The ‘liveability’ of destinations in Australia is still the top consideration for international students, according to new research of the expectations and experiences of more than 2,800 students from thirty countries around the world.
The IDP Education Buyer Behaviour study found that for those who preferred or chose Australia as their study destination, the top three considerations when choosing a city were the proximity of their chosen institution, safety and multiculturalism.
However, there were some differences across Australia, with multiculturalism a key driver for students choosing Victoria and New South Wales, and safety for those considering or already studying in the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia.
This year’s study also saw an improvement in the perceived affordability of studying and safety of Australia, with Australia ahead of the United States and the United Kingdom in the minds of students.
Last year’s IDP Education Buyer Behaviour study found that while Australia ranked highly in the quality of its educational institutions, there were concerns of ‘cost shock’ in study fees and cost of living once students arrived, and a perceived lack of graduate employment opportunities.
Word-of-mouth, particularly with family and friendship groups, also continues to play a significant role in the choice of study destination.
Nearly two-thirds of students – whose preferred or current study destination is Australia – had family or friends already living in the country, and nine in ten in this group sought their opinion before arriving to study. One-third of these students said that their family and friends highly influenced their choice of Australia as a study destination.
Head of Research for IDP Education, Lyndell Jacka, said: “Australia is starting to see the collective effort of government, industry and community in changing the perceived value of studying abroad.”
“At the same time, we’ve seen that assumptions about different regions in Australia have remained largely unchanged in the last few years, highlighting the challenge of shifting perceptions among international students.
“Positively, Australia’s multiculturalism should be seen as a continuing strength for the diverse and inclusive image it fosters, and for the strong family and friendship networks many students do in fact already have in the country.”
“A collaborative effort will continue to help prepare students for life and employment in an increasingly connected and multicultural world, so that they are more likely to talk favourably about their experience in Australia.”
Since 2012, the annual IDP Education Buyer Behaviour study has explored drivers of student mobility and changes in perceptions and expectations of popular study destinations including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and USA.
This year’s research findings were released at the Australian International Education Conference (AIEC), the premier forum in Australia’s international education calendar. This year’s conference will explore the concept connectivity – across technology, people and partnerships – and its opportunities and disruption for international education.
The conference is jointly presented by IDP Education and the International Education Association of Australia and attracts more than 1400 world-leading experts from all education sectors, including practitioners, teachers, researchers, policy makers and stakeholders.
An infographic of the study's findings is available to view here.
For more information and a full program and speaker schedule, visit the AIEC 2016 website at http://aiec.idp.com.