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Life in Australia

Overall student satisfaction – what matters most?

When looking at ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors for Australia’s culturally diverse international students (estimated at around 600,000 a year), there are huge number of factors, including:

  • Institutional reputation
  • Knowledge of the host country
  • Visa requirements
  • Quality of education
  • Tuition and living costs
  • Scholarship opportunities
  • A safe and welcoming institutional environment
  • Quality of life
  • Post study options

How institutions showcase their learning experience, e.g. reviews and marketing materials showcasing the quality of teaching and experience of academic staff, is clearly important.

However, a recent report titled The international student experience in Australia has shown that of the four dimensions of experience – arrival, living, learning and support services – the greatest influencer of overall international student satisfaction is the living & learning experience.

Although ‘course offerings’ is the key driver when making a decision about which institution to study at, the report highlights staying current with student preferences, and enhancing the learning experience through initiatives and deeper collaboration with support services, is a critical to remaining competitive in the global student market.

Key factors influencing satisfaction and happiness while studying, includes finding suitable accommodation, and the experience of social and day-to-day life (i.e. local culture). Making friends and in a safe and welcoming country where there are networking opportunities, and access to immigration advice are also mentioned as contributors to the ‘overall institutional recommendation’.

Overall student satisfaction – what matters most?

  1. Suitable accommodation
  2. Quality of external campus
  3. Experience of local culture
  4. Cost of living
  5. Social facilities
  6. Eco-friendliness attitude
  7. Social activities
  8. Making friends in this country
  9. Safety and security
  10. Opportunities work/studies

There are some great practical examples in the report of how various institutions are embracing these trends by fostering development support, and other programs and initiatives to enhance the student experience in these areas. 

Organisations that support and innovate where Living and Learning experiences are most impactful – including trends like eco-friendliness – will seemingly improve their retention through word of mouth, and recommendations. As the report concludes…

“a positive experience in these two dimensions is key to reducing the gap between institutional satisfaction and recommendation”.