International students studying at Australian universities rate their experience living in the country at record high levels, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, 91 per cent of international students expressed a positive experience living in Australia, according to the 2020 International Student Experience Survey released today.
The survey of more than 200,000 higher education undergraduates conducted on behalf of the Federal Government found personal safety on and off campus, as well as the ability to improve English skills, all contributed to students’ positive living experience.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said universities had worked hard to respond to the challenges created by the pandemic.
“Satisfaction with teaching quality, student support and skills development remain relatively stable for local and international students, recording only modest declines. This is testament to the adaptability shown by students, universities and teachers,” Ms Jackson said.
“We understand the anxiety felt by all students who are affected by the lockdowns, as well as those unable to return to Australia to continue or complete their studies.”
“A wide range of support services are being offered by universities to assist with online tuition, financial hardship and mental health as we continue to tackle the ongoing impact of COVID-19.”
Satisfaction with support services for international students declined marginally by two percentage points to 71 per cent in 2020 compared to 73 per cent in 2019. Satisfaction remained steady at 74 per cent for domestic students.
The survey recorded a decline in international students’ overall educational experience – falling from 75 per cent in 2019 to 63 per cent in 2020. International students within Australia rated their overall educational experience higher at 64 per cent, compared to 61 per cent for those unable to return to the country.
“A big part of the university experience is the opportunity to mingle with local students, peers and engage with educators in the classroom,” Ms Jackson said.
“All of our students are looking forward to getting back on campus.”
“Australian universities continue to put safety and community welfare first, and I pay tribute to the students and staff who are showing incredible resilience despite the challenges of the pandemic.”
The 2020 International Student Experience Survey was produced by the Social Research Centre on behalf of the Australian Government.