News

Sydney named top destination in the world for international students



29 April 2014

Sydney is the most popular city in the world for international university students, beating more than 83 cities including London, Paris and New York to the coveted spot, a new global ranking reveals.

Global consultancy firm A.T. Kearney put Sydney ahead of dozens of cities after studying the size of international student populations for its 2014 Global Cities Index.

Figures from the federal government show that Sydney is home to an estimated 50,000 international students studying at the city's universities, with another 50,000 studying vocational and English courses.

More than 300,000 international students are studying across the country, the most recent figures from Universities Australia show, with the top five countries being China, India, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Enrolment data also reveals an increase in the number of students from Pakistan, Colombia and the Philippines and the most recent data published by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship showed that, in the last six months of 2012, there was a 27 per cent growth in higher education student visas granted to offshore applicants.

Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore said the council's figures showed about 35,000 international students studied on campuses in the City of Sydney and more than 10,000 lived in the local government area.

"Our community of international students improves the city's prosperity and liveability," Ms Moore said.

"Being the world's most popular destination for international students helps build Sydney's cultural diversity and strengthen our regional and global connections."

Ms Moore said the international student community contributed more than $1.6 billion to the city's economy and generated demand for 10,000 full-time jobs.

"To be a competitive global city, we need a strong education and research sector," Ms Moore said. "Sydney offers first-class education, professional experiences, cutting-edge research opportunities, a strong economy and a lifestyle that is unmatched.

"It is no wonder so many students choose to live here."

Malaysian student Juanita Jamsari has been living in Sydney since 2011 while studying economics and actuarial studies at Macquarie University.

The 22-year-old picked the university over equally appealing courses in Melbourne and Europe because of its proximity to her home in Kuala Lumpur and the vibrant culture of the city.

"I like the multicultural society we have in Sydney," she said. "And I think people work hard and live hard here, so there are always lots of things happening."

She also praised Sydney's "really good public transport" as well as its "friendly and approachable" people.

The City of Sydney council has several programs to support international students, including a dedicated international student resource guide and an international student leadership and ambassador program designed to provide work experience, skill development, mentoring and leadership training. The program has participants from 18 countries.

Ms Moore said graduates from universities in Sydney include some of Australia and the world's most successful academics, specialists and business figures.

This includes five Nobel laureates, six prime ministers and two governors-general.

Last year, Paris was identified as the most popular city for international students in the QS Best Student Cities ranking, compiled by the higher education specialist that publishes the annual QS World University Rankings.

In that ranking, Sydney was in the No.4 spot, also behind London and Singapore, while Melbourne shared the No.5 spot with Zurich.

Paris beat London to the top spot "due to its world-leading universities and low tuition fees".