Sunshine Coast Regional Council

04/05/2017 | News release | Distributed by Public on 04/05/2017 00:56

International student agents study Sunshine Coast

Eight international student agents have run the rule over the Sunshine Coast as part of our region's push to attract more overseas and interstate students here.

They were given a guided familiarisation tour of our major education facilities, retail centres and local attractions ahead of this week's Australia New Zealand Agents Workshop in Cairns.

Business Manager for I Want to Study in Australia Krystal King said the Sunshine Coast was an ideal location for overseas students to pursue an education.

'I think international students would really appreciate the clean living we have here and the abundance of nature surrounding us,' she said.

'You've got outstanding facilities, there's English courses here there's high schools for placement into, vet courses through private and public as well as a university so I think it really does offer a great wide range of courses.'

Western Canada Education Services Presidents Laura Lopez said the Sunshine Coast had a number of natural advantages over larger city centres, including a strong community spirit that shone through during yesterday's severe weather event.

'It's a relaxed and very nice environment and everything is so close and so there is no major commuting times of 45 minutes or an hour like in big cities so I think this is a lot more productive and useful for them,' she said.

'This is our first time to Australia and our experience so far is sending students to Canada and the US but this is bringing a lot of new opportunities for us because there are students that will be a lot more comfortable on the Sunshine Coast, especially with the weather and a lot of things here that are in a better position that in the Canada and the US.'

AOU education and migration agent Sandy Liu said council's Study Sunshine Coast initiative was an important tool for creating more awareness of what our region has to offer overseas students.

'Marketing the Sunshine Coast is going to take a few years but it is a very important investment,' she said.

'That's why council has brought us here so we can spread this information to our students throughout the world and welcome students to come here and then through their family members and friends they can encourage more international students to study here.

'We have a wonderful Sunshine Coast here, with beautiful natural views and quality education and the safety here.

'People's friendships and how people help each other I found this is a very lovely city, easy for international students to stay and to be safe and with excellent students support services and opportunities to find jobs and in the future maybe stay here & contribute to the local economy here.'

The Sunshine Coast plays host to around 3000 international students from Europe, Asia, North America, South America, New Zealand and other countries. The Study Sunshine Coast campaign, launched by council in April last year, aims to increase international student numbers by 20% over the next five years.

Economic Development Portfolio Councillor Stephen Robinson said the familiarisation tour was an outstanding opportunity to showcase our region's education facilities and lifestyle opportunities.

'Having the chance to take international student agents on a guided tour of our region today was absolutely invaluable because it provides these people who are dealing directly with international students a first hand experience of what is on offer here on the Sunshine Coast,' Cr Robinson said.

'As well as familiarising themselves with our major education centres, these international agents also got the chance to see some of our game-changing infrastructure initiatives like the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, the Maroochydore CBD and the expansion of Sunshine Coast Airport, all of which will create a new economy on the Sunshine Coast and deliver outstanding career pathways and choices for local, national and international students.

'We believe there is no better place to live and study…and then live and work that here on the Sunshine Coast and the Study Sunshine Coast campaign is all about promoting these outstanding education, lifestyle, work and career opportunities that are available here for international and domestic students.'

'International education is now Australia's third largest export sector, generating more than $21 billion of economic activity and providing many jobs and benefits to both Australian and international students.

'On the Sunshine Coast, education and research contributes around $696 million to the local economy with a predicted industry expansion of 50% by 2033. This growth is also reflected by the University of the Sunshine Coast which aims to accommodate 20,000 students by 2020.

'USC is one of Australia's fastest growing universities and TAFE Queensland East Coast has 16,000 students across six locations on the Sunshine Coast and provides around 480 occupational courses. There are also another 180 training organisations operating within our region along with our 73 schools.

'International students also attract family and friends to visit the destination where they are studying with Tourism Australia research indicating that for every one student, three tourists visit Australia.

'By 2020, each international student will be paying around $51,400 in fees and living expenses,' Cr Robinson said.

'Our opportunity is to reach out to more and more of these students and show them why they should be putting the Sunshine Coast at the top of their list.'