The best place to study in Australia will depend on what you are looking for. There are several things you should start thinking about to make your decision.
Which city do you want to live in? Which university do you want to attend? What kind of academic program are you looking for? Are you trying to keep your expenses down? Are you looking for easy escapes for fun and adventure?
To help you get started, here is a run-down on the best student cities in Australia. We also suggest some of the top universities you should be taking a look at in each location, and give you an idea about affordability.
Australia has a number of large cities—the capitals of the various states—which are all located on the coast and excellent student cities. There are also a few smaller cities that you may not have heard of about but are worth considering.
Melbourne is a fantastic city for students and had the honor of being as the most livable city in the world for seven years straight until 2017. It is also ranked in the top 3 student cities in the world. Here you will find the largest student population in Australia—around 270000. About one third are international students.
Melbourne is well known for Australia’s highest ranking university—the University of Melbourne—but has seven other universities as well. Monash University is located on a large dedicated campus in the south, and along with the University of Melbourne is ranked in the top 100 universities in the world.
When you are not studying hard, Melbourne has an almost endless string of festivals on its calendar and many great cultural activities you can indulge in. Check out the Comedy Festival in April, or the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) which comes up in August. You will also find many, many small music, arts and cultural festivals and events on almost any weekend you can name.
Adelaide is often referred to locally as the city of churches, and sometimes as the garden city. It was a settlement originally founded on religious tolerance and was never a penal colony.
Although it is no longer possible to walk everywhere, there is good public transport and the mix of residential areas, parks, and greenery across the city are all very accessible. The cost of accommodation and living in Adelaide is very reasonable.
Here you will find the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia. Both rank in the top 2% of universities in the world. The University of Adelaide has a high proportion of international students.
Adelaide is also well known internationally for the Adelaide Fringe Festival—the second largest arts festival in the world. You can also easily access the nearby is the Adelaide Hills, which is a magnificent wine region to explore.
Brisbane rests further north in the sub-tropical region of Australia. It is close to the coast, but sits a little inland straddling the wide Brisbane River. It is a hilly city, and the warmer weather lends itself to many outdoor activities. But, it also boats a good mix of culture and nightlife, and is listed in the top 20 student cities in the world.
The University of Queensland is the highest ranking university in Brisbane, but you will also find Griffith University and the Queensland University of Technology both offer an excellent standard of education that Australia is known for.
Perth is located on the west coast of Australia, and due to its distance from the other cities has developed its own unique characteristics. The mix of industries and immigrants here is also a little different to other areas.
It is a prosperous city of 2 million residents, which has largely been built on money coming in from mining in Western Australia. It is a great student city, with a warm climate and lots of parks and beaches to enjoy.
The universities in Perth are not as centrally located as in other cities of Australia. Instead you will find campus life is more important here. The University of Western Australia is the oldest, most central and highest ranking of the universities.
Canberra is the capital of Australia, so it comes as a surprise to many that it is actually much smaller than any of the state capital cities. At only 400000 people, it is still the home of the second top ranking university in Australia—the Australian National University. It boasts an incredible research reputation and is in the top 50 universities in the world.
Canberra is a quieter city to live in as a student, but you will find a lively campus atmosphere filled with a diverse mix of students. The city was famously designed by Walter Burley Griffin, a well know American Architect. The layout is based on circles and the city is interspersed with parkland and nature reserves.
The University of Sydney is the third highest ranking Australian university, and is known for its outstanding research along with producing highly employable graduates. The UNSW, the University of Technology Sydney and Macquarie University are all other excellent choice in this amazing city.
Like many large international cities, Sydney falters for international students in terms of cost of living. It is definitely the most expensive city in Australia. This is mainly due to the cost of housing and accommodation, but you will find eating out and other activities are also more expensive here. It is however, a spectacular and very desirable city to live in.
Two other cities worth mentioning are Newcastle and Wollongong, which are located a couple of hours north and south of Sydney respectively. These both offer good ranking universities, but with lower living expenses than Sydney.
Each of these is a number of high ranking universities to select from.