Sydney scores top marks with international students

Sydney – Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore poses for a photo with international students (photo by Jamie Williams/City of Sydney)

Nine out of 10 international students recommend Sydney as a great place to live and study, according to new research.

The City of Sydney’s international student wellbeing survey also revealed the vast majority of respondents felt safe in Sydney, and that Sydney’s culturally diverse community provide them with a valued support network.

The City’s survey is the first in Australia to measure the wellbeing of international students. It comes as new data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows the education of international students is Australia’s third biggest export income earner, generating $20 billion a year.

Using online questionnaires, one-on-one interviews and focus groups, the researchers collated information from 603 international students from 74 countries who were living or studying in inner Sydney.

NSW has attracted one-third of Australia’s 500,000 international students over the past 10 years, with the majority of them based in Sydney.

According to the Federal Government’s international student data for NSW, there are more than 50,000 international university students in Sydney and another 50,000 vocational and English-language students.

“International students make a real contribution to Sydney’s prosperity, they add so much to our cultural life and down the track help to connect our city back to their homes around the globe,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“Sydney is one of the world’s leading education destinations, offering first-class educational institutions and renowned research facilities. Being able to attract and nurture the best candidates from around the globe is an investment in our city’s future.

“When students go home, we hope they will talk about their time here, encouraging their peers to follow in their footsteps.

“Some may even return with families to take up key roles as their careers develop. It all adds to Sydney’s standing as a global city that attracts and retains talent.
“This new research provides valuable information to further support students from around the world and ensure they are given every opportunity to make the most of their time living and studying here.”

The research was conducted for the City by the University of Technology Sydney between March and July this year. All respondents were living or studying in the local area.

The survey asked students details about their studies, their accommodation and employment and the type of support they’d received to help them settle. The survey also addressed health and safety issues, as well as asking how they rated their overall happiness during their time in Sydney.

The survey results showed:

  • 80 per cent of students enjoyed studying in Sydney
  • 88 per cent of students said they would recommend Sydney as a place to study
  • 86 per cent of students enjoyed living in Sydney
  • 66 per cent of students had completed paid work, with 82 per cent saying they were treated fairly at work
  • 55 per cent said they received help finding a place to live when they arrived in Sydney

The students said there were a number of issues that worried them before they arrived in Sydney. Their major concerns before arrival were the cost of living, finding a job and being able to speak English, but these diminished during their stay.

The words that came to mind to describe Sydney as a place to study were: expensive, fun, safe, beautiful and good.

The survey results will be used to further enhance the City’s extensive programs supporting international students in Sydney.

For the past 12 years, the Lord Mayor has hosted the annual International Student Welcome at Sydney Town Hall. The City also sponsors an international student leadership and ambassador program, and works closely with local universities and study institutions to support students from 190 countries.
This year, Sydney was named the world’s most “desirable” study destination in the internationally recognised QS Best Student Cities index.


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