Australia, globally well-known for its wide, open spaces and clean beaches, is one of the most urbanized countries of the world. In the past few years, its biggest cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth – appear consistently in various rankings of the world’s best cities. So, it might come as a surprise to many that tourism is not among Australia’s biggest exports.
International education is the country’s biggest services export sector and the fourth-largest export industry after iron, coal and natural gas, supporting around 250,000 jobs and generating around $29.2 billion, according to 2019 figures from the International Education Association of Australia.
As the third most popular education destination in the world, more than a quarter of international students in Australia come from China. Because of proximity, more than 260,000 Chinese students came to the country, of which around 160,000 pursuing higher education.
Part of Australia’s popularity also lies in its convenience and safety. In fact, in a survey of international students last year, 95% said they felt safe in Australia.
That reputation is reflected in the most recent QS Best Student Cities rankings, which places Sydney and Melbourne in the Top 10. Four other Australian cities figure within the Top 50 Best Student Cities.
About his country’s response to the ongoing global pandemic, Australian Minister of Education Dan Tehan, said, “Australia’s response to COVID-19 has been one of the best in the world. We have worked hard to suppress the virus and continue with our way of life in a very safe way.”
“Australian universities and other higher education providers responded rapidly to provide safe options for both domestic and international students to continue their studies. These included tailoring the physical learning environment to meet social distancing guidelines to protect both staff and students, assessing whether practical classes and laboratory sessions needed to be amended or rescheduled, and adjusting the academic calendar, like rescheduling graduation ceremonies, exams and assessments,” Tehan added.
That level support what has kept Australia a preferred option for international education among Chinese student. And while the world continues to contain COVID-19, the government has committed to ensure the safety of students and receive new international students.
“Australia warmly welcomes Chinese students into our country and our community. Each student represents a new relationship between Australia and China, which we hope to maintain beyond a student’s stay in our country,” Tehan said.