Sydney is numero uno for international students

30 April 2014

Sydney is the most popular city in the world for international university students, beating more than 80 cities including New York, Paris and London to the top spot, according to the 2014 Global Cities Index.

Global consultancy group A.T. Kearney, which compiled the index, ranked Sydney on top after studying international student populations.

The University of Sydney has more than 10,000 international students from 140 countries enrolled across all its faculties.

Julie Larsen, a student from the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark, said she chose to study at the University of Sydney because of its international reputation and academic excellence.

"I loved everything about it - the campus, my courses, the teachers, the students, the social events on campus and the international staff," Ms Larsen said. "Sydney itself is amazing too - the city is surrounded by beautiful beaches and the people are very friendly and open-minded."

"I returned from my exchange as a better student with a lot more academic knowledge and skills, as well as a new vision for myself and what I want to study. I didn't want to leave!"

NSW 2013 International Student of the Year Leticia Luiz, from Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil, said she wanted to learn English and study abroad at an internationally recognised Australian university.

"The University of Sydney was the obvious choice. There are students from all over the world and so many extra-curricular activities to get involved in."

Ms Luiz discovered a passion for public speaking, was part of the university's student-run racing team, helped build a car that raced at a national university competition, and lived in a Chinese homestay.

"The University provided me with plenty of opportunities to get involved in the community… and Sydney is a beautiful, multicultural city with good public transportation, and amazing parks and beaches."

University of Sydney Deputy Director International Student Recruitment, Gary Sanderfield said international students enhanced the educational opportunities for all students.

"International students bring a diversity of thought and learning styles and skills to the university community," Mr Sanderfield said.

"They also bring an increased interest in global issues, cultural understanding, tolerance and international diplomacy."

Mr Sanderfield also said international students could take the opportunity to participate in further student exchange programs with highly ranked partner institutions in 40 different countries. The University currently sends around 2,000 students each year on short-term or semester-based mobility programs.

"This offers an even greater opportunity for all students to mobilise their education and have experiential learning in yet another country, thereby offering a truly global education opportunity," he said.

Sydney is home to an estimated 50,000 international university students while another 50,000 international students study vocational and English courses, according to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. More than 300,000 international students are studying in Australia.

Enrolment data ranks China, India, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam as providing the most students to Australia.

In 2012-13, the number of higher education visas granted to offshore applicants increased by 14 percent, according to the Department's Student Visa Program Trends 2006-07 to 2012-13 report.