What makes Sydney such a great city for students?

With its multicultural society and perfect weather, Sydney is an obvious choice

Bondi Beach, Sydney
With Bondi Beach on your doorstep, it is no wonder Sydney is rated a top city for students. Photograph: Alamy

I feel very lucky to have experienced student life around the world, but Sydney has always been the place for me.

When I applied to university, all the institutions I opted for were based in Sydney because I enjoy the wealth of opportunities and the lively culture the city offers students.

This year the QS best student cities rankings rated Sydney the fourth best city in the world for students, and from where I sit it’s easy to see why.

The rankings are organised by four main categories: student mix, quality of life, employer activity and affordability. How does Sydney fare in each of these?

Social inclusion, diversity and tolerance

Australian universities have always held good ties with universities in Asia. Sydney, as one of the biggest student cities in Australia, has a large number of students from India and elsewhere in Asia, making for a multicultural student mix.

Western Sydney University (WSU) has campuses all around Sydney’s vibrant and diverse western suburbs. Caitlyn Charles, 22, who studies journalism at WSU, says this multiculturalism has positively affected her outlook on life. “At WSU we have diversity week, which champions the kind of university it is – a diverse and accepting university that gives students the opportunity to expand their knowledge of other cultures,” she says.

Sydney universities also offer a choice to students wanting to explore the city and its culture. Most of the five major universities – the University of Sydney, the University of Technology Sydney, the University of New South Wales, Macquarie University and Western Sydney University – have many different campuses around the city.

Jacalyn Phillips, 21, who is also at WSU and is studying for a master’s in primary education, has taken advantage of the 10 campus options available to WSU students. “Each campus has its own personality and culture,” she says.

Quality of life

Many students flock to Sydney because of its laid-back culture and relaxed vibe. Imogen Leaning, 19, grew up in Australia but moved to the UK seven years ago. She has returned on a student exchange from the University of Nottingham to study in Sydney. “I agree with the cliche that Australian universities are more laid-back. Lecturers genuinely seem to be chilled, and at my uni shoes seem to be optional,” she says.

She adds that university in Australia is a lot more flexible for students wanting to study a wide range of subjects. “In the UK, people tend to start and finish uni on the same course, whereas in Australia people seem freer to change what they study,” she says.

Job opportunities

In recent years the New South Wales state government has invested millions of dollars in innovation, construction and technology. In addition, the government is investing millions of dollars into scholarships for university students.

According to City of Sydney data, 50,000 new jobs were created in Sydney between 2010 and 2014, with the state government is promising 150,000 new jobs over the next four years.

The number of jobs in technology has increased dramatically, with 9,000 new jobs in tech created in Sydney over the seven-year period leading up to 2014.

Samuel Roberts, 22, who studies communication at the University of Sydney, says the city is full of promise for students. “The city is what you make of it. Sydney has so much to offer, and if you’re willing to throw yourself into it, you’ll always be able to find some great opportunities,” he says.


Sydney is fairly expensive for students compared with other university cities, largely because of high fees and living costs.

The University of New South Wales says the average university student pays $375 AUD (about £182) a week for on-campus accommodation in Sydney. An average arts degree for an Australian student costs nearly $19,000 AUD, with different rates for international students.

The high living and study costs require many students to take on part-time and casual work. Danielle Smith, 22, studying education at the University of Sydney, is approaching her final year and has to work to support herself.

“I can’t afford to study and live in Sydney without earning a part-time income. As well as paying for living expenses, I need to have money for my unpaid full-time internships, which are a part of my studies,” she says.

Unlike in other student-centric cities, it can be hard for students in Sydney to live near their universities. According to David Nolan, 21, who studies arts at Macquarie University, unless you share housing with other students it is often unaffordable.

“My options were either getting campus accommodation, which is really expensive, or moving closer to uni and working nearby. Neither was realistic without getting a group together,” he says.

Even so, students looking for a bustling, multicultural city with a chilled vibe should look no further than Sydney, Australia.

[Source:- Gurdian]