Melbourne’s focus on attracting international students has continued to see the city climb the global QS Best Student Cities Ranking. Unfortunately, it’s hard to say that similar attention is paid to the experiences of domestic students.
Melbourne has been crowned Australia’s best student city and the fifth in the world according to the QS Best Student Cities Ranking 2023as the number of international students in the city continues to increase. This is despite rampant inflation and rising rental prices across Melbourne, which have an inordinate effect on students who are often restricted to casual employment.
The ranking tends to be weighted towards the experience of international, rather than domestic students, at global universities as the business of attracting international students becomes one of the world’s largest global industries (and an industry Australia’s economy is heavily reliant on).
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The latest rankings see Melbourne climb one position from its global rank in 2022, beating out Sydney in ninth place, Brisbane in 24th and Adelaide in equal 31st. London took out top place, followed by Seoul and Munich in equal second.
Melbourne ranked third in the world for ‘student voice’, which is based on former students recommending the city to their peers as a destination of choice for student experience. It comes after Monash University was recently ranked the leading university in the world for pharmaceutical degrees, a milestone achievement for Australian universities.
The ranking improvement comes as the City of Melbourne directs funding towards a range of initiatives to attract and retain international students, including:
- Welcome activities and free tickets to key attractions and events
- Employment and mentoring programs
- Wellness outreach to address mental health, legal and food security issues
- Conversation clubs and language classes at city libraries
- Support services and programs at ‘The Couch’ International Student Centre
- Collaborations with Study Melbourne, educational institutions and student groups to support wellbeing.
City of Melbourne is also advocating to the federal government for an automatic four-year post-study work visa for international students who complete their studies in Australia. Last month, there were more than 85,000 international students in Melbourne – a 25 per cent increase from December 2021, and the highest level since March.
“We’re doing everything we can to attract international students back to Melbourne by offering unforgettable experiences in our city, and we’re delighted to be recognised as one of the best student cities in the world,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said.
“Prior to the pandemic, international students contributed $13.7 billion a year to Victoria’s economy and supported nearly 80,000 jobs. Our international students are a huge part of what makes Melbourne such a great place, and we want to do everything we can to ensure their time here is overwhelmingly positive.”
Students from India are Melbourne’s biggest international cohort, making up 22 per cent of all international students, followed by China, Nepal and Vietnam.
For more information on support for international students, visit the City of Melbourne’s website.