Living in Australia


Living in Australia

Living in Australia will be a new experience, but there are support services in your institution as well as from other organisations to help make adjusting to life in Australia easier.

As Australia is the fourth happiest country in the world (Prosperity Index 2012) and we have five of the 30 best cities in the world for students (Top University Rankings 2012), you are sure to enjoy your time here.

No matter what type of study you are doing in Australia, whether you are here for a few months or a few years, some research and planning will help you have a safe and rewarding study experience. Important considerations and planning includes:

Australia cities consistently rank as some of the best cities in the world for students, employment and livability.  All cities offer a combination of excellent educational institutions and extremely high standards of living.

For students coming to study abroad, knowing about the different cities can be useful. It helps to choose a university city and make the most of what the place has to offer.  Australia attracts close to 300,000 international students each year who settle in one of Australia’s cities or regional towns.  When deciding which university or city to study in, you should take into consideration:

  • What you can afford
  • The quality of education institutions, eg universities
  •  Livability. Eg, access to public transport and facilities.



Best Student City ranking: 30

With an enviable lifestyle and globally esteemed universities, it’s little surprise that Perth has one of the world’s most internationally diverse student bodies, as well as a relatively high proportion of students relative to its population.

The capital of Western Australia, Perth is Australia’s fourth largest city. Lying way out on the other west of the continent – more than 2,000 miles from the likes of Sydney and Melbourne – Perth has also been described as one of the world’s most isolated cities.

It’s a good job, then, that it is also one of the world’s most desirable places to live, getting high ratings for quality of living. With all of the cultural, culinary and recreational attractions that you would expect of a state capital with a population of over 1.5 million, Perth also offers an idyllic climate and access to some of the most stunning beaches and parkland you will ever see.

The downside to Perth’s isolation comes in a lower score than other Australian cities for employer activity, perhaps reflecting the sheer distance that separates it from many of the country’s graduate recruiters. However, as a living environment in which to spend three or four years as a student, Perth takes some beating.

Universities in Perth include the University of Western Australia (79), Curtin University (258) and Murdoch University (401-450). Perth is also the main location for one of Australia´s two private Universities, Notre Dame University. 



Best Student Cities ranking: 10

Australia's 'cultural capital' is ranked 5= in the Best Student Cities (joint with Zurich).  Melbourne has consistently ranked as the worlds most liveable city for its quality of life.  For students, this is great news, but it is even better when coupled with the impressive amount of employer activity at the moment..

Melbourne offers an extremely high mix of international students, getting full marks in this category at the QS Best Student Cities ranking.  Due to its impressive art community and being the home of Australian football, there is no doubting Melbourne is Australia's cultural capital.

With good public transport, an impressive list of quality education options, and a great quality of life, Melbourne is definitely a great choice for international students.  As well as the University of Melbourne (ranked 31st in the world) and Monash (also in the top 100), Melbourne has a long list of other highly ranked institutions on offer.

Universities in Melbourne:  University of Melbourne, Monash University, La Trobe University, RMIT University, Swinburne University, University of Victoria, Australian Catholic University.



Best Student Cities ranking: 26

(With three major universities in a city of just over two million, Brisbane has one of the highest student ratios of any city in the QS Best Student Cities, but this doesn’t mean it is just a student bubble.

An up-and-coming city that has seen rapid growth in the past decade as a result of the Australian ‘resources boom’, Brisbane is the third largest city in Australia and the largest economy between Sydney and Singapore.

It is also a popular tourist destination, due in part to its location next to the Gold Coast, which includes some of the world’s most famous beaches.

Brisbane offers an ideal mix for students seeking a compromise between urban and outdoor lifestyles. Stunning beaches, a sunny climate and a sporting culture coexist with a cosmopolitan down-town area with a trendy nightlife and arts scene.

This student-friendly environment is reflected in high scores for student mix and quality of living, though as with the nation’s other cities, the strong Australian dollar and high international tuition fees mean Brisbane has a relatively low score for affordability.

Among universities in Brisbane, the most prominent is the University of Queensland (Brisbane is the capital of the state Queensland), which ranks as 46th in the 2012/2013 QS World University Rankings. The other ranked institutions in the city are the Queensland University of Technology (281) and Griffith University (368).



Best Student Cities ranking: 38

Adelaide joins Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra as the sixth Australian entry in the QS Best Student Cities 2014 – reflecting the nation’s high quality of living, diverse student population, and strong reputation of its universities.

Three universities based in Adelaide appear in the 2013/14 QS World University Rankings®, all within the world’s top 500: the University of Adelaide, University of South Australia and Flinders University.

Australia’s fifth largest city by size, Adelaide is located on the south coast, and is known for its attractive wide boulevards, open spaces, parklands and easily navigable city center. As well as being close to beautiful beaches and islands, the city is also within easy reach of the Adelaide Hills, great for hiking, cycling, wildlife-watching, or sampling some of Australia’s best wines close to the vineyards where they’re produced.

Back in town, there’s also plenty to explore, from watching a cricket match at the Adelaide Oval, to partying at one of the festivals hosted here each year (many during ‘Mad March’) – or simply enjoying the atmosphere at a cafe in one of the central squares.

Universities in Adelaide: University of Adelaide, University of South Australia, Flinders University

Further information

Further information


For further statistical information on the above, you can view the Australian Government's higher education data and housing prices, the Australian Graduate Survey, and university ratings by University Reviews Australia