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The land down under: an appealing destination for international students

Tue, 09/17/2019 - 08:37
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Australia is becoming an increasingly popular destination for learners around the world, with Higher Education seeing an increase of 11.4% in terms of international student numbers in 2018. In fact, according to an article published by the BBC, research by University College London shows that: “Australia is overtaking the UK as the world's second biggest destination for international students…”

Where are the students coming from?

globe graphicAccording to The Australian Government Department of Education and Training, in August last year the top five origin countries for international students were:

  1. China 
  2. India 
  3. Nepal 
  4. Malaysia 
  5. Brazil 

Having such a diverse student population is certainly beneficial to students, as it provides an excellent learning environment, as well as international networking opportunities.

What is attracting overseas students to Australia?

“A new survey shows that students are making study abroad decisions based on a changing list of priorities and influencers. Rankings are becoming less important than factors such as cost of living, the ability to work after studying, quality of teaching, and a destination’s reputation for being welcoming and friendly.” (Article by ICEF)

Let’s look at this within the context of Australia: 

  • Students are placing more importance on the opportunities to work in a country after graduating. In Australia, some students can stay for up to 4 years after they finish their studies, giving international students the option to look for employment if they want to stay in-country.
  • Moreover, the aforementioned ICEF report notes that a destination’s reputation for being welcoming plays a key role in the study-abroad decision process for students. Australia has long been seen as a friendly country, highlighted by the number of tourists that visit every year; in the year ending June 2019, Australia welcomed 9.3 million visitor arrivals and typically 63% have visited before.
  • Although cited as decreasing as an influence factor, rankings have always been a strong indicator of education quality worldwide and Australia has 7 universities within the top 100 in the QS World Rankings 2020
  • According to an article by ACEcelent late last year, the value of the Australian dollar could also be having a positive impact on student recruitment, specifically in relation to the cost of study and living expenses. 
  • Finally, the culture is sure to be an influencing factor for students. Not to mention the fact that it’s an English-speaking country where the five largest cities see sunshine for at least half the year.

Can an HNC or HND take you down under?

Australia is certainly worth considering as an option for our BTEC Higher National students who are looking to use their qualification as a progression route into Higher Education. 

delivering presentation

We are actively looking to increase the number of agreements that we have with Australian universities, and last month we attended a roadshow with our PTE Academic colleagues from Pearson Australia. As a team, we visited Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra throughout early August, presenting on a range of Pearson qualifications.

The roadshow has successfully given us strong exposure to HEIs. There are 43 universities in Australia, and most institutions that we made contact with during the trip were already accepting students with Higher Nationals. 

We are working on confirming formalised pathways for Pearson students, however in the meantime, it’s great to know that Australian universities are already considering our graduates on a case by case basis. Our overall aim is to negotiate specific progression routes for BTEC Higher Nationals, and therefore provide more choice for our valued students.

Keep an eye on our Degree Finder for any new pathways that are introduced and if you have any questions about Higher Nationals, please do not hesitate to contact us.


I joined Pearson in July 2019 from a Higher Education background, having studied languages at university. I work in the Progression and Recognition team, helping to ensure that our students and centres are aware of their options post-study, whether this is into employment or further education.

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