International Development Program Finds High Satisfaction Rate Among International Students in Australia
In 2012, Australian Education International (AEI) commissioned research into the overall satisfaction of
international students studying in Australia. The research used the International Student Barometer survey instrument and was conducted in collaboration with Universities Australia, English Australia, TAFE Directors Australia (TDA), and the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET).
The survey sought responses from international students studying on-shore in the Higher Education (HE), Vocational Education and Training (VET), and English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) sectors. A separate survey instrument was used to seek responses from international students aged 16 years or over studying in Australian secondary schools in years 11 and 12.
The 2012 International Student Survey (ISS) follows an equivalent survey conducted in 2010 (the 2010 ISS). Both surveys were conducted to fulfill a key responsibility of the Commonwealth under the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) International Student Strategy for Australia 2010-2014.
The Higher Education sector survey received 37,115 student responses from 36 of Australia’s 39 universities. Around 161,000 international students were studying at the participating universities during the survey period. This gave a 23% response rate of participants.
The key findings of the survey included:
- 87% of international student respondents are ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with their overall experience in Australia (up from 86% in 2010);
- 86% of international student respondents are ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with their study experience in Australia (up from 84% in 2010); and
- 88% of international student respondents are ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with living in Australia (up from 86% in 2010).
The top five factors that influenced international HE respondents’ choice to study in Australia were found to be:
- Quality of teaching (with 96% of respondents identifying this factor as important or very important);
- Reputation of a qualification from the institution (94%);
- Reputation of the institution (93%);
- Personal safety (92%); and
- Reputation of Australian education system (92%).
At a national level, 74% of all respondents in the Schools sector (both Years 11 and 12) were satisfied with their overall school experience in Australia. Seventy-two percent indicated that they were satisfied with their living experience while 69% considered the teaching at their school to be either good or very good. Sixty-eight percent were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the support services provided to them.
Seventy-seven percent of HE respondents to the 2012 ISS reported that they would encourage others to apply to their university. Eighty-one percent of VET respondents, 78% of ELICOS respondents and 74% of School respondents indicated they would encourage others to study at their institution.
The five most important factors influencing decisions of all respondents in the Schools sector (both Years 11 and 12) in choosing to study overseas were to:
- improve English (72%);
- gain experience living and studying in another country and/or culture (71%);
- improve overall studies (56%);
- improve chances of entering a good university in Australia (50%); and
- obtain a better quality education than is available at home (50%).
Around 6 in 10 of all Schools sector respondents indicated that Australia was their first choice for overseas schooling. The top four factors that influenced the choice of country were: High quality of education (57%); Beautiful, natural environment (51%); Safe place to live (45%); and Friends living in Australia (43%).
Survey findings in 2012 were similar to the survey conducted in 2010. For example, 75% of Year 12 respondents to the 2012 ISS reported that they were satisfied with their overall school experience which was slightly down on the 76% reported by students in 2010. The Schools survey conducted using a different survey instrument in which a large proportion of students chose the option ‘neither satisfied nor dissatisfied’. The survey responses from the Schools sector are hence not directly comparable with survey responses from other education sectors.