Why wanderlusting students should make Perth their next study abroad destination
Australia's sunniest city. Source: Shutterstock

As an overseas study destination, Perth has languished far too long in Sydney and Melbourne’s shadow. But 2019 might just be its year.

Australia’s hold as a higher education powerhouse has never been stronger, with analysis showing it has surpassed the UK in terms of the number of international students enrolling in its universities. It is now the second-most popular global destination for international students, who contribute a whopping US$30 billion to its economy.

In this education powerhouse, Perth houses some pretty elite universities campuses. The University of Western Australia, is ranked fourth in the QS Best Universities in Australia 2019 list, and seventh in Times Higher Education‘s Top Universities in Australia 2019 ranking. Several universities here also offer premier programmes in environmental studies, such as ecology and marine biology.

But it isn’t just quality, research-heavy institutions that make Perth an attractive study abroad destination – it’s the quality of life.

For a long time, Perth has been wrongly deemed too quiet and too boring. But recent years have seen Australia’s sunniest city bounce back. It’s now #43 in the New York Times‘ Best Places To Visit in 2019, while it’s also becoming increasingly more affordable, according to News.com.auTravelers speak of a city with healthy and active residents jogging or enjoying the surrounding beaches, with no sacrifice to a vibrant nightlife.

Powering this comeback is a decade-long development boom turning this quiet surfer’s paradise into a big draw for travelers. Studying here means being a stone’s throw away from new attractions like Yagan Square’s bustling food and art scenes; Optus Stadium, a 60,000-seat venue for concerts and sporting events, as well as Raine Square, a redeveloped area in the business district that includes a movie theatre, shopping malls and restaurants.


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And who can forget the adorable quokkas in Rottnest Island nearby? Or the 31-mile metropolitan coastline of pale sand and turquoise waters? Or the largest fringing coral reef in the world?

Anyone who has travelled several thousand miles and crossed national borders in the name of earning a qualification knows these are little perks that go a long way in one’s international education. Studying abroad is a holistic experience, one that goes beyond making good grades (despite what we tell our parents…) and landing those internships to boost your CV (though this is what we tell our future employers…).

The fun stuff matters too. Having new sights to see, new places to explore and the most foreign food and drinks you’ve ever seen can seem like surface-level thrills, but research has suggested that these things allow students to see themselves as “national and global actors”. Personal identity in study abroad involves “encountering oneself in a context that may stimulate new questions and new formulations of that self”.

Picking a study city to based on our #wanderlust (and quokka-viewing) needs may seem wild, but do it with the right information and it will pay off.

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