Top 5 Australian cities for international students


International students in Aus seem to be happy campus campers these days: according to the 2016 QS Best Student Cities index, Australia ranks at the head of the list of hot destinations for studies abroad, and two of the country’s seven entries even made it into the top-five. 

While the cost of living in Australian academic hubs may not exactly be up in the cheap lane, the steep price tag is definitely worth it, judging by the gains and lifestyle a foreign student can experience by moving to one of these top five student cities in the land down under.

1. Melbourne

This year, Melbourne took out second place on the list of the world’s top cities for students, and for a few good reasons, too. Often referred to as Australia’s capital of culture, the city takes pride in its seven QS World Ranked (QS WUR) universities, along with countless entertainment options, galleries, shopping malls, cafes, restaurants, bars, live music venues, theatres and scenic beaches.

Qualified as the most livable city in the world by the Economist, Melbourne has a student population of nearly 300,000, with 91,000 international students (the highest in Australia), who can spend out-of-class hours exploring the city’s amazing architecture, attending sports events such as the Australian Open, the Spring Racing Carnival and the Formula 1 Grand Prix, and having fun at one of the many local festivals such as the International Comedy Festival, Food and Wine Festival, Oktoberfest and the Fringe Festival.

2. Sydney

Sydney is not just the country’s biggest economic and financial centre: it’s also a hot destination for international students who want to get the biggest bang out of their university years. Ranked fourth on the 2016 Best Student Cities index, Sydney is deemed one of most desirable of all the 75 entries because it offers an ideal blend of entertainment programs, living standard and sites of natural beauty.

Home to five universities within the QS WUR (two of which made it to the top 50, by the way), Sydney has a student population of around 230,000, 22 per cent of whom come from overseas. As for leisure activities available to Sydney students, the list is quite lengthy and includes numerous theatres and museums, live music venues, surfing and diving schools, and a host of cinemas, parks, pubs, and restaurants. Still, all that goodness comes with a high price tag where Sydney is considered the world’s second most expensive housing market, so most foreign students aim to get a residential place in one of the university campuses.

3. Canberra

Occupying 17th position on the 2016 Best Student City index, the quality of education Canberra offers is second to none in the country. The city is home to the top-ranking QS WUR institution in Australia, with Australian National University currently sitting at a very respectable ranking of 19th best university in the world.

Right now, Canberra hosts 35,000 students, 9,000 of which come from overseas. The Australian capital offers various attractions and pastimes appealing to outdoorsy and artsy students, including a man-made lake in the downtown, nature reserves on the city outskirts, Asian and European restaurants, busy bars and nightclubs, shopping malls, historical monuments, museums and fascinating architecture. Another cool thing about Canberra is its infrastructure: the city is said to have one of the best road networks in Australia.

Image: Lyons

Image: Lyons

4. Brisbane

Following close at Canberra’s heels, Brisbane takes 18th place on the Best Student City index this year. It has three QS WUR universities, the city is considered to be one of the most desirable study destinations because of its unique blend of urban lifestyle, education quality and affordability. The attractions that make Brisbane stand out as a study destination include booming nightlife and arts scene, a multitude of sporting events, captivating beaches and water sport options, and a host of cultural festivals. 

Another aspect that draws both Australian and foreign students to the city is its reasonable cost of living: first-rate student accommodation in Brisbane comes at lower prices than in other university hubs across the country, and public transportation is also solid, which means that you won’t have any problems commuting to and from the uni.

Image: Quest Blog

Image: Quest Blog

5. Adelaide

Ranked 26th on the 2016 Best Student Cities list, Adelaide has three universities that made it into the top 550 of the QS WUR 2015. With a student population of 70,000 people, Adelaide is currently home to around 20,000 international students who can spend their spare time relaxing at the nearby beaches, working out in local parks and going wildlife spotting. 

Other leisure activities on the doorstep of Adelaide students include hiking, cycling, swimming with the dolphins in the Glenelg area, wine tasting in the Barossa Valley, and casual strolls along beautiful boulevards. The festival calendar here is rich and exciting, and features popular events such as the Adelaide Fringe, Writers’ Week, the Film Festival and even a Guitar Festival.

Image: InDaily

Image: InDaily

Australia is climbing up the global academic ladder fast, and it shows that international students can truly have it all during their studies abroad. Premium education, thriving nightlife, scenic backdrops, a wide range of entertainment options, colourful festivals, adrenaline-pumping sports events, and flourishing culture are all within a foreign student’s reach in Aus– so if you still haven’t decided where to pursue your studies, Australia may just be your best bet.

Are you an international student living in Melbourne? Join our discussion on the best places for students to live in in Melbourne here

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