5 Most Affordable Cities for International Students in Australia

If you’re thinking about studying abroad Down Under in scenic Australia, then this blog is for you! As Australia is an island country, many of its goods must be shipped from overseas, which inevitably increases the cost of living. A city like Sydney may not be the best choice for students with a tighter budget, as its cost of living is the most expensive in Australia. However, there are many affordable options international students can choose from. We’ll explore Australia’s five most affordable cities, per data collected by Universal Immigration Services and Expatisan in 2021. 

For those considering studying in Canada or the United States, check out our blogs on the five most affordable cities in these countries.

A photo of Perth, Australia.

Courtesy of Tourism Australia.

5. Perth, Western Australia

Starting off our countdown is the city of Perth! This city is an excellent place for art enthusiasts and artists. Perth is a hotspot for culture, arts, and music, with many galleries and theatres to visit during your time abroad. Students who plan to study in Perth should note that, as the state’s only city, it’s quite isolated, and reaching big cities like Sydney and Brisbane take four hours by plane. However, one of Perth’s great advantages is its distinct seasonal climate. Residents can anticipate a lot of sunshine and minimal rain through December and March. With a cost of living that is 20% lower than Sydney’s, students can expect to spend at least A$2,200 (including rent) on monthly living expenses. This includes transportation, food, spending money, and rent and utilities.

Fun Fact: Perth is the sunniest capital city in the world. 

Consider studying at the Institute of Health and Nursing Australia (IHNA).

A photo of Geelong, Australia.

Courtesy of the Official Site for Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

4. Geelong, Victoria

Calling all sports fans! Geelong is known as Australia’s sports-mad city and should be on your radar if you enjoy spending your free time watching sports. If you choose to study abroad in Geelong, you’ll have easy access to an array of beaches, an art deco boardwalk, and a picturesque marina. This city is an excellent option if you’re looking to study abroad in a place with more of a small-town vibe. However, you can arrive in the heart of Melbourne in about an hour on days that you’d like to experience big city living. International students should budget an average of A$2,175 (including rent) a month on living expenses while studying in Geelong.

Fun Fact: Geelong has the second oldest Aussie Rules football club in the world, the Geelong Football Club

Consider studying at Education Training & Employment Australia (ETEA).

A photo of the Sunshine Coast, Australia..

Courtesy of Visit Sunshine Coast.

3. Sunshine Coast, Queensland

The Sunshine Coast is home to over 300,000 people, and you guessed it, a sunny climate! Students can spend their free time exploring the many blissful beaches that are scattered around the city and visit Steve Irwin’s Australian Zoo. The Sunshine Coast doesn’t experience as much seasonal variation as other Australian cities, and extreme days of torrential rainfall and heat are less common. Students can expect to pack for a mild year-round climate, with average temperatures ranging from 20°C and 30°C throughout the year. The Sunshine Coast ties with Geelong with an estimated living cost of A$2,175 (including rent). 

Fun Fact: The Glass House Mountains encompassing the Sunshine Coast are a well known UFO attraction.

A photo of Cairns, Australia.

Courtesy of Cairns Australia. 

2. Cairns, Queensland

Located in northern Queensland, Cairns is perfect for those who prefer an outdoor lifestyle over big city living. This city is surrounded by the shores of the Coral Sea and rainforest. Here you can enjoy activities like snorkelling or scuba diving. Students who plan to study in Cairns should note that the climate is quite different from cities south of Australia. It’s a tropical climate that experiences torrential downpours running from late November through May due to the monsoon season. Cairns’ cost of living is an impressive 25% less than Sydney’s. Students can anticipate paying an average of A$2,125 (including rent) in living expenses.

Fun Fact: Cairns is known as the gateway to the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef.

Consider studying at James Cook University.

A photo of Adelaide, Australia.

Courtesy of the City of Adelaide.

1. Adelaide, South Australia

Taking the top spot on our countdown is Adelaide. This buzzing city is regarded as Australia’s food and wine capital, and is filled with entertainment, culture, and events. With a population of 1.3 million, it’s the fifth-largest city in Australia. Students who choose to live in the city centre can expect to pay an average of A$2,100 (including rent) in living costs a month, and the city boasts a cost of living that is 27% lower than Sydney’s. While studying abroad in Adelaide, students can enjoy the historic beachside suburb of Glenelg. Here you can partake in or watch the famous dolphin swim, as well as enjoy fishing, beach volleyball, and so much more!

Fun Fact: Adelaide’s nickname is the 20-minute city, as it only takes 20 minutes to get to any part of the city.

Consider studying at the University of Adelaide College.

Start your study abroad journey in one of these five affordable cities to receive a great education without breaking the bank!

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