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Why International Students Are Moving to Regional NSW

This article is sponsored by University of New England

As Australia’s economic powerhouse, regional New South Wales (NSW) is gaining recognition as an attractive study destination for international students.

With its stunning landscapes, warm communities and world-class educational institutions, regional NSW provides a rich, transformative and uniquely Australian educational experience. Join us as we explore why regional NSW is becoming a top choice for international students.

World-class institutions and specialised courses

Regional NSW is home to several globally recognised educational institutions that prioritise student satisfaction and academic excellence. The University of New England (UNE), located in the picturesque city of Armidale, is a prime example. The university has earned five stars from CANSTAR Blue in categories including Quality of Education, Teaching Staff and Learning Resources. The UNE’s courses in agriculture and environmental science stand out, showcasing the region’s commitment to sustainable practices and research.

The regional NSW landscape is dotted with numerous other universities and colleges providing quality education and specialised study options not always available in larger urban universities. These institutions provide unique access to Australia’s leading educators, with faculty actively involved in research and world-leading innovation.

Specialised study options enable students to gain unique skills and knowledge that set them apart in the job market. Courses related to agriculture, environmental management or regional development, such as those offered at UNE, cater to industries that are integral to regional economies. Through these courses, students receive practical, hands-on experience and exposure to the latest trends and advancements in their chosen fields.

UNE Bachelor of Agribusiness student, Adrian Burl, shares his sentiments about his specialised course. “I’m enjoying learning and getting to know the Australian way of farming and the business elements to it. The academic support and resources available from Robb College and UNE are really beneficial.” 

Affordability and lower cost of living

Affordability is a significant factor that’s attracting international students to regional NSW. Here, living costs are considerably lower than in major Australian cities like Sydney, with affordable housing options including rentals and on-campus accommodation at institutions like UNE. Public transport and daily expenses such as groceries and dining out are also more budget-friendly in regional NSW. 

Beyond living costs, regional universities often offer lower tuition fees, and numerous scholarships and bursaries are available specifically for international students studying in regional areas, which can help offset tuition and living costs. This affordability allows students to focus on their studies and personal growth, creating a conducive environment for success. In regional NSW, students can enjoy a high standard of living without the financial strain often associated with urban living.

Strong employment prospects

Regional NSW isn’t just an academic hub; it’s a gateway to substantial employment opportunities in Australia’s thriving sectors. Key industries in the region include agriculture, health care, education, tourism and manufacturing, which are consistently on the lookout for skilled professionals.

Universities here often foster relationships with local businesses and industries, providing internships and placements to help students gain practical experience. For instance, environmental students at UNE can benefit from the university’s partnerships with local enterprises.

The Australian Government’s recent post-study work rights policy changes offer a significant advantage for international students in regional NSW. These changes grant an additional one to two years of post-study work rights to eligible graduates, atop the existing extra years for students residing regionally. This allows graduates to accumulate valuable work experience in Australia, enriching their professional credentials in the process. Plus, from 1 July, students can work up to 48 hours per fortnight, compared to the previous 40, creating more of a balance between study and work while increasing earning potential.

Tight-knit community and a balanced lifestyle

Regional NSW offers a lifestyle that balances academic pursuits with rich and diverse experiences. The welcoming atmosphere found in regional communities fosters a sense of belonging, invaluable to international students far from home. The towns and cities are teeming with local cultural events and festivals, presenting ample opportunities for students to delve into Australian culture and mingle with locals. This is complemented by the vibrant student communities at universities like UNE, where smaller class sizes promote close-knit relationships and personalised attention from faculty.

Moreover, the region offers unique experiences and attractions. Outdoor enthusiasts will find themselves in paradise with beautiful national parks, stunning beaches and wildlife that provide an idyllic backdrop for hiking, cycling and various water sports. The area’s rich history and cultural heritage are showcased in numerous museums, galleries and heritage sites.

Ready to explore more about the enriching student life in regional NSW? Visit UNE’s website now to embark on your dream educational adventure.

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