consequences that you might not have thought about.

If your visa changes, you may no longer be eligible for an EQI international student program and this can affect your study progress. Please contact your school and EQI whenever there is a change to your visa status. If you are using the services of an education agent, we also request that you include them in your communication.

EQI staff will provide you with guidance and information about the correct steps that you need to consider before starting any changes. You can only remain in the international program and maintain homestay arrangements while you hold a student visa 500​.

I have a guardian visa (590) and need to return home urgently but want my dependant/s to remain enrolled at school in Queensland. What do I need to do before departing Australia?​

A student guardian visa holder is responsible for the care and accommodation needs of their dependant/s until they complete their study or turn 18 years. If you do need to leave the child/ren in Australia, it is your responsibility to contact EQI immediately and make arrangements for their welfare with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) (see Form 157n (PDF, 292KB)). See student guardian visa 590​. You must have DHA’s approval of the new arrangement before you leave the country.

Last updated 17 February 2022