Australia’s capital Canberra: a wonderful place to live, learn and earn

Prof Lawrence Pratchett, Faculty of Business, Government & Law and India representative, University of Canberra


Overseas education can be a life changing opportunity, introducing students not only to new experiences and life-long friends but setting them firmly on the path to their chosen careers. It can give wings to students looking to soar high in their careers and in their lives. However, choosing a country, university, and study area can seem like a daunting task. Though Ivy League colleges have long dominated the dream, the fantasy has fizzled out. The reality of complex entry requirements and high study costs coupled with the changing needs of future and resulting job security, mean that savvy students now expand their search horizons.

Home to six of the top 100 universities globally, Australia consistently ranks as one of the top study destinations for Indian students. Seven of the major Australian cities also lay claim to being in the world’s top 100 student cities. Of these, Australia’s capital city Canberra is fast becoming a major attraction for students. There are several reasons for its rising popularity.

A hub of innovation and creativity

Canberra is a highly progressive city which is Australia’s political capital and home to the Federal Parliament.  But, more importantly, Canberra is also Australia’s knowledge capital. With Australia’s most educated workforce and a thriving tech start-up culture  it harbours a culture of innovation and creativity.

The five leading universities and CIT (Canberra’s technical college) offer thousands of courses that attract students from across the world to pursue higher education in the city. All the universities of Canberra are among the top four per cent globally, with the University of Canberra (UC) and the Australian National University in the top one per cent.

Canberra offers a welcoming culture and vibrant lifestyle, and  embodies the comfort, warmth, and sense of belonging  of home – this appeals to a lot of overseas students.

 An inclusive lifestyle offers a balance of work and fun

The city boasts a vibrant social scene where foodies can indulge, major sporting events draw large crowds and there’s no shortage of concerts and festivals. Youngsters can engage in sporting activities like cricket, kayaking, hiking and even camping in tranquil national parkland.

Canberra is only a day trip from Sydney, as well as Australia’s best ski fields and pristine beaches on the south coast.  The fresh air and beautiful surrounds mean that even in winter, Canberrans are active and bound for the outdoors.

When  it’s time to concentrate on studying, the relaxed and peaceful atmosphere in Canberra provides the perfect environment for students to achieve focus.

 Post-study work opportunities are plentiful

Canberra’s highly-skilled workforce attracts major businesses and investments that keep it on the cutting edge of the global economy. Several multinational corporations are establishing their centres in Canberra to spread their presence in Australia. Although it is the home of Australia’s government, two out of every three jobs in Canberra are within the private sector.

The city has also consistently achieved the highest average income and job growth rate in Australia. Couple this with the lowest unemployment rate in the country, and Canberra truly presents favourable employment conditions for skilled candidates.

The Australian government has also provided additional post-study work permit privileges to students graduating from the universities in Canberra. This allows graduates from Canberra the added opportunity to stay longer after graduation as compared to  most other Australian cities, with the chance to pursue a profession and build a life in the city.

Guaranteed accommodation and seamless transport

Most of the major universities in the city offer accommodation guarantees for new students. While these residences are in the vicinity of important markets and study centres, they are also safe, comfortable and clean. Additionally, there are plenty of off-campus residences from which the students can choose.

Getting from place-to-place in Canberra is also easy thanks to its excellent public transport network. International students can enjoy discounted travel concessions for bus and light rail networks. Canberra is also famous for its extensive dedicated bicycle path network , giving cyclists the opportunity to avoid road traffic.

Scholarships make education more accessible

International education in Canberra is made even more accessible thanks to the range of generous scholarships on offer. At the University of Canberra, students who have done well can enjoy scholarships ranging from 10–25 per cent off the total tuition fee. Some scholarship programs, like UC’s Vice-Chancellor’s Social Champion Scholarship offers up to 1 crore, covering tuition fees, allowances, and other expenses.

Canberra offers all the benefits of both big city and small town living. The city has been repeatedly ranked as Australia’s most liveable city. For overseas students,  Canberra is rich in opportunities for both study and work, easily becoming a second home.  In my mind, there is no better place than Canberra to study, work and live.


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