From Canada to Australia: Studying Nursing is a Dream Come True

26 March 2024

Loewe, a second-year student in the University of Queensland’s Master of Nursing Studies program, is loving everything about her time in Australia. We asked her to share her journey into nursing, her plans after she graduates, and everything in between!

Her biggest piece of advice? “If you’re thinking about applying in Australia, I would honestly do it. I’ve had such a great experience so far and cannot recommend it enough. Good luck to anyone who is applying!”

nursing student with sunglasses selfie
Loewe is studying nursing at the University of Queensland

Why did you choose to study nursing in Australia?

I chose to study nursing in Australia for a few different reasons. I initially completed my undergraduate degree at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, studying a Bachelor of Science in biology and psychology.

When I was applying for university programs in high school, I wasn’t quite sure what career I wanted to do, but knew I wanted it to be healthcare related. I was stuck between choosing pharmacy and nursing, so I decided to do a more general science degree so I could have more time to explore my options and find areas of science and health that I enjoyed. I took a variety of classes during my undergrad and graduated in 2021.

At this time, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do yet. A nurse I knew at the time suggested I try working at an organization in Ontario that coordinates in home and community-based care to get some experience working with different health care professionals. I ended up working on the short-stay team that coordinated nursing, OT, PT, SLP, SW, and dietician services for clients in the GTA. I received lots of insight from my team and ultimately decided nursing was the career I wanted to pursue.

In Canada, to become a registered nurse, you must study a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing and write the NCLEX. As I was researching programs in Canada, I came across OzTREKK. Looking into their options for nursing programs, I discovered I could take a 2-year master’s program in nursing to fast track my degree, so I applied to a few programs that I was eligible for. OzTREKK made the application process super easy, and they provided me with so much support while I was figuring out what forms needed to be signed and where to send my documents and transcripts.

I weighed my options at the time and decided that studying in Australia would allow me to graduate 2 years earlier, I could be licensed to practice in two countries, and I could study in a country that’s warm all year round! I ultimately chose the University of Queensland as I liked that Brisbane is a smaller city, so it would be easier to adjust moving to a new country by myself.

What are you enjoying most about your time in Australia?

I honestly love everything about living in Australia! The people, the food, the nightlife, the beaches, and yes, even the weather (it gets to about 44 degrees with the humidity in peak summer and lots of houses/apartments don’t have air con)! It’s very different from the lifestyle in Toronto as people here really respect the work/life balance. Nurses here typically work three to four 8-hour shifts a week in comparison to three, 12-hour shifts as are common in Canada.

Everything feels more relaxed and not as rushed. It’s super nice to be able to take day trips to the coast (Sunshine and Gold Coast are only an hour’s drive away from Brisbane) and enjoy the beach and warm weather. Even in winter, it doesn’t get anywhere near as cold as Canada. People here are also very kind and love to chat with you, especially when they hear a Canadian accent.

What advice would you give future students about the Master of Nursing program?

I’m currently about to start my second and final year in the program, and so far, I’m really enjoying my time here. Classes are quite standard, and the practical classes held at the translational Research Institute at the Princess Alexandra Hospital are super helpful. The clinical instructors were very knowledgeable and provided lots of valuable information and skills throughout my first and second semester. A few helpful tips from my experience:

  • Brush up on your anatomy and physiology knowledge through an extra course or review before you start! This will be super helpful for the biomedical science course in your first semester.
  • Be prepared to practice your skills and ask lots of questions during placements, because this is the time to do so. I got super lucky with my placements, as I have completed an aged care and ICU placement in my first year and am about to undertake a MedSurg placement in Urology and a Paediatric Emergency Department placement this semester. Lots of variety in different specialties is offered to gain experience and exposure to different types of nursing!
  • Get involved! Join clubs at school, make friends in your program/cohort, and say yes whenever you can. Everyone is super friendly here and they’ll give you directions or show you the best spots in the city if you just ask!

What are you planning to do when you graduate?

I’ll be graduating from my program at the end of 2024, and I plan to stay in Australia to work. One of the advantages of studying in Australia is that once you graduate, you can register with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) right away to be licensed to practice. You don’t have to write the NCLEX here, so you can apply to jobs straight away. Another nice thing about working in Australia is that you get a “new graduate year.”

This differs between hospitals, but during your first year as a nurse, they offer you more support and education opportunities. You also get supernumerary shifts which means you have a preceptor for a set amount of time to help adjust to your unit/ward. As a master’s graduate, you also get a higher starting salary in comparison to a bachelor’s graduate. There are a few options in terms of applying for new visas after your student one expires, which allows you to stay and work in Australia for 2 to 4 years.

Just keep in mind that if you return to Canada to practice right after you graduate, there is a wait time to process your degree and you will have to write the NCLEX. For now, I plan to stay and enjoy the beautiful weather and explore more of Australia!

University of Queensland Master of Nursing Studies

Duration: 2 years
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Application deadline: While the application deadline is generally the end of November each year, you’re encouraged to apply a minimum of six months in advance as this program can fill quickly.
Admissions requirements: You must have a completed undergraduate degree from a recognized university with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0/4.0 (approximately 65% +) and have extensive pre-existing knowledge in biology, chemistry, or physics at undergraduate level (or equivalent).

Australian Nursing Programs

All nursing professions are regulated in Canada. RNs are licensed in the province or territory in which they work. The provincial or territorial regulatory body for nursing handles the assessment of qualifications for internationally educated nurses and the scheduling of nurses to write the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination.

Graduates from Australia who wish to practice as a registered nurse upon their return to Canada should be aware of the certification process for foreign-trained nurses in their province of residence. For more information, please visit our Practicing Nursing in Canada page.

OzTREKK is here to help you navigate the entire application (and acceptance!) processes. We work with 14 Australian universities offering nursing programs at both the bachelor’s and master’s levels.

Start your nursing application with OzTREKK any time!

Nursing is one of the most in-demand professions out there. If you want to be a part of creating a healthy future, studying a nursing degree in Australia is a great start to a rewarding and fulfilling career.


Do you have questions about studying nursing in Australia? Please contact OzTREKK’s nursing admissions officer at

NewsStudent Profile