Sydney is host to the highest number of international students in Australia. Up to 50,000 international students study in this eastern coast city, bringing in over $1.6 billion to the economy within the city’s boundaries alone in 2010 and creating approximately 4,000 local jobs.
While living costs can be taxing on a student’s budget there, the majority of students (88 percent) in a survey commissioned by the City of Sydney say they would recommend Sydney as a desirable place to study in.
Here’s a look at five reasons why international students love Sydney, according to the survey’s results:
1. A multicultural society
Of the 4.6 million residents (June 2012 estimate by the City of Sydney), 40.1 percent were born overseas. The top five countries for residents born overseas were England (3.5 percent), China (3.4 percent), India (2 percent), New Zealand (1.9 percent), and Vietnam (1.6 percent). The Australian Bureau of Statistics expects a recent census to cement Sydney’s spot as one of the world’s most multicultural cities.
2. World-class educational institutions and teaching
Sydney currently has five universities included in the QS World University Rankings®. University of Sydney is ranked 45th in the world, followed by the University of New South Wales at joint 46th. According to QS, the University of Sydney is “one of the world’s leading, comprehensive research and teaching universities – consistently ranked in the top 0.3 percent of universities in the world”. The university plans to build three more academic buildings worth $700 million to further invest in their research and teaching facilities.
3. Work opportunities
Most international students surveyed said they needed to work in order to live and study in Sydney. Some 65 percent of respondents identified paying for food and leisure activities as their main reason for working, whereas 61 percent stated it was to pay for their accommodation. Meanwhile, 40 percent of these students face general work-related employment issues, such as being underpaid (usually in the retail and hospitality sector), discrimination, and long hours. However, 63 percent of the respondents said they were satisfied with their workplaces and 82 percent stated that they were being treated fairly.
4. Natural beauty
When asked whether they would recommend Sydney as a place to study to potential international students, a total of 88 percent responded that they would. One of the students interviewed noted, “I would definitely tell people to come to Sydney. You get good education, although expensive, and you get to see many beautiful places… The people are friendly too”. Another student stated, “The weather really helps, there are lots of new people to meet and there is always something to do”.
5. Diverse festivals and events
International students in the focus groups found events and programs to be important sources of information, especially when first arriving in Sydney. One student said, “…people need to know on day one what their rights are… and begin to familiarise themselves with local support systems”. City centre events also acted as a platform for new students to familiarise themselves with places and spaces at the ‘heart of Sydney’.