A total of 579 African recipients of an Australian Award from 28 countries participated in the 2014 Arrival (248) and Ongoing (331) surveys administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Nearly half of respondents (49 per cent) were female and about three quarters were accompanied by their families in Australia.
In terms of overall satisfaction, 98 per cent or above of Awardees were satisfied with their Award experience in 2014. This is consistent with results from the 2013 surveys.
In preparing to come to Australia, survey results indicated a high level of satisfaction with preparation arrangements, with 97 per cent of new arrivals indicating a high satisfaction rating. During the pre-mobilisation phase, 98 per cent of new arrivals were satisfied with their application and interview preparation and almost 95 per cent found the advice from staff of the Australia Awards program to be essential or very useful. Awardees were also positive about the Pre-Departure Briefings, with 98 per cent satisfied with how this activity helped them further prepare for the transition to life in Australia.
However, challenges did still exist for the newly arrived cohort, with regards to both family and the work place. While preparing to come to Australia, the three key challenges identified by newly arrived Awardees included negotiating a departure time with their employer, the time gap between finishing work and leaving for Australia, and making arrangements for family.
For those Awardees living and studying in Australia, satisfaction with the ability to cope with financial issues was generally high, numbering 91 per cent of new arrivals and 97 per cent of ongoing students. Although Awardees may expect that seeking part time work is a smooth process, survey results indicate that finding part time employment is a challenge. For those Awardees bringing their families to Australia, challenges were experienced in covering the costs of caring for dependents, including child care and school fees. It is important for Awardees to note that family life in Australia is quite expensive.
With regards to study related issues while on-award, 79 per cent of new arrivals and 76 per cent of ongoing students were satisfied with their ability to cope with study related issues while living in Australia. Concerning selected course area, a high figure of 96 per cent of ongoing students agreed they had chosen the right course or research topic at their institution, while 91 per cent agreed they had chosen the right educational institution in Australia.