Australia the best place for students
Posted on December 13, 2014
Melbourne has been ranked the second best city in the world for students, while Sydney is not far behind in fourth, showing how highly regarded Australian universities are in the eyes of international students.
Another four Australian cities made it into QS Top University’s Top 50 Best Student Cities for 2015.
Canberra came in at 21, Brisbane at 23, Adelaide at 29 and Perth at 38, indicating Australia ranks as one of the best countries to study in all round.
But for many Greeks here on student visas, the news comes as no surprise.
Thousands of Greek nationals have flocked to Australia on student visas since 2008, seeking an out from the crisis and a better future.
In 2012-13 student visas granted for Greek nationals have increased from 332 to 854, more than doubling in just a year according to the Australian Immigration Department.
There has been a sharp rise in Greeks seeking vocational education training sector visas, jumping from just six granted in 2008-09 to 108 granted in 2013-14.
Those on the same visa that are still in Australia and are seeking extensions, with 441 visas being granted in 2013-14, are up from just seven in 2008-09.
Nineteen-year-old Greek national Vaggelis Tsirapidis came to Australia last year on a student visa to undertake a bachelor of commerce at Deakin University, and says a number of factors pushed him to decide to study in Melbourne.
An avid long distance swimmer, the opportunity to do what he loves and study at world-renowned universities were huge deciding factors.
“If you check online of the world rankings of universities, you can see that Melbourne and in general Australian universities are really highly ranked,” he tells Neos Kosmos.
“Other countries recognise the degree that you take, so if I want to work in Greece, I can work with this degree.”
Vaggelis was able to rely on relatives in Melbourne to help him get settled and keep costs down.
International students can only work a maximum of 20 hours per week, something Vaggelis admits is not enough to meet the high cost of living and university fees.
He pays upwards of $24,000 each year to study and works a part-time job to keep up on his repayments.
In the same QS Top Universities ranking, Melbourne and Sydney failed to impress in the affordability category. Melbourne and Sydney dropped to 42 and 46 out of 50, a harsh reality check for Greek students coming from a poverty-stricken Greece.
“I don’t think a person that doesn’t have family here would choose to come to Australia from Greece because we have really popular destinations for universities in the EU, like Germany and other big European cities, plus we have no fees, because we are European Union members,” Vaggelis says.
Greece is seeing unprecedented numbers of young citizens leaving the country in search of better prospects.
With unemployment rates for the young sitting at almost 50 per cent and the difficulties faced when trying to get a place at Greek universities, may find that there is no other option than moving overseas.
“It’s a common solution for our generation because of the situation back in Greece; it’s really hard to get into university,” Vaggelis says.
International students in Australia still remain a massive cash cow to the country, showing that they have spent $15.74 billion to the Australian economy in the past year, the highest figure since the industry peaked in 2010.
Applications for higher education visas have also jumped 19.7 per cent since last financial year, with the highest number of applications coming from China.
Together with Indian students, they represent 32 per cent of all student visa applications.