In July 2020, the Study Australia Partnership commenced an onshore international student sentiment survey series. Across four quarterly national surveys in 2020-21, the project will provide insights into the student experience, identify student preferences and gaps in access to information on major issues of concern, and help shape more effective student communications at government and provider level.

Despite the uncertain, restrictive and drastically changed study and living experience in Australia due to COVID-19, results from the first national survey show that international students currently residing here remain generally positive about their experience, for now. However, many believe their situation is getting worse, with the inability to support themselves financially being the major concern.

Key findings from the first quarterly survey report include:

  • Of the surveyed international students currently in Australia, 79 per cent intend to complete their studies here
  • Education institutions are the most used, preferred and trusted sources of information on student issues while in Australia
  • Government information sources, online or offline, are perceived to be helpful and trusted
  • Government digital channels are the most frequently used to access information about COVID-19
  • Key issues include finding information on employment and financial security, experiencing isolation and safety concerns

Evidence-based understanding of international students’ concerns will inform and help improve sector response measures designed to bolster Australia’s reputation as a safe and welcoming education destination. The surveys are completed online and open to international students over 16 years of age, currently in Australia. At the end of each survey, respondents are guided to the Study Australia website containing information on student support, as well as state and territory measures.

Thanks to excellent sector distribution support, the first quarterly survey in July 2020 received almost 7,500 responses, with a second survey planned for release in October 2020. In response to the findings of the first survey, our next survey will focus on employment-related information and concerns.


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