Canberra might not be as familiar to you as Sydney or Melbourne, but it’s an incredible city with plenty to offer. Here are a few reasons why you should consider Australia’s capital as your place of study.

1. It’s the political centre of Australia

Canberra, located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), is the capital city of Australia. It’s also Australia’s largest inland city, home to the Australian government and the site of Australia’s Parliament House. If you love politics and world affairs, there will be plenty of interesting things for you to see and do. Plus, you’ll find world-class educational institutions, galleries, recreational and research centres, and parklands.

2. It’s one of Australia’s most affordable ‘top cities’

According to the student housing service Student.com’s recent Global Student Indicator, Canberra was voted the fifth most popular ‘top city of study’ with international students in 2017. What’s more, of all Australian cities, Canberra was the most affordable for students, with rental prices coming in at only AU$124 per week. That’s a whopping 54% less than the national average, especially compared to Sydney, with rent averaging around AU$285 per week, and Melbourne, which averages around AU$258 per week.

3. It’s Australia’s ‘most educated’ city

Perhaps owing to Canberra’s very large university sector, Canberrans are “twice as likely to hold post-graduate qualifications than Australians outside the capital”. Canberra also houses “the highest proportion of people who have completed year 12 studies, or an equivalent”. This makes Canberra a pretty academic city — in other words, the perfect place to study.

4. Canberra has plenty of on-campus accommodation

In larger cities like Sydney and Melbourne, finding accommodation can sometimes seem like a an overwhelming challenge. But in Canberra, 90% of undergraduate students are likely to find guaranteed accommodation, with much of it directly on-campus! On-campus living will immerse you even more in your university community. It’ll help you connect with not only locals, but also other international students from all over the world.

5. Canberra is well-connected, so there’s not much of a commute!

With so many students living in accommodation close to university, there’s often a pretty short commute involved. For those further out from university, there are numerous bicycle trails and paths throughout Canberra. It’s definitely a cycle-friendly city, with plenty of bicycle hire venues and bike-friendly cafes. And in contrast with bigger cities like Sydney, Canberra has relatively little traffic — which means you’ll be sure to get to class on time!

6. Canberra is a diverse, multicultural city

Canberra is not only connected locally, but it’s also in touch with the greater global community. In fact, more than 25% of Canberra’s residents were born overseas. Plus, due to the large presence of international embassies in the area, Canberra has a distinctly multicultural vibe. In February, Canberra hosts the massive National Multicultural Festival. It’s a colourful three-day celebration “bringing together over 280,000 people for one of the biggest celebrations of cultural diversity in the whole of Australia”.

7. Canberra’s cultural institutions are vast, varied and vivid

Canberra is home to some of Australia’s largest and most impressive cultural, historical and educational institutions. These include the National Gallery of Australia (the Commonwealth of Australia’s national cultural institution for the visual arts), the historical Australian War Memorial, the National Museum of Australia, the National Portrait Gallery, the Canberra Deep Space Research Facility and Questacon – the National Science and Technology Centre – just to name a few!

8. Canberra has a thriving student community

Approximately 25% of Canberra’s population are students, so you’ll likely have a great support network helping you along while you study abroad. There are plenty of extra-curricular activities, societies and clubs to join, and Canberrans are especially known for their friendly, welcoming community spirit. In 2017, Canberra was particularly popular with Chinese, Indian, Korean and Vietnamese international students, but hosts a vast amount of students from all around the world.

9. Canberra is one of Australia’s safest cities

Canberra has not only fostered a strong, supportive and friendly community, but the city also boasts one of the lowest crime rates of any major Australian city. So, you’re likely to feel much safer heading to and from university, going for an evening stroll, or taking a walk or cycle around Canberra’s beautiful parklands, lakes and recreational spaces.

10. It’s the ‘meeting place’ for Australian ideas

They don’t call the city ‘Canberra’ for nothing. The name ‘Canberra’ means “meeting place” (derived from Kambera or Canberry) in the Aboriginal language of Ngunnawal. Thanks to its bustling universities, big student communities, and its multicultural and political gatherings, Canberra draws people together from all over the world.