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Positive ratings from int’l students in Australia

The number of international students in Australia pleased with their experiences is recovering following a dip during the pandemic, a survey has indicated.
June 29 2023
2 Min Read

The number of international students enrolled in higher education across Australia that are pleased with their experiences is recovering following a dip during the pandemic, the country’s largest student satisfaction survey has indicated.

The Student Experience Survey, run by the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching and known as Australia’s most comprehensive student survey, showed that the ratio of international students saying they had a positive experience rose to 74.4% from a low of 63% who said the same in 2020.

The survey received a total of 52,316 valid responses from international students – a 33.6% response rate.

The research found that the rating gap that has typically seen international undergraduate students rate their experiences lower than their domestic peers narrowed in 2022 to “the closest they have ever been”.

“International students have historically rated aspects of their higher education experience lower than domestic students, however, in 2022 international ratings were on par or higher across all focus areas,” the report said.

International student experience in regard to both learner engagement and learning resources increased “substantially” in 2022, from the historic lows seen during the pandemic when border closures and online learning impacted satisfaction levels.

The rating of teaching quality – which accounts for the greatest influence on the overall quality of the education experience – improved to the highest point on record in 2022. It finished on par with domestic students with an 80.1% positive rating among international students and 80.2% for domestic students.

However, the survey acknowledged that a proportion of international students indicate that living arrangements and financial circumstances continue to negatively affect the education experience.

“While these factors affecting international students’ study have continued to drop since 2020, they remain higher than domestic students,” the report reads.

Nonetheless, the findings were overwhelmingly positive given the difficulties of the recent years and will be largely welcomed by the sector.

“International undergraduate students typically rate their overall living experience in Australia highly, and this continued in 2022 with 93.6 per cent of international students rating their living experience positively,” the report said.

Regarding living experiences, personal safety on and off campus and the opportunity to improve English skills were rate highly, while work experience in field of study was rated lowest. Over 93.6% of international undergraduate students rated their living experience positively.

Around half of the international undergraduate student respondents said they lived in private rented accommodation in 2022, with more than 90% rating the experience positively.

Close to nine in 10 (86%) said they used an agent to help with visa applications or to enrol at institutions, with 93.2% rating the services positively.

“International students in particular are making the most of what is offered”

Helen Forbes-Mewett, sociologist in the School of Social Sciences at Monash University and senior fellow at International Education Association of Australia, said the overall findings are similar with her experiences.

“These findings are not surprising as, from my experience, international students have eagerly reengaged with the opportunity to undertake international education again,” she told The PIE.

“Universities went to great lengths to support international students during the extensive lockdown periods and these efforts have continued. International students in particular are making the most of what is offered and therefore continue to benefit and rate their experiences more highly,” she noted.

The report also broke down experiences at institutions, with Avondale University ranked top, with 92% positive experience rating among international student respondents.

This was followed by 83.5% saying the same of Bond University, 82.4% at Central Queensland University and 81.2% at both James Cook University and the University of Western Australia.

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