Upon arrival, many international students are surprised to discover just how large Australia is. So, you may not know that there are many areas in Sydney outside the CBD. One of the biggest and best is Greater Western Sydney!
Read on to learn why Greater Western Sydney could be the ideal place for you to live, work and study.
Where is Western Sydney?
Covering nearly two-thirds of Sydney’s total land area, Greater Western Sydney spans from Windsor in the north to Campbelltown in the south. A couple of the region’s most recognized areas are Parramatta, Penrith, Hawkesbury and the Blue Mountains.
Discover Western Sydney in pictures and enjoy the scenic sites for yourself!
What does Greater Western Sydney have to offer international students?
Greater Western Sydney is a rapidly developing region and is currently home to approximately one in 11 Australians. The population is expected to continue growing by another 20 per cent by 2036, resulting in considerable structural and cultural investment in the region.
With great infrastructure, affordable accommodation, easy travel and a multicultural population, there are many reasons why international students choose to live and work in Greater Western Sydney.
Western Sydney practically redefines the word ‘multicultural’! Thirty-five per cent of the population was born overseas, and over 100 different languages are spoken within the region. Western Sydney also has the highest concentration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of any single region in Australia, making it a wonderful place to learn more about Australia’s First Nations history.
The region’s multicultural population has resulted in a wonderfully diverse society and culture. For international students, this means having access to a variety of places of worship, language schools, grocery stores and multilingual medical providers.
Western Sydney’s dining scene also deserves a special mention. There are endless lists of the best restaurants in Western Sydney (we cover some of them in our guide to Sydney!), with a rich variety of international cuisines and styles on offer. Plus, eating out in Western Sydney is generally more affordable than CBD-based dining.
Greater Western Sydney is the third-largest economy in the country and produces 31 per cent of Sydney’s gross regional product. The three largest industries in the region are healthcare and social assistance, retail trade and construction.
In 2020, the NSW Government delivered on a strategic plan to create 200,000 new jobs in Western Sydney by 2020. The plan’s success is evidenced by the incredible amount of new construction, industrial development and growth in the region. This influx of available jobs may benefit those interested in getting a job in Greater Western Sydney, including anyone looking for university jobs for international students.
For more information on getting a job in Greater Western Sydney, you may also want to check out the most in-demand careers in Sydney.
It’s common to wonder how to find cheap accommodation as an international student in Sydney. That said, there are other factors to consider when deciding where to rent a house in Greater Western Sydney.
Your two main accommodation options are on-campus and off-campus. To make the right choice, you will need to understand the difference between on-campus and off-campus accommodation. To help you do that, we’ve broken these down below.
Let’s start with on-campus accommodation. Studying abroad is often the first time many international students have lived away from home. On-campus accommodation provides a sense of community, purpose-built amenities and on-site support, which is a great way to ease into your newfound independence. Plus, living on-campus means you can roll out of bed and get to your 8am lecture on time!
Western Sydney University accommodation includes cost-inclusive, on-campus options. Rooms are available to rent from $203 per week.
Alternatively, you can opt for off-campus living. Greater Western Sydney rental properties are an option for international students who would prefer to live near, but not on campus. This independent living arrangement is perfect for anyone familiar with or prepared for the responsibility of living away from home. Rental properties are rarely all-inclusive, so you will usually need to set up amenities and pay bills yourself.
The great news is, average rental prices in Greater Western Sydney suburbs are considerably cheaper than in central Sydney. Apartments in Parramatta cost around $350-450 per week. You could also consider living in a share house to reduce your rental costs.
Use our Cost of Living Calculator to understand which accommodation option suits you and your budget best.
Location, location, location
Parramatta is widely considered Sydney’s second CBD. The city offers all the cosmopolitan culture and amenities of a CBD and is only a 30-minute drive or train ride from the centre of the city. The frequent trains that connect the west to central Sydney and the 33km traffic-light-free WestConnex motorway (partially open with construction continuing until 2023) make Western Sydney a great choice for commuters who work and play in the city.
Another reason to live in Greater Western Sydney is its proximity to nature. The western suburbs are surrounded by national parks, rivers, lakes and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains. With fresh air and more space than the denser parts of Sydney, many people opt for Western Sydney when deciding where to live.
Things to do in Western Sydney
Western Sydney’s temperature has been known to reach up to 10℃ higher than Sydney’s CBD.
This warmer weather means most of the popular things to do in Western Sydney are outdoors! The region is abundant in green space, national parks and botanic gardens – perfect for exploring on a sunny weekend!
Indulge in a brunch or luxurious long lunch with friends at one of Greater Western Sydney’s many cool cafés, including XS Espresso at Emu Hall, Lil Miss Collins and Social Hideout. Meet some friendly creatures at Featherdale Sydney Wildlife Park or Sydney Zoo. Get your blood pumping with some soaking wet fun at Raging Waters Sydney water park or the Penrith Whitewater Stadium. Adventure through the Blue Mountains, exploring the Jenolan Caves or enjoying a bushwalk. All this and more awaits you in Western Sydney.
Learn more about the best day trips and things to do in Western Sydney here.
Photo courtesy of Destination NSW.