Best city to live in Australia

Are you looking to study in Australia but not sure which city to choose?

Well, you’re in luck because we’re here to help you find the best city to live and study in Australia!

When international students are looking for educational opportunities abroad, Australia is an attractive option. But which part of Australia exactly? Well, if you have a partner, sibling, or relative that you’re planning to move in with temporarily, then it’s all sorted for you. However, if you need to actually choose a city to study in, things are a bit different. But don’t worry if you don’t have anyone to guide you because we’ll let you in on the best city to study in Australia!

So, which is the best city to live and study in Australia?

You see, the answer is not so straightforward, and the best city really depends on what you’re looking for. Most student cities are favoured for their job prospects, student mix, commute, and of course, affordability. Nevertheless, these might not be significant factors in your case. Hence, before deciding upon a city, you need to decide what matters to you- what are you looking for in a city?

There are many cities in Australia other than the cities that we are mentioning in this article such as Wollongong, Newcastle, Adelaide, Hobart, Darwin, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast etc. However, to make things easier for you, in this article, we have only included the 5 most popular cities. So, here are our top 5 student cities in Australia that offer a unique experience:

Ranking based on our observation:

S

M

B

P

C

Popularity (+)

1

2

3

4

5

Larger area (+)

2

3

1

4

5

Affordability (+)

4

3

2

1

5

Job prospects for students (+)

2

1

3

4

5

Job prospects for graduates (+)

1

2

3

4

5

Competition (-)

2

4

5

3

1

Ease of getting PR (+)

5

4

3

2

1

Crime rate (-)

5

4

3

2

1

Friendly people (+)

5

3

2

1

4

The international community (+)

2

1

3

4

5

Traffic congestion (-)

5

3

4

2

1

Weather (=)

1

5

3

2

4

Legend: 1-5: Ranking starting from 1 to 5, 1 being the best/most and 5 being the worst/least, NA: Not applicable, +: Positive point, -: Negative point, =: Neutral point

S: Sydney, M: Melbourne, B: Brisbane, P: Perth, C: Canberra

*Sources of info: State, and city government sites, tourism bodies’ sites, job sites (Seek and Indeed)

1. Melbourne

Melbourne is definitely one of the best cities to study in Australia since it is the cultural capital of Australia. Living in Melbourne means you always have something exciting to do, especially if you’re into sports. What’s more, the city has seven internationally acclaimed universities with some of the best student mix scores. Not to mention, Melbourne is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world! Weather-wise Melbourne is not considered a liveable city due to the fact that there can be 4 seasons in one day.

2. Sydney

Student life in Sydney comprises comfort, beautiful open green spaces, and of course, beautiful beaches! Plus, the city ranks well in terms of the student mix since at least a quarter of its student population is international students. Hence, you can be sure that the universities in Sydney are inclusive and encourage diversity. Additionally, job prospects are also abundant in this part of Australia, so overseas students shouldn’t have problems adjusting and settling in this city. Even though it is the most expensive city in Australia, Sydney gives students the most options for universities and graduate jobs, plus, Sydney’s weather is considered to be comparatively mild throughout the year.

3. Canberra

Being the capital of the country, Canberra definitely has a lot to offer international students. Like most of the other cities in this list, Canberra also boasts an appreciable student mix. Also, the Australian National University, which is one of Australia’s highest-ranked universities, is located in Canberra. Hence, if the academic value is your top priority, Canberra is the best city to study in Australia, for you! Even though in the past, Canberra was considered to be affordable than Sydney, it is now one of the most expensive cities in Australia. The reason for this change is that it is becoming a popular destination for recent international graduates to get permanent residency and raise a family after getting the residency status. The low crime rate, ease of travelling around the city, friendly people and the increasing international community has also played a significant role in Canberra being a popular yet expensive city. The negative side of Canberra is exorbitant rent, fewer university options to choose from, comparatively extreme weather conditions and higher competition for graduate positions.

4. Brisbane

Brisbane is another excellent option for international students wanting to study in Australia. In fact, it hosts three major Australian universities. It is also a huge tourist attraction which makes it a desirable choice for international students. Moreover, the people there are super friendly which makes for a significantly lower crime rate. Thus, international students looking to study in Australia should definitely consider Brisbane.

5. Perth

Perth ranks incredibly well for student mix and desirability because it offers a multitude of recreational, culinary, and cultural attractions for international students. And if you’re a nature lover, you’ll be happy to note that the city also has a beautiful collection of parks and beaches.

Affordability

Affordability is a big issue when it comes to studying abroad, and Australia is no exception. The comfortable Aussie student life comes at a price, with the minimum annual living costs amounting to almost 20,209 AUD or 13,900 USD. Hence, before you opt for a certain city to study in Australia, you should consider living costs and other expenditures.

Fortunately, though, Canberra has one of the best-value course options for international students looking to study in Australia. On average, the international undergraduate tuition fees for most universities in Canberra is approximately 22,400 USD or 31,400 AUD which is significantly lower than the university fees in Sydney and Melbourne, if you consider the university ranking. And since it also hosts some of the most top-ranked universities in the country, it’s definitely a win-win situation! However, in recent years, rent is becoming extremely expensive due to the influx of recent international graduates from other states. On the contrary, Brisbane is quite affordable, with the average annual tuition fees being close to 21,000 USD or 29,500 AUD and rent is significantly lower than other cities mentioned above. As for Melbourne, the tuition fee starts from 17,500 USD or 24,700 AUD per year. However, rent is pretty high in some areas, and so if you don’t have a partner or sibling to support you, this could be a big problem.

Job Prospects

International students often need to support themselves by working as part-time or casual workers alongside their education. This ensures that they can lead a comfortable life, and of course, they also feel a sense of accomplishment by becoming at least partially independent. However, finding jobs is not all that easy, especially in a place where you don’t really know a lot of people. Hence, it helps to go to a city where you are sure you’ll be able to find a decent job to sustain living expenses. Below is the data from ABS on the current employment rate in Australia. The below-shown table is modified to show data from only 5 states.

October 2021, Seasonally adjusted

N

V

Q

W

A

Employed

people

3, 953, 200

3, 313, 700

2, 649, 700

1, 422, 800

221, 000

Employed

people – monthly change (%)

0.6

-1.5

-0.3

-0.3

-2.1

E/P Ratio (%)

59.3

60.9

62.7

65.7

63.9

E/P Ratio – monthly change

0.3 pts

-0.9 pts

-0.3 pts

-0.3 pts

-1.5 pts

Un – employment rate (%)

5.4

5.6

5.1

3.9

6.6

Un – employment rate – monthly change

0.8 pts

0.9 pts

0.3 pts

-0.2 pts

2.5 pts

UE Rate (%)

10.6

11.3

7.9

6.3

8.2

UE Rate – monthly change

0.4 pts

1.3 pts

-0.3 pts

-0.9 pts

-0.3 pts

Participation rate (%)

62.6

64.6

66.2

68.4

68.4

Participation rate – monthly change

0.8 pts

-0.4 pts

-0.1 pts

-0.4 pts

0.2 pts

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Labour Force, Australia October 2021

Legend:

  • N: New South Wales, V: Victoria, Q: Queensland, W: Western Australia, A: Australian Capital Territory
  • E/P Ratio: Employment to Population Ratio, UE Rate: Underemployment Rate

We have also extracted data from popular job sites, which are given as follows:

Indeed

S

M

B

P

C

Total jobs advertised

38, 666

31, 045

12, 574

9, 537

3, 853

Full-time jobs

21, 299

16, 299

5, 931

4, 894

1, 596

Part-time jobs

6, 036

6, 002

2, 187

1, 657

544

Casual jobs

5, 096

4, 854

2, 223

1, 455

346

Seek

S

M

B

P

C

Total jobs advertised

51, 172

50, 966

24, 909

18, 541

5, 794

Full-time jobs

37, 195

35, 033

16, 735

12, 850

3, 624

Part-time jobs

3, 721

5, 154

2, 108

1, 659

338

Casual jobs

4, 354

5, 368

2, 953

2, 142

383

* Note: The above data was extracted on December 08, 2021. It may vary significantly when you are searching for jobs depending upon the time of the year.

And for part-time and casual jobs, city rankings look something like this:

Average

S

M

B

P

C

Total jobs advertised

44, 919

41, 006

18, 742

14, 039

4, 824

Full-time jobs

29, 247

25, 666

11, 333

8, 872

2, 610

Part-time jobs

4, 879

5, 578

2, 148

1, 658

441

Casual jobs

4, 725

5, 111

2, 588

1, 799

365

Part-time and casual jobs combined

9, 604

10, 689

4, 736

3, 457

806

City ranking for students

2

1

3

4

5

City ranking for graduates

1

2

3

4

5

Other Important Factors

When looking for the best city to study in Australia, you also need to consider safety and security. And although Australia is among the safest countries in the world, vandalism, robberies, and theft cases are still there, even if not as abundant as some other areas. Nevertheless, a general rule would be that bigger cities tend to have relatively higher crime rates, and thus, your safety should be your top priority. The below table is a summarised version of data extracted from the ABS website and data is shown for 5 states only.

Here’s a list of offences and serious crimes reported in 2020, as per the Australian Bureau of Stats:

Recorded Crime – Victims, 2020

City and state

Number

Percentage of crime in Australia

NSW (home to Sydney)

99, 245

25.71

Victoria (home to Melbourne)

113, 436

29.38

Queensland (home to Brisbane)

107, 134

27.75

Western Australia (home to Perth)

59, 258

15.35

Australian Capital Territory (home to Canberra)

6, 992

1.81

Total

386, 065

Conclusion

Obviously, there is no perfect city, and so, the best city to study in Australia will depend on who’s asking. So, before you go in search of the best city to study in Australia, make sure your goals are clear and that you have your priorities sorted. Apart from that, be sure to consider factors like job prospects, crime rate, living expenses, and student mix score. We’d say Canberra does well on most fronts, though Melbourne and Brisbane are also pretty close. And, of course, Sydney has always been a popular option for international students. Still another great option is Perth.

Our guide to selecting the best city to study in Australia should be able to answer most of your questions in this regard. So, choose carefully, and good luck!

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