New South Wales (Sydney)

Australia’s most populous state is home to an impressive range of leading universities, vocational education and training providers, schools and research opportunities. From the iconic state capital of Sydney to beautiful regional areas such as the Hunter Valley and Central Coast, New South Wales (NSW) delivers an international student experience with a high 'wow-factor'.

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New South Wales in brief
  • 11 universities including six universities in the QS Top 300 World University Rankings
  • Sydney ranked top 5 safest city
  • NSW is Australia’s largest economy
  • Sydney voted Top 10 in the world for QS Best Student Cities
  • Sydney is the 2nd highest ranked city in the Asia-Pacific region for innovation

When you study in NSW, you’ll join more than 260,000 international students from more than 160 different countries around the world. Prepare to be swept off your feet; NSW offers countless opportunities to learn, work and explore.

NSW is the major economic powerhouse of Australia. Its $600 billion economy is larger than that of both Malaysia and Singapore. In the cities and regional areas, you can expect to find diversity unmatched anywhere else in Australia. All things considered, NSW really is a world-leading destination for international students.

NSW has a thriving vocational education and training (VET) sector, which includes the government-owned TAFE NSW. You’ll also find some of Australia’s leading private education providers and specialist English language colleges. The government and independent secondary schools (high schools) found in NSW are also among the best in the world.

Whatever your preferred field of study, you’ll find it in NSW’s diverse portfolio of universities and educational institutions.

Sydney - Australia's global city

Sydney is Australia’s international gateway for business and tourism. It is widely recognised as one of the world’s great cities and it is consistently ranked in the top 10 internationally for quality of living. Sydney and NSW offer access to some of the best educational opportunities in the world so it’s no surprise Sydney is currently ranked one of the world’s top five student cities.

The city is famous internationally for the spectacular Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, which never cease to amaze, no matter how many times you see them. Sydney is, however, attracting plenty of international attention in many other ways as well.

The city is a major innovation hub in the southern hemisphere, where innovators are celebrated and supported by business and government. More than 200 of Australia’s top 500 companies are based in NSW, and 64% of Australia’s tech start-ups are based in Sydney. This dynamic business environment offers ample work experience and employment opportunities for international students.

This focus on innovation starts in the classrooms and lecture theatres of Sydney’s world-class universities, which are fertile ground for thought-leaders to thrive. The diversity of Sydney’s education sector has produced leaders in every field from medicine and science to arts and humanities. 

Whether you’re exploring the dazzling Sydney Harbour, the pristine beaches of Bondi and Manly, or venturing out into Greater Sydney, you’ll be surrounded by a friendly, multicultural population. With almost 30% of residents born overseas, Sydney is home to migrant communities from all over Asia, the Middle East, Europe and more.

This mix of cultures has made Sydney a world-renowned centre for creativity and culture. From the world’s largest short film festival, Tropfest, to the spectacular Vivid Sydney festival, there is always plenty to see and do - much of it free. Students interested in studying creative degrees such as fine arts, film and music will find themselves at home in Sydney.

South Coast - serenity south of Sydney

Head south from Sydney for an hour along the Grand Pacific Drive and you’ll reach the South Coast of NSW. This region boasts world-class educational institutions and unrivalled natural beauty.

From the city of Wollongong through to charming coastal towns and villages, such as Kiama and Shellharbour, there’s plenty for international students to uncover.

The University of Wollongong (UoW) is home to over 36,000 students and is ranked among the top 250 universities worldwide. UoW boasts a multicultural and vibrant student cohort with more than 160 nationalities on campus and over 300 degrees to choose from. International students are drawn to the South Coast region for the relaxed Australian beach lifestyle and close proximity to urban centres such as Sydney and Canberra.

The South Coast also features a dynamic VET and ELICOS sector with thousands of students building their skills across the region’s leading providers, including TAFE NSW Illawarra.

North Coast – regional student hotspot

Located in the far north east corner of New South Wales, the North Coast region includes the major regional towns of Lismore, Ballina and Tweed Heads. Boasting both coastal and inland natural attractions, the North Coast is an ideal study destination from those looking to experience the Australian bush and stunning coastal landscapes.

The major university, Southern Cross University (SCU), is a young and vibrant institution with its main campus located in Lismore. SCU is one of the Asia-Pacific’s top 100 universities and boasts a contemporary campus, including nine research centres. SCU is ranked #1 in Australia for overall international student support and is one of the world’s Top 50 Generation Y Universities. The university has some of the highest ranking courses in the country for psychology, tourism and hospitality.

TAFE NSW North Coast has more than 60 courses on offer, and more than 45,000 students enrolled each year. All campuses have a friendly and welcoming atmosphere with many on-campus community activities and spaces for relaxing, studying or catching up with friends.

There is a wide selection of high schools on offer across the North Coast, including public, private, independent and alternative schools, with a strong focus on academic excellence, exceptional teaching, student welfare and learning facilities.

Hunter Valley region – harbour city meets rolling green landscapes

The Hunter Valley is a major weekend getaway destination for Sydneysiders who are drawn to the area for its rolling hills and renowned wineries. The largest city in the region and seventh largest in Australia, Newcastle, is only 160 kilometres north of Sydney. It is located in the heart of the Hunter Valley and is bordered by a stunning coastline with beautiful beaches. Lake Macquarie, Australia’s largest saltwater lake, is only a one hour drive north of Newcastle.

The region has a number of attractive study options available to international students. The largest institution in the region, the University of Newcastle (UoN), has over 35,000 students from 100 countries. Students here enjoy a thriving on-campus community.

UoN is consistently ranked within Australia’s top 10 universities and has 15 subjects ranked in the world’s top 200. UoN’s English Language Centre has been in operation since 1989 and has established a reputation for excellence. Each year the Centre successfully trains about 800 students from over 30 countries.

TAFE NSW Hunter and Central Coast teach more than 64,000 students enrolled across a wide range of industry areas.

Some of the world’s largest natural resources companies have operations in the Hunter Valley and UoN has strong pathways for engineering students to enter the local industry.

New England – high country living

The New England and North West region of NSW is located in the north of the state and west of the Great Dividing Range. This region is known for World Heritage national parks, ancient rainforest and abundant wildlife.

The region is a popular study destination with international students and there are a variety of study options available. The University of New England (UNE) is located in the picturesque city of Armidale and boasts an excellent international reputation in teaching and research. Students rate their experience highly because of their small classes and interaction with teaching staff. UNE is the only Australian public university awarded the maximum 5 stars for Overall Experience 13 years in a row.

UNE is home to an English Language Centre which offers accredited English language courses and provides a stimulating learning environment for students, with excellent resources and high academic standards.

StudyNSW Discover NSW

Study NSW - Enhancing the international student experience

Study NSW is a dedicated team within the NSW Government responsible for supporting and enhancing the experience of international students across the state. Subscribe to International Student News updates from Study NSW or follow on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Their student-facing website is available in nine languages and acts as a resource to support international students during their time studying, living and working in NSW.

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