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8 Reasons International Students are Moving to Newcastle and Regional NSW

This article is sponsored by University of Newcastle

There is a lot more to discover in Australia than just the major cities! Located just two hours from Sydney you’ll find the busy city of Newcastle and the gorgeous Central Coast, a beach-rich strip of Australia’s east coast.

From a relaxed lifestyle and affordable cost of living to a vibrant wine country on your doorstep, there are hundreds of reasons to move to Newcastle or regional NSW! Here are our top eight.

Beach lifestyle

When daydreaming of their time Down Under, most international students picture themselves walking barefoot on the beach with salty hair and sun-kissed skin, perhaps even catching a few waves. The Central Coast is the perfect place to make that dream a reality, with 41 beaches to choose from along its 87km coast. Terrigal, Newcastle, Avoca, and Copacabana are crowd favourites. If you’d like to try surfing, Newcastle Beach has a reputation for being one of the best surf locations in all of Australia and is an easy walk from the city centre. The real benefit of moving to regional NSW is having all the time in the world to explore every beach and pick your favourite! 

Beautiful scenery

Beaches aren’t the only thing you’ll be spoilt for choice on when moving to the Central Coast! Home to three national parks, dozens of bushwalks, and beautiful lakes and waterfalls, you can experience Australia’s diverse flora and fauna by foot, bicycle, or boat.  

The area has a rich First Nations history through the Traditional Custodians of the lands, the Worimi Nation and the Pambalong clan of the Awabakal nation (Newcastle) and the Darkinjung people (Central Coast). Keep an eye out for Aboriginal rock art and engravings during your bushwalks, or book a tour to be guided around by a local.

A range of places to study (and regional benefits!)

Newcastle’s beaches and scenery aren’t the only impressive things on offer! The University of Newcastle is the only regional university to make Australia’s Top 10 Universities of 2020, and ranks in the top 200 universities worldwide! This university’s multiple locations offer world-class education, from inner-city Newcastle to bushland campuses, to the brand-new Central Coast Clinical School.

The area is also a great option for international students looking to complete VET courses, with dozens of TAFE campuses dotted across the region. If you’re looking for a pathway into university, the University of Newcastle College of International Education can help you transition into higher education with pathways into over 130 undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs at the University of Newcastle.

Plus, Newcastle, and other towns along the Central Coast, are classified as ‘regional areas’, which come with a range of benefits for graduates. The Australian Government allows students that meet study and skills criteria to stay in Australia after they complete their studies and gain valuable work experience. For example, to promote living and working in regional areas, students are eligible to stay for up to three years if they were to graduate from the University of Newcastle’s city campuses, or for up to four years from the Central Coast campus.

Affordable cost of living

Capital cities tend to be overpopulated, which increases rental demand in both private rentals and house-share agreements. This means capital city rent tends to be considerably higher than in regional areas, with Newcastle and the Central Coast being no exception. 

Rental prices aren’t the only inflated expenses when living in a capital city! As of March 2021, Sydney’s rent prices are 43 per cent higher, grocery prices six per cent higher and a monthly travel pass is 33 per cent higher than Newcastle’s prices. Use our cost of living calculator to discover how much money you could save by living in regional NSW.

Job opportunities

Both international students and locals alike often worry about getting a job when moving to regional areas. However, there is no need for concern. Similar to the lower cost of living, due to the fewer number of people living in regional areas, there is less competition in the job market. 

While there are opportunities to find part-time work to earn an income, the close-knit communities found in the regional cities and towns of NSW also mean it’s easy to build a strong professional network. Just ask a local and they’ll probably know someone, who knows someone, who you can talk to about specific industries, job openings or career advice.

Your education provider will have strong ties to the local businesses and organisations, so you will have a chance to engage in valuable work experience. For example, if you’re eager to study healthcare (one of Australia’s fastest-growing industries) students at the Central Coast Clinical School can access placement in large hospitals such as Gosford Hospital, plus experience working in smaller public and private facilities.

The area is also popular for entrepreneurs, with the City of Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes stating:

Newcastle is an economic hub driven by innovation and skills and we want to share this fact with all of Australia.”

So, why not explore the University of Newcastle’s I2N network, which supports entrepreneurial students in building their ideas.

Food, drink, and entertainment

Don’t let the slower pace of life in this region fool you – there is still plenty of culture and entertainment! From Turkish degustations to award-winning fish and chips, to a combined bakehouse, nursery, and Australian cuisine eatery, the Central Coast’s food and beverage scene is as vibrant and exciting as they come.

Sports fans and music lovers unite at the Central Coast Stadium, home to international concerts and national sporting events. Throw on some gumboots and head to Maitland Showground to attend national festivals like Groovin the Moo, sample local seafood at the Brisbane Water Oyster Festival, and grab your weekly fresh produce from the many farmers’ markets held in most towns and cities.  

Holiday spots and things to do

Newcastle and regional NSW are popular destinations for holidaymakers. So, if you find yourself with a free weekend, you’re truly spoilt for choice on places to visit! 

One of Australia’s major wine regions, the Hunter Valley, is a stone’s throw from Newcastle and perfect for a day’s hop-on-hop-off winery tour or a weekend getaway. Grab a tent and head to Patonga campgrounds, located at the mouth of Hawkesbury River, and enjoy a few days off the grid. Get up close and personal with slimy and furry Aussie wildlife at the Australian Reptile Park, walk along the treetops at Barrington Tops, or explore the stunning Glenworth Valley on the back of a horse or a quad bike!

If we’ve got you hooked, read on to find out some of the benefits of studying and working in Newcastle!

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which our campuses are located. The Worimi nation and the Pambalong clan of the Awabakal nation (Newcastle) and the Darkinjung people (Central Coast). We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging. We also acknowledge and pay respect to the other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations from which our students, staff and community are drawn.

International students at The University of Newcastle access a high-quality education that prepares you for your future career. Learn more here.