International Students, Should You Stay in Australia or Go Back to Your Home Country?

International Students, Should You Stay in Australia or Go Back to Your Home Country?

International Students, Should You Stay in Australia or Go Back to Your Home Country?

Should I stay or should I go? Short answer: It’s up to you. Long answer? It depends.

Author: Aushaf Widisto




The Migration Dilemma: Internationals In a Pandemic

We get it. You’re an international student, and you’re terribly confused right now. Guess what? Us, too!

As internationals ourselves, we more or less understand what you’re feeling. 2020 has been full of trials and tribulations, and no one really knows if 2021 brings the light at the end of the tunnel, or if the tunnel just stretches on. The pandemic itself is only one facet of the problem, and it has spawned many other complications that are by no means any less serious.

Borders are closed and you’re stuck indefinitely, either in Australia or back home. Your lively classes have all turned to faceless Zoom meetings. The lockdown restrictions came to a point where it got so strict you can’t leaving the house was a privileged event. The economy went full-on bananas and you’ve lost your job because of it (and that’s only if you had managed to secure one, to begin with). Essentially, life was put on hold, and mental health continues to suffer.

We totally understand. If that’s not suffocating, we don’t know what is.

But every cloud has a silver lining… right?

If anything, this predicament has taught us to find significance in the mundane–to appreciate the minuscule blessings that we would otherwise would have taken for granted. For starters, who would’ve thought that the simple freedom to “stand within 1.5 meters of each other while not wearing a mask” could be such a precious privilege?

What else? Strolling aimlessly all over the city, loafing around by the beach, paying 5 bucks just to chill in a coffee shop. All these things used to be nothing, now they feel like everything. Gratitude is a steep-priced lesson, indeed.

Thankfully, your patience is being paid off. Though perhaps not all at once, but in small instalments. While the pandemic hasn’t shown any signs of ceasing for good, restrictions are slowly being lifted. Each day things are getting a little bit better–and every single one matters.

That being said, it might be wise to start thinking about your next move.

Here or Home: Things You Should Consider

If you’re already in Australia, you have the option to stay and deal with the pandemic from here, or to return home. If you’re currently back home, however, keep your patience for a while longer. At the time of this writing, Australia’s borders are still closed for international students outside the country. Unless you have some type of exemption, your options are either to continue studying online while you wait for the border to reopen, or to defer your studies until things settle down. Either way, don’t fret! You’ll be able to come here again. It’s best to prepare while you wait.

Being the international student that you are, perhaps this matter has been hovering in your mind for some time. Honestly, neither option is a 100% win. We’ve listed some pros and cons for you below (+ some tips on what you can do about them):

Come to / Stay in Australia


  • Australia does a relatively better job in containing the spread of COVID compared to other countries, so health-wise you’ll probably be safer here.
  • When on-campus learning recommences (hopefully soon, fingers crossed!), you’ll be ready to return right away.
  • While finding paid jobs might be tricky right now, there are still other activities that can be worth your while, like internships or volunteering opportunities.


  • We don’t know for sure when international travel will return to normal, so you might be separated from your family and friends back home for a while longer.
  • For some of you, the living costs in Australia are relatively higher compared to your home country, so you have to be smart with your expenses. Using services like Foodbank might help you save some coins.
  • While many businesses are starting to reopen, the job market is still volatile and it might be challenging to find a stable and well-paying job. You’ll need to go the extra mile. Maybe try your luck with platforms like Working for Victoria.

Remain / Return Home


  • You can be closer to your family and friends back home. This is huge!
  • The living cost in many other countries, which may include yours, should be more affordable than in Australia, so this option is more financially sound.
  • If you can optimise your online learning environment, you’ll still get similar results even when studying from overseas (although of course, it won’t entirely replace the IRL experience).


  • In certain countries, the COVID situations are really bad compared to Australia, so you’ll have to take the health protocols even more seriously.
  • There’s no guarantee you’ll be able to return to Australia right away when on-campus studies recommence. You can sign this petition to push the government to exempt international students from the travel ban.
  • For some of you, it might be really difficult to stay disciplined and motivated when studying online from overseas. Here are some tips to overcome that.

The Takeaway: Make an Informed Decision

Those are some things you should consider when deciding whether you should stay in Australia or at home. As you can see, for these two options, many of the pros and cons are directly at odds, so you’ll have to be really sure of what you want.

Whichever option you choose, make sure you’re doing it right. Be aware of your visa status, your rights and responsibilities as an international student, and how the pandemic has affected the Australian migration policies.

Sounds confusing? It can be, but you don’t have to suffer in silence, because you’re not alone. As cheesy as it sounds, iDibs is here for you.

In the links below, you’ll find additional information about migration during a pandemic. These are reliable resources provided by the Australian government, so they’ll help you in making an informed decision:

Last but not least, you can also utilise iDibs’ selection of migration services. Our partners are experts in their field, so rest assured. You’re in good hands.

And get this: You’re eligible for a free consultation!

In the end, the long answer comes back to the short answer: It’s up to you.

Staying in Australia? We got your back. Going back home? We also got your back.

Whatever your decision is, iDibs will be there with you every step of the way.

#1 Solution For Internationals in Australia!

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