In June, we spoke to Gordon Scott, Export Director with Brisbane Marketing. Gordon oversees the Study Brisbane initiative, which supports and develops Brisbane’s largest export sector: international education.
Q: We understand you do a lot to promote Brisbane as a study destination for international students. How many international students come to Brisbane every year?
Approximately 35,000 new international students arrive to study within the Brisbane local government area each year, and when combined with the existing international students (re-enrolled, or 2nd/3rd/4th year students) it takes them to a total of 55,000 international students in the area each year.
This is counted through number of student visas issued, as identified through the Australian Trade Commission, and Australia Education International (federal government agencies).
Q: Are numbers growing?
Although the whole industry has gone through a well-documented period of turbulence over the past few years, reports from Brisbane education institutions suggests the tide is turning in 2013 and student numbers are once again growing in the higher education and non-award sectors.
Q: Any changes in visa procedures?
International Students undertaking the majority of courses require a student visa, with the exception of short course ELICOS students. Student visa processing has been streamlined in Australia in the past year. Information can be found on the official website of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Q: Where do most students come from?
The top 5 countries students are coming from are China, India, South Korea, Brazil and Saudi Arabia.
Q: What courses do students usually choose?
Students choose to take areas in various study fields, including business, engineering, medicine, information technology and languages.
Q: Do they generally have to take a language course in order to be able to join university?
Students come from a multitude of backgrounds and all international students from a non-english speaking background must meet minimum English language requirements before commencing in university. For some, students will choose to take English language studies in Brisbane prior to commencing their university program.
Q: Do you track what those students do after they completed their studies in Brisbane?
This is a very timely question. In September 2013, Study Brisbane will pilot a Brisbane international student alumni event in Hong Kong, as part of the Lord Mayor’s trade mission. Brisbane’s high achieving international student alumni have also featured in Brisbane Marketing "Choose Brisbane" offshore brand awareness and advocacy campaign. University of Queensland alumnus Nixie Lam appeared at the campaign’s launch in Hong Kong earlier in 2013.
Q: How can the student ambassador scheme benefit agents from all over the world?
Brisbane International Student Ambassadors share their study and living experiences directly with their home country networks via a range of social media platforms.
Agents can tap into this authentic word of mouth promotion in a number of ways: featuring links to Ambassador profiles in their marketing, meeting with Ambassadors returning home for holiday periods, featuring past Ambassadors as guest speakers at pre departure events, and even hiring past Ambassadors as Brisbane market specialists: we have past Ambassadors working in this capacity in both Brisbane and Indonesia.
Destination guide: Brisbane