The number of international students choosing to study in regional areas like Ballarat is rapidly increasing, and there’s a good reason for it!
We spoke to four students currently living and studying in Ballarat for their expert advice on why you should consider the move to this historical city.
Living costs are a huge consideration for students and finding an affordable place to live can be a big priority.
Shalinka Fernando, an international graduate at Federation University in Ballarat, says affordability is one of the main reasons he chose Ballarat and Federation University to undertake his bachelor’s degree in engineering.
“The course fee and accommodation are more affordable compared to other universities,” Shalinka says.
Bachelor of Nursing student at the Australian Catholic University, Kate Truong, also recommends Ballarat for its cost of living.
“Ballarat is a perfect place for affordable housing, utility, and groceries as well,” Kate shares.
Strong community spirit
Jun Wang, an international graduate from China who completed her Masters of Teaching (Secondary) at Federation University, expresses that her favourite thing about living in Ballarat is the people. In the first few weeks of studying at Federation University, her classmates took turns driving her home while she was waiting to buy a car.
“People in the region are so kind and friendly. My classmates would go out of their way to help and support me,” she says.
Kate Truong is originally from Vietnam but now calls Ballarat home and, for her, it’s also the local community that stand out to her.
“People always smile at you and say ‘good day’ to you even when they don’t know you. I love how they are always willing to help you out when you need help,” she shares.
There’s something special about immersing yourself in regional Australian life. Jun believes that Ballarat serves up the perfect balance between busy city vibes and a relaxing, slow-paced lifestyle.
“It’s not too far away from Melbourne, which is only an hour and a half away by car. So, you can get all the excitement that a big city has to offer in a day trip,” she says.
Jun also shared that Ballarat has a lot to offer in a quiet and friendly environment which is very appealing for international students.
Easy to get around
Another reason international students love Ballarat is its accessibility. Ballarat is smaller than cities like Melbourne, so getting around is much more manageable. As explained by Kate, there are almost never traffic jams, and the excellent public transport system makes it easy to get around.
“Public transportation is easy to access, and there are many V/Line trains to different cities and towns within the state or across states as well.”
Social work student at Federation University, Beste Genc, also feels that Ballarat is a great place to live for its accessibility.
“Ballarat is located on the western side of Melbourne, so it’s only a 1.5 hour’s drive to the city and accessible via public transport,” Beste says.
She adds that it’s an ideal choice for students, as Ballarat is also close to other regional towns for day or weekend trips.
It’s widely known that regional areas can offer more job opportunities for new graduates as there are fewer candidates fighting for positions.
“The job market is less competitive. So, with enormous support from Federation University, it can help international students [looking for work] during and after their studies,” Beste shares.
Shalinka is proof that there are plenty of job opportunities in Ballarat.
“Currently, I am working as a Structural Graduate Engineer at CardnoTGM in Ballarat. I got this job through the recommendation of my Civil Course Coordinator at Federation University,” he says.
There’s no denying that Ballarat is a beautiful place to live and study. So much so that Kate says it’s hard for her to pick one or two things as she loves everything about Ballarat.
“Ballarat is lucky enough to have many beautiful places and tourist attractions such as Lake Wendouree, the Ballarat Botanical Gardens or Sovereign Hill,” she says.
So, students can soak up the scenic surroundings in their free time.