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9 October 2023

8 minutes read

The Best City to Study Abroad in Australia: A Guide for International Students

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Studying abroad is an exhilarating journey, and when it comes to pursuing higher education in Australia, you’re in for a world of opportunities. Australia is renowned for its top-notch universities, diverse landscapes, and multicultural cities.

However, selecting the right city to study in can significantly impact your overall experience. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the best city in Australia for international students, exploring the unique features and offerings of each. Whether you’re drawn to the vibrant culture of Melbourne or the stunning beaches of Sydney, we’ve got you covered.

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Best Cities to Study in Australia

Melbourne: The Cultural Hub

Melbourne consistently tops the charts as one of the best student cities in Australia. It’s known for its diverse and welcoming community, making it an ideal choice for international students.

A Multicultural Melting Pot

Melbourne is often referred to as Australia’s cultural capital, boasting a rich tapestry of cultures from around the world. As an international student, you’ll find a piece of home in this multicultural hub. From international cuisine to cultural festivals, Melbourne has it all.

World-Class Universities

Melbourne is home to prestigious institutions such as the University of Melbourne and Monash University. These universities are globally recognized for their academic excellence and research contributions.

Thriving Arts and Entertainment

Art enthusiasts will be delighted by Melbourne’s thriving arts scene. The city is dotted with galleries, theaters, and live music venues, offering endless opportunities to explore the arts.

Sydney: The Iconic Metropolis

Sydney needs no introduction. It’s Australia’s most famous city, known for its iconic landmarks, stunning beaches, and vibrant urban life.

World-Famous Landmarks

Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach – these iconic landmarks are part of daily life in Sydney. As a student, you’ll have the chance to explore them all.

Beachside Bliss

Sydney’s coastal lifestyle is a major draw. You can spend your weekends soaking up the sun on Bondi Beach or taking a stroll along the beautiful coastal walkways.

Brisbane: The Sunshine State

Brisbane, located in Queensland, is known for its sunny weather, friendly locals, and gowing academic scene.

Subtropical Climate

Brisbane enjoys a subtropical climate, making it an excellent choice if you prefer warm, sunny days. Outdoor activities abound, from picnics in the park to kayaking in the river.

Emerging Education Hub

Brisbane is becoming increasingly popular among international students due to its quality education institutions. The University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology are well-regarded choices.

Outdoor Adventures

If you’re an adventure seeker, Brisbane is a gateway to exploring Queensland’s natural wonders, including the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest.

Adelaide: The Affordable Gem

Adelaide, often overlooked by international students, offers a high-quality education and a relaxed lifestyle.

Affordable Living

Adelaide is known for its affordability. Accommodation, transportation, and everyday expenses are generally lower than in other major Australian cities.

Renowned Universities

The University of Adelaide and Flinders University are esteemed institutions that offer a wide range of programs for international students.

Wine and Dine

South Australia, with Adelaide as its capital, is famous for its wine regions. You can explore world-class wineries and savor some of Australia’s finest wines.

Quality of Life

Adelaide consistently ranks high in terms of quality of life. It’s a safe and friendly city where you can enjoy a balanced lifestyle.

Perth: The Western Frontier

Perth, located on the west coast, offers a unique blend of natural beauty and modernity.

Beautiful Beaches

Perth is known for its pristine beaches, including Cottesloe Beach and Scarborough Beach. It’s a paradise for surfers and beach lovers.

Leading Universities

The University of Western Australia and Curtin University are top choices for international students, known for their research and academic excellence.

Outdoor Exploration

Western Australia’s vast landscapes offer opportunities for outdoor adventures, from hiking in the outback to exploring ancient rock formations.

Canberra: The Capital Experience

Canberra, the capital city of Australia, offers a unique blend of education and government institutions.

Political and Cultural Hub

As the seat of the Australian government, Canberra offers a deep dive into the country’s political and cultural heritage. You can visit Parliament House and explore national museums.

Leading Universities

Australian National University (ANU) is located in Canberra, consistently ranked among the world’s top universities. It offers a wide range of programs for international students.

Green Spaces

Canberra is known for its lush green parks and outdoor spaces. It’s an excellent city for those who enjoy a tranquil environment.

Hobart: The Island Gem

Hobart, located in Tasmania, offers a serene environment and a close connection to nature.

Natural Beauty

Tasmania is known for its breathtaking landscapes, including the stunning Cradle Mountain and pristine beaches. If you love the outdoors, Hobart is an excellent choice.

University of Tasmania

The University of Tasmania, with its main campus in Hobart, provides quality education and research opportunities for international students.

Unique Wildlife

Tasmania is home to unique wildlife, including the famous Tasmanian Devil. You can explore wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.

Darwin: The Tropical Paradise

Darwin, in the Northern Territory, offers a tropical climate and a laid-back lifestyle.

Tropical Climate

Darwin enjoys a tropical climate with warm temperatures year-round. You can explore national parks and enjoy outdoor activities.

Charles Darwin University

Charles Darwin University, located in the city, offers programs tailored to international students, particularly in fields like tropical medicine and indigenous studies.

Indigenous Culture

Darwin provides a unique opportunity to learn about Australia’s indigenous cultures and history.

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Cost of Living

When considering the best city to study abroad in Australia, one crucial factor that should not be overlooked is the cost of living. Australia, known for its high quality of life, can also be relatively expensive for international students.

However, the cost of living can vary significantly from one city to another. Let’s take a closer look at the key aspects of the cost of living in Australia.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees are a significant part of the cost of living for international students. Australia offers a range of tuition fees depending on the university, the level of study (undergraduate or postgraduate), and the field of study.

On average, tuition fees for international students can range from AUD 20,000 to AUD 40,000 per year. However, this can vary widely, with some specialized courses and prestigious universities having higher fees.


Accommodation is a major expense for international students, and the cost can vary greatly depending on the city and type of housing. Here’s a breakdown of the accommodation options:

On-Campus Housing

Many universities in Australia offer on-campus accommodation, such as dormitories or residential colleges. While convenient, on-campus housing can be on the pricier side, with costs ranging from AUD 150 to AUD 400 per week.

Off-Campus Housing

Renting off-campus is a common choice for international students. Costs can vary widely depending on the city and whether you choose to share an apartment or rent a single room. On average, you can expect to pay between AUD 200 to AUD 600 per week for off-campus housing.


Some students opt for homestays, where they live with an Australian host family. This can provide a unique cultural experience and may cost between AUD 200 to AUD 350 per week, including meals.


Public transportation is efficient and well-developed in most Australian cities, making it a cost-effective way to get around. Monthly transport passes or concession cards for students are available, costing around AUD 30 to AUD 70 per week, depending on the city.

Food and Groceries

The cost of food in Australia can vary depending on your dining choices. Eating out at restaurants can be relatively expensive, with an average meal costing between AUD 15 to AUD 25.

However, cooking your meals at home and shopping for groceries can be more budget-friendly, with monthly grocery expenses ranging from AUD 200 to AUD 400, depending on your dietary preferences.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is mandatory for international students studying in Australia. The cost of Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) varies depending on the duration of your stay, but it generally ranges from AUD 500 to AUD 800 per year.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Other miscellaneous expenses may include textbooks, stationery, mobile phone plans, and entertainment. These costs can vary widely based on your personal preferences and lifestyle.


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Scholarships and Part-Time Work

Studying abroad in Australia is undoubtedly an exciting opportunity, but it’s essential to plan your finances carefully to ensure a smooth and financially sustainable experience.

Two key aspects of managing your expenses as an international student in Australia are scholarships and part-time work opportunities. Let’s delve into these options in detail.

Scholarships in Australia

Australia offers a wide range of scholarships for international students, each with its own eligibility criteria and benefits. These scholarships can help you offset the costs of tuition, living expenses, and even research projects. Here are some popular scholarship options:

1. Australian Government Scholarships: These are prestigious scholarships awarded to high-achieving international students. The Australia Awards Scholarships, Endeavour Scholarships, and Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarships are some examples. They cover tuition fees, living allowances, and even travel expenses.

2. University Scholarships: Most Australian universities offer scholarships to international students based on academic merit, leadership qualities, or specific courses of study. These scholarships can significantly reduce your tuition fees and may include additional benefits like accommodation or stipends.

3. Research Scholarships: If you’re pursuing a research-based degree (e.g., Ph.D.), you can explore scholarships specifically designed for research students. These scholarships often cover tuition fees and provide a living allowance to support your research work.

4. Country-Specific Scholarships: Some Australian universities and government agencies offer scholarships tailored to students from specific countries. These scholarships aim to promote diversity and strengthen international ties.

5. Industry and Professional Scholarships: Certain industries and professions in Australia offer scholarships to international students pursuing careers in fields like engineering, medicine, and business.

It’s crucial to research and apply for scholarships well in advance of your intended study period. Carefully review the eligibility criteria, application deadlines, and required documents for each scholarship.

Additionally, consider reaching out to the international student office at your chosen university for guidance and support in the scholarship application process.

Part-Time Work Opportunities

Working part-time while studying in Australia is a common practice among international students. Australia has regulations in place that allow international students to work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during scheduled breaks. Here’s how part-time work can benefit you:

1. Financial Support: Part-time work can help you cover day-to-day expenses, such as rent, groceries, and transportation. It can also provide some extra spending money for leisure activities.

2. Professional Experience: Depending on your field of study, part-time work can offer valuable professional experience and networking opportunities. This experience can enhance your resume and future career prospects.

3. Improved Language Skills: Working in an English-speaking environment can improve your English language skills, which is valuable for both your studies and future career.

4. Cultural Integration: Working part-time allows you to interact with locals and immerse yourself in Australian culture, enriching your overall study abroad experience.

When searching for part-time work, consider positions related to your field of study, as they can provide relevant experience. Popular part-time job options for international students include retail, hospitality, tutoring, and research assistant roles.

It’s essential to balance your work commitments with your academic responsibilities. Ensure that you’re managing your time effectively to excel in your studies while enjoying the benefits of part-time work.

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In conclusion, Australia offers a plethora of options for international students seeking to pursue their higher education dreams. Each city has its unique charm, from Melbourne’s vibrant cultural scene to Sydney’s iconic landmarks, and from Brisbane’s sunny climate to Adelaide’s affordability.

Perth’s natural beauty, Canberra’s political importance, Hobart’s connection to nature, and Darwin’s tropical paradise all have something special to offer.

Ultimately, the best city for you depends on your preferences, field of study, and budget. Regardless of your choice, studying in Australia is a life-changing experience that opens doors to a world of opportunities. So, pack your bags and embark on your academic journey in the Land Down Under!


What factors should I consider when choosing a city to study in Australia?

When selecting a city, consider factors such as the quality of universities, cost of living, lifestyle, and your field of study.

Which city is considered the best for international students in Australia?

Melbourne consistently ranks as one of the best student cities in Australia, offering excellent universities and a rich cultural experience.

Can you recommend some top universities in Australia for international students?

Sure, some top universities include the University of Melbourne, Australian National University (ANU), University of Sydney, and University of Queensland.

What are the cost-of-living considerations for international students in Australia?

The cost of living varies by city. Generally, Sydney and Melbourne are more expensive, while cities like Adelaide and Perth offer a lower cost of living.

Is Australia a safe country for international students?

Yes, Australia is known for its safety and welcoming environment for international students. Universities have support services in place to assist students.

Are there scholarships available for international students in Australia?

Yes, Australia is known for its safety and welcoming environment for international students. Universities have support services in place to assist students.

How can I apply for a student visa in Australia?

To apply for a student visa, you’ll need an offer of enrollment from an Australian university, health insurance, and proof of funds to cover your expenses. Consult the Australian Department of Home Affairs website for detailed instructions.

What are some unique cultural experiences I can have in Australia as an international student?

Australia offers a wide range of experiences, from exploring the Great Barrier Reef to immersing yourself in Aboriginal culture. You can also enjoy Australian wildlife and stunning natural landscapes.

Can I work part-time while studying in Australia as an international student?

Yes, international students in Australia can work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during scheduled breaks.

How can I find accommodation in the chosen city in Australia?

Universities often provide accommodation options for international students. You can also explore private rentals or homestays based on your preferences and budget.

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