If you’re considering moving to Australia to study, you’re probably picturing yourself in an iconic capital city like Sydney or Melbourne. You may be unaware that regional Australia is another option, one that many international students choose.
There are a number of higher education providers in regional and rural Australia, allowing you to experience ‘real Australia’ outside of the major capital cities. There are several compelling reasons to consider studying in regional Australia: regional institutions provide a more relaxed lifestyle, a more personalised university experience, stunning natural scenery, and additional migration opportunities.
What is Regional Australia?
In Australia, the definition of a regional area has frequently changed over time. However, as of November 2019, regional areas have been defined as cities and towns located outside of the major capital cities of Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne. Regional Australia, on the other hand, is made up of rapidly growing towns and cities such as the Gold Coast, Hobart, and Geelong. These cities have nearly the same amenities as larger cities, but they are more relaxed and calmer. For example, despite being a regional area, the Gold Coast has one of Australia’s largest hotels.
Most international students who study in Australia choose universities in major cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane because these cities are home to many of the country’s best universities. These cities are more vibrant and technologically advanced than rural areas due to the concentration of businesses, and they provide better facilities and a plethora of part-time and full-time job opportunities for students.
Because international students are not interested or motivated to study in smaller towns and the countryside, the Regional Australian universities end up enrolling only local students from that region.
However, things have gradually changed in recent years, as the government recognises that Australia has positioned itself as one of the best destinations for Bachelor, MBAs, MS, and Ph.D. students, but the majority of students are only studying in metropolitan cities, so in order to bridge the gap and diversify students across Australia, small area and country-side universities must be promoted as well.
Now, the government is enticing international students to study at regional Australian universities. These incentives provide graduates with better financial rewards while also earning them extra points that increase their chances of obtaining permanent residency. As a result, these types of incentives are becoming increasingly popular among international students, and an increasing number of students are enrolled in regional Australian universities.
Benefits Of Studying in Regional Australia
Opportunities for Migration
Studying in regional Australia can provide many migration opportunities that would not be available if you studied in a major city. Priority visa processing times and access to the Regional Occupational List are among the regional area incentives. As a result, regional students have access to more job opportunities than non-regional students.
Students studying in regional areas will be given priority during negotiations for region-specific designated area migration agreements (DAMA). International graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regional campus of a registered institution will be able to stay in Australia for an additional year on a post-study work visa. If you live and study in a regional area, you will receive an extra 5 points on your skilled migration visa application points test if you apply for permanent residency after your studies.
Additional Visa Options
Once your studies are finished, there will be more opportunities for sponsorship and PR. Because it is often easier to obtain sponsorship and apply for public relations from a regional area. While job growth and opportunities in major cities are slowing, regional Australia is booming, with a 13% increase in job opportunities across a wide range of industries. Regional Australia has some of the best jobs for international students, including dentistry, engineering, and healthcare.
Lower Living Expenses
Rent in major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne can be extremely high, making Australia an expensive place to study. Regional areas, on the other hand, offer a lower cost of living, including lower housing and food costs. You will often benefit from cheaper public transportation and less traffic if you live in regional Australia. On-campus housing at the University of New South Wales (major city – Sydney) can cost up to $750 per week. In comparison, lodging at the University of Wollongong (a major regional centre – NSW) can cost less than $500 per week. Students can save over $350 per week just on rent. A lower cost of living can alleviate the financial strain that you are under while studying.
More Part-Time Employment Opportunities
Most students must supplement their studies by working part-time. Competition in major cities can be fierce, whereas applying in a local suburb within a regional area can result in a better chance of obtaining a part-time job. Students who attend regional universities will be able to work in Australia for an additional year or two (depending on the location of the university).
TGV holders who graduated from a regional university and lived in regional Australia on their first Temporary Graduate visa are eligible for a second visa. The only requirement is that they stay in a regional area during the duration of their visa.
Category 2 international students have studied in cities and major regional centres such as Perth, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Canberra, Sunshine Coast, and Hobart. These students are eligible for a one-year extension. International students who studied in regional centres and other regional areas such as Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Ballarat, and Townsville are eligible for an extension of two years on their visas. This is a fantastic opportunity for students to stay in Australia longer and gain valuable work experience.
Additional Specialized Courses
Studying in regional Australia allows you to take courses that are only available in these areas. For example, the Marine courses offered by the University of Tasmania are unique and only available in Tasmania. Many regional universities offer a variety of disciplines, many of which are tailored to the local area. Tropical studies are taught on university campuses in Far North Queensland, and remote areas have far fewer dentists than major cities. Due to a shortage of regional dental workers, dentistry has become a popular course option in regional Australia.
Many regional cities have similar amenities and entertainment to major cities, such as restaurants, cinemas, bars, and shopping malls. There is also the chance to integrate and become a part of a community. Being a part of a community can be a great source of support and job opportunities while studying abroad. You can have the best of both worlds by studying in regional Australia.
If you enjoy being outside, studying in a regional area would be ideal. You can enjoy local hikes and beaches and reconnect with nature.
Although living in famous major cities may be appealing, the high cost of living can make it difficult to study and enjoy life. While living in regional Australia has many advantages, including a lower cost of living, more PR points, and access to the regional occupational list. For more information, please contact a member of our team so that we can go over your options with you.
Simpler Path to Permanent Residency
If you want to stay in Australia permanently after finishing your studies, studying in regional Australia is a great way to get there. This is due to the Australian government’s strong interest in decongesting major cities and encouraging people to relocate to regional areas. The government has devised strategies to attract immigrants to these areas.
One of these plans is to study in regional Australia, which adds five (5) points to the Immigrants Point Test. Then, Post-Study Work (PSW) Visas allow you to stay for up to four (4) years after graduation to work. This can help you get a permanent residency visa.
A More Pleasurable Campus Experience
If you choose to study in regional Australia, you will most likely benefit from a more seamless, stress-free university experience. Universities in regional Australia are well-known for not being overcrowded, as they only accept a limited number of students. The implication is that they have smaller class sizes and less crowded lecture halls, which means you can get more out of your classes. Furthermore, because the classes are smaller, the opportunities for interaction with colleagues increase significantly.
Funding Options for Students
If you are looking for university funding options, you should strongly consider attending a university in regional Australia. Scholarships have been set up by the government and the private sector for students in rural areas. Destination Australia is one of the most popular. It is a government initiative that allows regional institutions to sponsor domestic and international students who want to study in regional Australia. Participants may receive up to AUD15,000 in funding.
Another programme is the Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships (RRES), which awards up to AUD18,000.
Take in the Best of Australia
We can confidently state that the best of Australia can be found outside of its major cities. Many people around the world are familiar with Australia’s natural wonders, which include numerous rainforests, rivers, rocks and mountain ranges, deserts, and beaches. Islands, sandstone walls, dunes, waterfalls, wildlife, and parks are also present. Resorts have been built around these natural areas to increase their appeal and enhance the experience.
Unfortunately, because these natural and man-made wonders are mostly located in rural areas, they are inaccessible to major cities. If you live in regional Australia, you are probably only a few hours away from a natural resort where you can spend the weekend or even an afternoon.
Improved Work-Life Balance
As previously stated, studying, living, and working in regional Australia provides a better balance of work and life. Access to recreational centres such as beaches and parks, for example, is slightly more difficult in the three (3) major cities because they are far away. As a result, the ability to take breaks between work and study is somewhat restricted.
On the other hand, in regional Australia, you don’t need to plan a vacation because everything is right at your fingertips. In essence, you gain the ability to balance life and work while also relaxing whenever you want.
A strong sense of belonging
The sense of community is often what draws people to study in regional Australia. Small cities and towns are close-knit, making it easier to connect with others and find that ‘home away from home’ sense of belonging. Regional residents are known for being warm and friendly, and you’ll notice this from the moment you arrive. Furthermore, as more people relocate to regional towns, these communities are expanding and thriving.
A personalised learning environment
Smaller class sizes are more likely if you enrol in a course at a smaller institution. As a result, you’ll have a better chance of meeting everyone in your class and forming strong bonds with your classmates and teachers. Furthermore, when class sizes are smaller, learning becomes more personalised. Teachers have more time to provide personalised feedback to each student, which often results in improved learning outcomes.
In general, migrating to and studying in Australia is a fantastic opportunity for personal and professional advancement. However, when people consider relocating to Australia, they frequently concentrate on larger cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. Unfortunately, by ignoring regional Australia, they are missing out on a lot. There are even more wonderful advantages to settling down and studying in regional Australia. Regional areas in Australia provide a higher standard of living, better immigration prospects, and a more complete experience of destination Australia.