UNIVERSITY Foundation Studies not only offers students from different countries a standard university entrance qualification but also a solid base for their academic studies in Australia. According to International Development of Australian Universities and Colleges (IDP) manager Joanna Leung, Foundation Studies prepares overseas students for study at tertiary level. Courses are usually one year in duration. Foundation courses were first introduced because the universities realised that the growing number of foreign students going to Australia to study had very different educational backgrounds. 'The students often need additional training in the study of subjects relevant to the undergraduate courses offered at Australian universities as well as in the type of English language used at a university,' Ms Leung said. 'Foundation Studies is different from secondary schooling. It is taught and assessed with the objective of helping overseas students go through the transition from their own education system and society to that which applies in Australian institutions.' The programme also provides students with an opportunity to adapt to the Australian environment. 'International students come from many varied cultural backgrounds with differences in climate, food, customs and expectations. 'On the university campus, students learn about one another and at the same time learn about the Australian multi-cultural way of life.' According to Ms Leung, traditionally, students taking the foundation programme have required varying levels of English language training. This is changing, however, and now an increasing number of students in the foundation programme are looking to either supplement their qualifications or use their foundation studies results instead of matriculation-level results. 'An institution allocates the student a provisional place in the student's chosen undergraduate course for the following year on enrolment in the foundation studies programme,' Ms Leung said. If the student achieves the grade prescribed by the institution for that foundation studies programme, the student will be enrolled in their chosen undergraduate course. To be admitted to the programme, an applicant must have completed 10-12 years of schooling and be proficient in English. The minimum entrance requirement for Hong Kong students is basically five 'D's in the HKCEE. However, the requirements vary in different institutions according to the subjects studied. More than 25 representatives from various Australian universities will come to Hong Kong to meet students at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on June 24 and 25. Students interested in the foundation studies programme can obtain more details from them. For more information, call IDP on 2827-6362.