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Study in Australia

What Makes a 'Student City' in Australia

Published by Afterschool.my on May 21, 2018, 07:52 am

While you’re browsing through all your university options before making the final decision, it wouldn’t hurt to check out the big cities in Australia and what each of them has to offer. Australia is huge after all, being the only country in the world that’s also a continent as well as the biggest island in the world. Before you head over pursue your studies in Australia, it’s good to know what exactly a ‘student city’ means. 

There are a lot of different aspects to what makes a ‘student city’. These are usually ones that come to mind: cost of day-to-day living and accommodation, the university choices surrounding that city, and factors such as climate and environment, culture, transport, and layout. It’s always good to know what a city offers to tourists and foreigners; even better if you can find out what they offer a foreign student and how and to what extent they can cater to your needs.

According to the QS Best Student Cities Rankings 2018, the highest ranked student cities in Australia is as follows:

1. Melbourne

Image via Tourism Australia

Ranking #3 worldwide, Melbourne is abundant in cultural festivals, museums, restaurants, clubs and famous cafés, undoubtedly setting a vibrant and lively city vibe for an international university student. With community events happening very often, it’s almost difficult to say you’re bored in a city like Melbourne. With essential needs and leisure activities abound, you won’t even have to travel very far for anything much (though you still should, to explore more of Australia!).

On top of its innovative restaurants, trendy cafés and steady stream of club-goers, Melbourne is best known as Australia’s cultural capital offering theatre, comedy, music, art, architecture, literature, film and television. The city is home to several renowned art galleries such as the National Gallery of Australia, and its literary scene is internationally recognised in that Melbourne City of Literature is the second UNESCO City of Literature.

However, with fun treats comes a high price—the cost of living in Melbourne is relatively higher than most other student cities in Australia.

Facts about Melbourne

Population: 4,530,000

Average tuition fees for international students: RM92,500 (AU$30,950)

Top universities: University of Melbourne; Monash University; Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT); Deakin University; La Trobe University; Swinburne University of Technology; and Victoria University

Highest-ranked institution: University of Melbourne (ranked #41 in QS World University Rankings 2018)

2. Sydney

Image via Sydney.com

Sydney, another illustrious city among students, is close at the heels, ranking in the top 10 worldwide. Aside from being Australia’s largest city, Sydney has the largest economy in the country and as a result, has one of the highest scores in terms of employability. It is thus known as Australia’s economic and financial hub.

There are lots of fun and interesting things to do in Sydney. On top of its 100 beaches to explore (including the iconic Bondi Beach!) and greenery and nature (it is home to the major Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and several wildlife parks), expect a vibrant nightlife with concerts and live music more often than you would think. Besides that, the famous Sydney Opera House is located here, where artists of a wide variety perform every year!

Though like Melbourne, the cost of living in Sydney is comparatively high, international students often find ways to cover the costs and make it work, simply because the combined lifestyle and quality higher education in Sydney is in its prime.

Facts about Sydney

Population: 4,921,000

Average tuition fees for international students: RM104,740 (AU$35,080)

Top universities: University of Sydney; University of New South Wales (UNSW); University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Macquarie University; Western Sydney University

Highest-ranked institution: UNSW (ranked #45 in QS World University Rankings 2018)

3. Brisbane

Image via Tourism Australia

The city of Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and is ranked #21 among the best student cities worldwide. Recently dubbed a ‘new-world city’ along with 49 others, Brisbane is in the top 30% of the world’s fastest growing cities and excels in two major, globally-oriented economies: the digital economy and higher education. What makes Brisbane an attractive city to students could very well be the fact that it is one of Australia’s most affordable places to study. While having an extensive number of degree programmes to choose from (over 9,000 degrees at all levels), its public universities charge relatively low tuition fees.

Brisbane, much like Melbourne, is also an important cultural centre in Australia. The Queensland Cultural Centre, a heritage-listed entertainment centre, is spread around the city of Brisbane and includes structures such as the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, the Queensland Museum, the State Library of Queensland, the Queensland Art Gallery and the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art.

Facts about Brisbane

Population: 2,309,000

Average tuition fees for international students: RM93,650 (AU$31,350)

Top universities: University of Queensland; Queensland University of Technology (QUT); Griffith University

Highest-ranked institution: University of Queensland (ranked #47 in QS World University Rankings 2018)

4. Canberra

Image via CBR Canberra

Ranked just below Brisbane at #22 worldwide, Canberra is a peaceful contrast to the bustling, fast-paced cities mentioned earlier. With a population of half a million, the city offers a quiet retreat for students who prefer an environment with less hustle and bustle to study in.

As the capital of Australia, Canberra is more known for its national monuments and institutions (including the Australian War Memorial and National Museum), government buildings (such as the Parliament House and Royal Australian Mint), and historical sites. The National Gallery of Australia is located in Canberra as well as the National Library, which holds every book that has ever been published in Australia.

Although Canberra is not as close to Australia’s many beaches as the other cities, it still has a good balance of fun and work. Canberra has plenty of attractions of its own, including a man-made lake and beautiful nature reserves all around.

Facts about Canberra

Population: 381,000

Average tuition fees for international students: RM105,000 (AU$35,150)

Top universities: Australian National University (ANU); University of Canberra

Highest-ranked institution: ANU (ranked #1 in Australia and #20 in QS World University Rankings 2018)

5. Perth

Image via City of Perth

The next city on our list is Perth, which offers a picturesque environment for students to enjoy while pursuing their studies. With some of the best weather conditions and lovely beaches to explore, Perth offers a more idyllic setting for those who prefer to unwind and take in the view.

Perth is probably best known for its strange mix of urban lifestyle and raw natural beauty. It contrasts with the touristy hubbub of cities such as Sydney and Melbourne, giving Perth a laid-back and ‘homey’ atmosphere. One of the most famous spots in Perth is the Fremantle Markets, which have made a big enough name to be regarded as one of the most popular markets in Western Australia. Swan Valley is also famous for its beautiful fruit orchards and wildlife parks.

Because Perth is more scenic and impressive as opposed to being driven by leisure activities, the student activities are more focused in the universities while the rest of the city’s appeal brings more to the senses.

Facts about Perth

Population: 2,039,000

Average tuition fees for international students: RM105,000 (AU$35,150)

Top universities: University of Western Australia (UWA); Curtin University; Murdoch University

Highest-ranked institution: UWA (ranked in the top 100 of QS World University Rankings 2018)

6. Adelaide

Image via Tourism Australia

Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia and is ranked #41 in best student cities worldwide. Located in the south coast, it is best known for its wide boulevards, open spaces and parklands. With an easily navigable city centre, Adelaide is rather convenient for university students, as a lot of places and shops are within reach.

Since the mid-19th century, Adelaide has been known as the ‘City of Churches’ due to its diversity of faiths rather than the ‘religiousness’ of its people. Adelaide has a nice balance of the energetic urban lifestyle and picturesque backdrop, with just a little ways from the festival-teeming city to Adelaide Hills where you can go hiking and sight-seeing. There are also beaches galore, where many of the community go to unwind and enjoy the waves.

Facts about Adelaide

Population: 1,317,000

Average tuition fees for international students: RM105,000 (AU$35,150)

Top universities: University of Adelaide; University of South Australia; Flinders University

Highest-ranked institution: University of Adelaide (ranked #109 in QS World University Rankings 2018)


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