In April last year, the Australian government released findings from 2014’s International Student Survey. The survey measured levels of satisfaction among students from overseas, comparing what was found to international benchmarks obtained via the International Student Barometer (ISB) survey. A total of 55,609 students responded, all representing that year’s global cohort opting for an Australian education.
Overall, 88 percent, or nine in 10 international students reported extremely high levels of satisfaction regarding their Australian student experience, pretty much matching levels recorded in the previous two surveys (87% in 2012 and 86% in 2010), and highlighting Australia’s consistency as a world-class education provider.
Nine in 10 foreign students also reported that they were comfortable and happy with their experience of living in the country (89%) as well as their Australian academic endeavours (87%). Participants cited the reputation of Australian qualifications, the quality of its education system and providers, personal safety, and the quality of teaching and research as their main motivations for choosing to study in Australia.
This is a country that is rich with outstanding universities, but it’s also positively rolling in stunning natural assets. After all, what self-respecting student could turn down that mellow Aussie vibe of sun, sea, surf and sand?!
For as long as we can remember, Australia has maintained its position as a top study destination and boasts some of the most popular student cities education has ever known – but what exactly is it that keeps them coming back?
Allow us to shed some light; here are six reasons why Australian universities offer an unparalleled student experience:
1. Australia is one of the world’s most liveable countries
Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Brisbane continue to assert their firm position in global liveability rankings. Locations are ranked in terms of factors like stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure, and these are the cities flying the flag for Australia, year after year.
In 2015, Melbourne topped The Economist’s liveability rankings for the fifth year in a row, and anyone who doubts the city’s position as the world’s favourite city tends to be rooting for Sydney instead!
Melbourne. Via Shutterstock.
Of all the major cities down under, Melbourne is regarded as the most student friendly. Opportunity for adventure gives the city a real buzz, and there’s always something going on that doesn’t hurt your wallet. The city is also well known for excellent transport links, making student exploration easy as pie!
Brisbane came second in terms of student convenience, boasting a perfect climate and affordable accommodation that doesn’t compromise on quality.
Adelaide, Perth and Sydney follow close behind, again with their beautiful climates and boundless potential for outdoor recreation.
2. You can live a quality lifestyle on a student budget
Australia’s east coast offers excellent universities for students looking to knuckle down and power through their studies, but it’s also ideal if you love chilling on the beach and partying without having to break the bank. Many universities provide housing fit for royalty, but there are also plenty of off-campus housing options that can be a real bargain!
Of all Australia’s major cities, Adelaide has to be the cheapest. It is the food and wine capital of Australia, meaning even the most budget conscious students can head out somewhere and snag some top grub. It’s spacious, clean, green and rife with beachside attractions, so there’s never a dull day for students living in this city.
Brisbane. Via Shutterstock.
Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, is Australia’s third largest city, and is known for providing students with great value for money. In this area, students tend to live in the inner-city, close to the majority of the region’s teaching facilities. Check out sites like Urbanest or The Pad to scout Brisbane’s hottest off-campus deals!
Wollongong and Hobart are also very affordable locations, and while Sydney and Melbourne are not among the cheapest, students can still snatch up great value for money accommodation with a bit of detailed research. At the end of the day, you are likely to pay a little more in these two cities, but the experience and cultural enrichment gained compares to nowhere else!
3. Australia is King of outdoor pursuits
Visit Fraser Island – the world’s largest sandy island that boasts a breathtaking beach that spans 75-miles. Here, you can explore over 100 fresh water lakes, rainforests and stunning, rugged coastline. Hike, surf, swim, fish, climb or even just relax; Fraser Island is the perfect backdrop for all your adventuring needs.
Group snorkeling in Ningaloo Reef. Via Sharon McKellar Flick.
Explore Ningaloo Reef – one of the world’s longest fringing barrier reefs. Whether you’re in a Canoe or a Kayak; wearing a Snorkel or a Scuba mask; this place is sure to be like nothing you’ve ever seen. With more than 200 species of coral, 500 species of fish; whales, sharks, dolphins, turtles and hundreds more, Ningaloo Reef is an underwater wonderland.
Now, trust us when we say we couldn’t possibly list EVERY Aussie location that’s perfect for outdoor adventuring or we’d wind up with an article as long as War and Peace… but with perfect conditions for sports like hiking, surfing, diving, fishing and sometimes even skiing, it’s easy to see why Australia is considered the sporting paradise of the world.
4. Australia is one of the safest and friendliest countries in the world
Every year, the Institute for Economics and Peace releases the Global Peace Index (GPI) report which identifies the world’s safest countries; 162 independent states are considered for the rankings, covering nearly 99.5 percent of the world’s population.
Countries are given a score of one to five for 23 separate metrics, including levels of violent crime, safety and security within society, weapons import and export, the extent of domestic and international conflict, political instability and more.
With a GPI score of 1.329, Australia was ranked the ninth safest country in the most recent report. It is a region that offers an extremely high quality of life, with a welcoming population that values diversity and multiculturalism. These reasons are among many that make Australia one of the best-loved countries on the globe.
5. International students in Australia are supported every step of the way
With its world-class education, strong multicultural community and extremely chilled out lifestyle, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that tonnes of overseas students are choosing to study in Australia. But with the International Education Advisory Council’s prediction of a 30 percent increase in Australia’s number of international student enrolments by the year 2020, it’s a good thing the country already has the best possible systems for student support in place!
RMIT graduation. Via Shutterstock.
Australia has many dedicated consumer protection and support services available for all international students; all you have to do is a little research to pinpoint the best one for your problem. These services include those directly provided by the institution, as well as those provided by state, territory and federal government departments.
No matter what the issue, you can guarantee your Australian university is equipped to handle it. All you have to do is ask!
6. And let’s not forget – Australia provides all students with an outstanding education!
It isn’t all about bargains and beaches; the academics are pretty crucial too, right? After all, if you’re willing to fork out for an international education, you may as well make sure that it’s coming from the best!
Well, rest assured that that’s exactly what you’ll get throughout your time down under. In 2015, the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) ranked Australia’s formal education system as number one in the world, steaming ahead of international competitors like the US and UK.
Ninety-three countries were ranked based on their ability to grow, attract and retain their talent, for which Australia came out on top!
Regardless of which institution you choose for your Aussie study experience, just know that the knowledge you’ll gain will take you anywhere in the world, and that’s one thing that’s really worth your money. If you invest in Australia, Australia will undoubtedly invest in you.
Read on to learn about some of Australia’s top universities:
ROYAL MELBOURNE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY – MELBOURNE, VICTORIA
RMIT University is a global university of technology and design, and Australia’s largest tertiary institution. It enjoys an international reputation for excellence in practical education and outcome-oriented research, preparing graduates for success in a rapidly changing world. RMIT is ranked among the top 15 universities in Australia and is also ranked in the top 100 universities in the world in the areas computer science and information systems, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering (2015 QS World University Rankings). The University’s student population of more than 82,000 includes 26,000 international students, with more than 17,000 who are taught offshore.
JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY – QUEENSLAND
One of the world’s leading institutions focusing on the tropics, Australia’s James Cook University is surrounded by the spectacular ecosystems of the rainforests of the wet tropics, the iconic Great Barrier Reef and tropical savannah. Its unique location enables students from Australia and overseas to study in a diverse physical environment unparalleled by any university in the world. Ranked in the top four percent of the world’s tertiary institutions by the respected Academic Ranking of World Universities, James Cook University is dedicated to creating a brighter future for life in the tropics world-wide, through graduates and discoveries that make a difference.
CURTIN UNIVERSITY – PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Curtin University is Western Australia’s largest and most culturally diverse university with Australia’s third largest international student population. With campuses in Malaysia and Singapore, as well as face-to-face teaching in a number of countries, Curtin has a strong commitment to international engagement. This cultural diversity adds a rich and valuable dimension to its campus atmosphere, preparing all graduates to live and work effectively in an increasingly global environment. The School offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in business, humanities, health sciences, resources, engineering and related sciences.
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES – SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES
The University of New South Wales (UNSW), is one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. The School takes pride in the broad range and high quality of its teaching programs, which gain strength and currency from its research activities, strong industry links and a prominent international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement. In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge UNSW is creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research.
CHARLES DARWIN UNIVERSITY – DARWIN, NORTHERN TERRITORY
Charles Darwin University (CDU) has achieved a five-star rating for research from the Good Universities Guide, acknowledging its place on the world stage. It is the only Australian university to offer the full spectrum of education options from senior secondary, through to VET, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. CDU continues to attract students from around the world. Currently there are more than 22,000 students enrolled, including over 8,000 interstate and overseas. The University’s adaptive and altruistic culture has allowed it to not only survive, but thrive in a changing world.
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA – ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
UniSA is Australia’s university of enterprise and is a globally-focused, locally-engaged institution established on the dual principles of equity and excellence. With more than 32,000 students, the university is South Australia’s largest and was ranked 25th in the QS World University Rankings for institutions under 50 years old in 2015. UniSA offers degree programs across a wide range of subjects including business, law, education, arts and social sciences, health sciences, information technology, engineering and the environment. A total of 88 per cent of UniSA graduates surveyed in 2014 were satisfied with the quality of their program.