Generally, migrating to and studying in Australia is excellent as it offers enormous opportunities for personal and professional advancement. However, when people think of relocating to Australia, the focus is often on the bigger cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. Sadly, they are missing out on a lot by not paying attention to regional Australia. There are more fantastic perks to settling down and studying in regional Australia. The regional areas in Australia offer a higher standard of living, better prospects of immigration, and a more wholesome experience of destination Australia.
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What is a Regional Area?
The definition of a regional area in Australia has often changed over the years. However, since November 2019, regional areas have been those cities and towns outside Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne’s major capital centres. Yet, the areas that make up regional Australia are not rural centres but rapidly growing towns and cities such as Gold Coast, Hobart and Geelong. These cities have almost the same facilities as the larger ones but are more relaxed and calm. For instance, although a regional area, Gold Coast features one of the largest hotels in Australia.
List of Regional Areas in Australia
The government classified the regional areas in Australia into two (2) categories, namely:
- Cities and Major Regional Centers (or Category 2 areas)
- Regional Centers and Other Regional Centers (or Category 3 areas).
There are a lot of cities spread across these two categories. I will only concentrate on the Cities and Major Regional Centers. They include:
- Perth Regional Area
- Gold Coast Regional Area
- Adelaide Regional Area
- Sunshine Coast Regional Area
- Canberra Regional Area
- Newcastle Regional Area
- Lake Macquarie Regional Area
- Geelong Regional Area
- Hobart Regional Area
- Wollongong Regional Area
Top 10 Benefits of Studying in Regional Australia
Studying in the places included in the list of regional areas in Australia presents many benefits, some of which you will hardly find in the larger cities.
1. Cheaper Cost of Living
Cities are known for being expensive everywhere globally, and the most populous areas in Australia are not exceptions. The larger cities feature significantly higher living costs than in the regional centres. The most significant cost factors for students include accommodation, groceries and feeding, and electricity and gas.
Analyses indicated that a single individual’s total cost of living in a major city like Sydney was 27% higher than what you get in a regional centre such as Adelaide. Accommodation alone in Sydney was at least 75% higher than in Adelaide.
The main reason for this vast difference is that the demand for these cost items is much greater in the bigger cities than in the regional areas.
2. A More Enjoyable Campus Experience
If you choose to study in regional Australia, one perk you will likely gain is a more seamless, stress-free university experience. The universities in regional Australia are known not to be overcrowded, as they take in just enough students. The implication is that they have smaller class sizes and less congested lecture spaces, which means you can get more out of your classes. Furthermore, since the classes are smaller, the chances for interaction with colleagues increases significantly.
3. Funding Opportunities for Students
If you seek funding options for university students, you should strongly consider attending a university in regional Australia. The government and private sector have lined up scholarships for students in regional areas. One of the most popular is Destination Australia. It is a government initiative to enable regional Institutions to provide sponsorship to domestic and international students willing to study in regional Australia. Participants can get up to AUD15,000 in financing.
Another is the Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships (RRES) program which offers up to AUD18,000.
4. Better Quality of Life
Although people highly seek after them, the quality of life in cities is generally poorer than in regional areas, as key indicators prove. This is because cities are often densely populated, which means there is a greater demand for everything from public transport to recreational centres. Also, they tend to be overcrowded, leading to packed streets and frequent and heavy traffic congestions.
Similarly, city dwellers usually have greater crime and safety concerns than those living in regional areas.
A Quality of Life Index report reveals that regional areas such as Canberra and Adelaide rank as the cities with the highest numbers on the index. They performed at least 12% better than Sydney and 14% better than Melbourne.
5. Jobs and Economic Opportunities
Many people choose cities because of the assumption that they present more economic opportunities. However, there are pointers that regional areas now offer similar opportunities, if not better.
The pandemic has caused a significant shift in the Australian economy, causing businesses, including large corporations, to move the activity to regional areas. We see the impact of all these activities in increased economic growth and more job opportunities. Regional Australia, for instance, witnessed an increase of 13% in available jobs between 2019 and 2020, despite the pandemic.
This trend has persisted, and we see the potential for an even more boom in the future.
6. Easier Route to Permanent Residency
If you are looking to stay permanently in Australia after your studies, choosing to study in a regional Australia is an excellent approach to achieving your aim. This is because the Australian government has shown great interest in decongesting the big cities and encouraging the movement of people to regional areas. The government has put plans in place to attract immigrants to these areas.
One of such plans is that studying in regional Australia adds five (5) extra points to the Immigrants Point Test. Then, the Post-Study Work (PSW) Visas offer you as much as four (4) additional years of stay after graduation to work. This can pave the way to securing a permanent residency visa.
7. Enjoy the Best of Australia
We can state confidently that the best of Australia is outside its major cities. Many people worldwide know Australia for its natural attractions, including many rainforests, rivers, rocks and mountain ranges, deserts and beaches. We also have islands, sandstone walls, dunes, waterfalls, wildlife, and parks. Resorts have been built around these natural areas to boost their appeal and make the experience more enjoyable.
Unfortunately, you can’t access these natural and artificial wonders from the major cities as they are primarily located in regional areas. If you live in regional Australia, you are most likely a couple of hours away from a natural resort, where you can spend the weekend or even the afternoon.
8. Greater Work-life Balance
The above has shown that studying, living and working in the regional areas in Australia affords you a greater balance between work and life. For instance, access to recreational centres such as beaches and parks is slightly more difficult in the three (3) major cities as they are far away from you. Thus, the ability to take breaks between work or study is somewhat limited.
On the other hand, in regional Australia, you don’t have to put too much planning into a vacation as you can get it at your fingertips. In essence, you get the ability to balance life and work and unwind whenever you want to.
9. Hospitable and Friendly Communities
The communities in the regional areas are often not overcrowded. Since fewer people are, they are more likely to get to know one another better. From there, they can form cordial communities.
Furthermore, many fellow Bangladeshi and South Asian students are moving to Australia, and a tidy majority of them are settling in regional areas.
10. Opportunity to Build a Future
The cities and towns in the regional areas in Australia are still growing and thus offer attractive opportunities for students and graduates to build their futures. There are opportunities to set up a business, startup or specialist practice.
Also, if you wish to purchase real estate, properties are comparatively cheaper to acquire. So if you are thinking long-term, then look at studying in regional Australia.
List of Regional Universities in Australia
There are a lot of universities spread across the numerous regional centres in Australia. However, I will mention a few:
- University of Western Australia
- Curtin University
- Edith Cowan University
- Griffith University
- Bond University
- University of Adelaide
- University of South Australia
- University of the Sunshine Coast
- Australia National University (ANU)
- University of Canberra
- University of Newcastle
- Macquarie University
- Deakin University
- Hobart and William Smith Colleges
- University of Tasmania
- University of Wollongong
You will certainly need detailed information about these universities, including the courses, expenses and the application process. You can Contact Us via multiple channels. We are willing to help.
Facts and Statistics – Regional Areas in Australia
Here, I list some interesting facts and figures about living in regional areas in Australia:
- About 51% of Australians live in regional areas of the country, and this percentage is growing steadily.
- Regional Australia has the highest concentration of islands globally, with more than 5,000 islands.
- 90% of the population in regional areas in Australia live on the coast.
- The Great Barrier Reef, located just outside of Cairns (a city in Regional Australia), is the largest ecosystem globally and one of the 7 natural wonders of the world.
- Australia’s most popular holiday destination and the second largest ski resort, Perisher Resorts, is located just outside Canberra, a city in regional Australia.
How to Study in Regional Australia?
So far, I have shown compelling reasons why you should think about studying in Australia. However, you should still consider some factors before making the decision, and these include:
1. Relocation Plans
Where you intend to stay after graduation should be an essential factor to consider when deciding whether to study in regional Australia or not. If you plan to become a permanent resident in Australia upon leaving school, consider a study life in regional Australia.
Studying in the Category 2 areas (Cities and Major Regional Centers) will afford you an extra year for a post-work visa. Attending school in Category 3 locations (Regional Centers and Other Regional Centers) will offer you two (2) additional years.
2. Career Goals and Job Opportunities
You have to note that while you can build any career in almost all parts of Australia, some areas are best for some specific occupations. For instance, if you wish to build a career in finance and investment management, you may opt for Sydney, which is the financial capital of the entire Oceania continent.
However, almost every other career will thrive in regional centres in Australia. There is less competition for jobs in regional Australia than in the major centres, which means getting employment may be slightly easier.
3. Financial Capabilities
You should be aware that living in the major areas can be considerably more expensive than in the regional areas in Australia. Thus, how much money you have to spend should be essential in studying in regional Australia.
4. Desired Course of Study
Schools that make the list of regional universities in Australia may have slightly different course offerings from major cities. Thus, if you search for specialist courses, consider the regional areas. For instance, the University of Tasmania offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in marine engineering, while Deakin University offers a bachelor’s in marine science. But, again, you won’t find this on major campuses.
5. Preferred Lifestyle
If you prefer a very active lifestyle with the hustle and bustle of a large city, then places such as Sydney and Brisbane are right for you. However, if you want a somewhat calm approach to life, consider studying in one of the regional universities in Australia.
Study in Regional Australia – Pros and Cons
There are numerous benefits to studying in any school in the regional universities in Australia. However, deciding to do so may also have some downsides. Below are the pros and cons of studying in regional Australia:
1. More Pleasurable University Experience
The smaller classroom sizes, relaxed campus environment, and opportunities for friendships and networking have the potential to make your university stay more rewarding.
2. Cheaper Cost of Living
There is significantly reduced competition for most things, and as such, the cost of basic expenses are much less than the big cities.
3. Higher Quality of Life
Less congestion, lower security risks, and better opportunities for work-life balance increase the quality of studying and living in regional Australia.
1. Less Entertainment
Big cities attract more entertainment hubs, and the case is the same in Australia. Such attractions, including sports arenas, cinemas, shows and much more, are easily accessible in major centers than in the regional areas.
2. Less Economic Opportunities
While the regional areas are still growing and catching up, I still have to acknowledge that you will find most of the opportunities in the big cities, at least for now.
3. Reduced Access to Goods and Services
Most private and public services work better in larger cities than in regional areas. Also, you can access more products in the major centres than in the regions. But, on the other hand, it often takes a long time or higher costs to get certain products or services, especially if they are not common.
Best Way to Study in Regional Areas in Australia
There are different approaches to get to study in regional Australia. Here, I streamline everything into a step-by-step process:
1. Get the Necessary Educational Qualifications
As you will find in most countries, there are some educational requirements that you must satisfy before you become eligible to study in any part of Australia.
The first step is to put measures in place to get all the necessary educational requirements to qualify for a place in one of the regional universities in Australia. One of such requirements is an English proficiency test such as IELTS. Although not compulsory for all universities, having a proficiency test will significantly improve your chances of admission to a university.
2. Get a List of Possible Universities
The next step is to consider the universities you would like to attend amongst the regional universities in Australia. I have listed some of the most prestigious regional universities above, but you can research to know more. You can select a university because of its courses or location.
For one, if you have a specific course in mind, then search for the regional universities that offer it. Otherwise, you can research the various regional cities and towns and choose those that fascinate you. You can then select universities located in these desired locations.
3. Get to Know the Admission Process
Familiarize yourself with the requirements and processes for each university. Be aware of the admission schedule and prepare to send in your application at the right time.
4. Secure Financing
Studying in Australia is not cheap. So you have to start planning for funding. If you desire financial support, it’s essential to start seeking it early. Research generally available scholarships and those that pertain to your desired school, and apply for them.
5. Work on Your Student Visa
If you are not located in Australia, you should commence immediate steps towards getting a Student Visa.
I have to acknowledge that all the above processes are complex and overwhelming. However, you don’t have to do it alone and make quick progress with the right guide. You can find the perfect guide in the Student Portal. Right from the start of the admission process to resuming on campus, we provide guidance all the way. You can CONTACT US via our office or book an appointment with our counsellors. To talk to an expert with our Education Counsellors from Student Portal, please click the button below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here, I provide answers to some of the most frequent questions that we get asked:
According to the government’s classification, regional areas in Australia refer to all cities and towns in Australia apart from Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.
All cities and towns in Australia fall into any of three (3) categories:
First Category – Major Cities of Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.
Second Category – Cities and Major Regional Centers.
Third Category – Regional Centers and Other Regional Centers.
All locations that fall under Category 2 and Category 3 are regional areas. Instances of major regional areas include Perth, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Sunshine Coast, Canberra, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Geelong, Hobart, Wollongong, and others.
The government has earmarked these regional areas for special benefits, including added immigration benefits.
The government has created special Post-Study Visas targeted at immigrants who wish to stay in regional areas. So, a regional visa in Australia allows you to live and work in one of the regional areas in Australia. These work visas enable one to get employment for a specified number of years, after which the visa holder may get permanent residency.
The types of visas available include:
Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485): This Post-Study Work Visa (PSW) offers the opportunity to international students who graduate from an Australian University to live and work for a period of between 2 to 4 years post-graduation. Graduates from metro universities can stay for 3 years. However, graduates from regional universities are eligible to work for 4 years.
Applicants must be holders of a student visa and must have studied a course for overseas students.
Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 491): This Visa enables the holder to stay in Australia and study and work for up to 5 years. After the third year of stay, the holder can apply for permanent residence. To qualify, a state, regional government agency or any eligible relative must sponsor the interested candidate. Then, the candidate must be skilled in an occupation listed on the skilled occupation list and undergo a test to certify their proficiency.
Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 494): An employer or work sponsor nominates a candidate for this visa, enabling a holder to stay for 5 years. It can also lead to permanent residency.
Skilled Regional visa (subclass 887) grants permanent stay to previous holders of a regional work visa.
The Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (subclass 191) will kickstart in November 2022.
Regional work is done within a regional area, in the government’s industries.
The industries include Mining, Agriculture, Construction, Forestry, and Fishing. Working within these industries and in a regional area can qualify for a Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa.
Australia is a desirable country to study and live in as the country offers the best of natural and artificial attractions. However, inside Australia, the regional areas are the place to be. They offer several benefits ranging from being cost-friendly to affording dwellers better quality of life and friendly communities. Also, they help fast-track immigration.
Yet, before you decide to move, it is vital to get sufficient information, some of which we have given here so far. Nonetheless, there is still so much more to know. Then, you would need a lot of assistance in going through the necessary stages. We are here to provide all the help you may need. All you need do is Contact Us through your desired channels, and we will be there to help.