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What is it Like Studying in Regional Australia?

Bundaberg Post Office

This article is sponsored by CQUniversity

Are you considering furthering your education in regional Australia? You won’t be disappointed if you do. When it comes to studying in regional Australia and its benefits for international students, there are several that make it an increasingly attractive option. From a more relaxed lifestyle to improved employment prospects to financial support from your education provider – the list goes on!

Read on to learn about the exciting opportunities for international students when studying in regional Australia.

Where is regional Australia?

The Australian Government defines all locations outside the major cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane as regional areas.

However, this does not mean that regional Australia is comprised of only small towns. Bustling, cosmopolitan cities and areas such as Perth, Adelaide, Gold and Sunshine Coasts, Cairns, Townsville, Canberra, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Wollongong and Hobart are classified as “Cities and Major Regional Centres” and therefore qualify as regional areas. That said, even when you study in a small city or town, you won’t run out of things to do! These spots still offer the same hospitality, nightlife and amenities as major cities, as well as many additional benefits to living and studying in a regional area.

What to expect when studying in regional Australia?

International students studying at regional universities benefit from smaller class sizes and a greater sense of community with their fellow students. You will also experience lower levels of competition when finding student accommodation and rental properties as there are less students applying for the same vacancies.

Many students and locals decide to live in regional areas to escape the “hustle and bustle” of city life. It is generally accepted that life in regional Australia is safer and more relaxed than in major cities, with locals tending to be more friendly and talkative. If you would like to experience a slightly slower pace, cleaner air and a lower cost of living, regional Australia might be the place for you!

Even with all this information, you may still be wondering: what exactly is there to do in regional Australia? The answer will depend on where in regional Australia you choose to study! Many international students feel their time spent regionally has shown them ‘the real Australia’, from the outback to the ocean and everything in between. In other words, those bucket-list items you created when you first selected Australia as your study destination are likely located in regional areas. So, studying in regional Australia will give you a well-rounded Aussie experience with lots of incredible travel opportunities.

Finding work in regional areas

When considering the pros and cons of studying in regional Australia, many international students are concerned about employment opportunities. However, there is no cause for concern. While major cities may have more jobs available, there is far less competition in regional Australia for the jobs on offer. This means you may have a better chance of securing employment when living in regional areas. According to one report, the number of vacant jobs in regional Australia increased by 16 per cent in a 12-month period from January 2017. This increase is nearly double the rise seen in major cities within the same timeframe. Clearly, the data signals that employment opportunities in regional Australia are growing much more rapidly than in major cities.

Regional Australia is also home to many location-specific part-time employment options. These include fruit-picking or farm work, which are not viable options when living in a major city.

What are the benefits of studying in regional Australia for international students?  

Still need a little more convincing? Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits of studying in regional Australia for international students:

  • The cost of living is highest in major cities. Therefore, by living and studying in a regional area, you will spend less money on rent, public transport, groceries, and recreational activities.
  • There are a huge range of scholarships available to international students across regional Australia to help with tuition fees. For example, the CQUniversity International Student Scholarship – Regional offers a value of 25 per cent of new students’ tuition fees. Check with education providers directly to see what scholarships they offer for international students.
  • Access to location-specific course offerings, such as marine biology studies in Far North Queensland or wine and beverage courses in South Australia. You’ll also reap the benefits of unique experiences outside the classroom and gain opportunities to network within these industries before you have graduated.
  • The Australian Government offers additional opportunities for migration for eligible international students who have studied regionally, such as the provision of skilled visas which provide a pathway to permanent residency and additional points on the Skilled Migration Points Test.

Where should I study in regional Australia?

At the end of the day, only you can decide where to study in regional Australia. Ultimately, your choice will depend on the kind of lifestyle you are seeking while studying at a regional university. Sun-seekers might choose to study on the east coast in areas including Cairns, Townsville, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast or Newcastle. International students looking for a more rural experience might like to study in country towns like Bundaberg, Mackay or Rockhampton. Don’t forget that capital cities like Perth, Canberra, Hobart and Adelaide are also considered regional destinations. If you are keen for a unique Aussie experience but require the familiar cosmopolitan offerings of a city, those areas may be a great option for you.

A great place to start when choosing your study location is to consider the courses you are interested in pursuing in regional Australia and selecting a location based on where that is offered.

CQUniversity’s International Student Scholarship – Regional is offered to 100 per cent of all regional students studying an undergraduate, postgraduate or research course, including those who study at the Perth and Adelaide campuses.

Learn more about their course offerings and scholarships for international students studying in regional Australia here.