As Australia’s third most populous city, Brisbane has plenty to offer prospective students from all over the world. Located in the southeast corner of Queensland, the state of five out of 11 of Australia’s World Natural Heritage areas, including the Scenic Rim National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef, Brisbane is only a short drive or flight away from these wonders. Brisbane has some excellent higher education institutions that are popular choices for many international students.
Are you considering studying in Brisbane? Let’s explore some of the things you need to know about student life here.
Top Reasons to Study in Brisbane
- Brisbane is the capital of the ‘sunshine state’ of Queensland. The city has more than 300 days of sunshine in a year, with a subtropical climate and warm days throughout most of the year.
- The city of Brisbane is home to one of the best 50 universities in the world. Such as the University of Queensland (UQ).
- Brisbane is a melting pot of different cultures, with around 33% of its population born outside Australia. Year-round, you will find various cultural events such as the BrisAsia festival, Paniyiri Greek Festival, the Brisbane International Film Festival, and more.
- Brisbane loves art galleries. The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art showcase internationally renowned collections of art and exhibitions from Australia, Asia and the Pacific.
- Brisbane houses the largest and oldest koala sanctuary in the world. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary has more than 70 species of Australian native animals and hosts a variety of activities where visitors can interact with them.
- Brisbane is one of Australia’s largest business hubs. Many large companies, such as Domino’s Pizza Enterprises, Virgin Australia, and Boeing Australia, have headquarters here.
- You can enjoy time in nature without leaving the city. Brisbane has more than 2100 parks that are maintained by the city council. They make for the perfect meeting place or the place to enjoy time relaxing by yourself.
- There are several islands near the coast of Brisbane waiting to be explored. You can check out Moreton Island, North Stradbroke Island, and Bribie Island for the best getaway when you need a quick escape from the hustle and bustle.
Best Universities in Brisbane
Some of the best universities in Australia are situated in Brisbane. The city is known for its excellent schools and its inclusive approach to international students.
Here are some of the best universities to consider in Brisbane:
University of Queensland (UQ)
The University of Queensland (UQ) is ranked in the top 50 universities worldwide and is one of the leading research and teaching institutions in Australia. With around 21,000 international students in just 2022, this university is a place of global experiences and high teaching standards. UQ offers various undergraduate, postgraduate, and research programs to suit any student.
The university consists of the following main faculties:
- Faculty of Business, Economics and Law
- Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
- Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
- Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
- Faculty of Medicine
- Faculty of Science
UQ also consists of five research institutes:
- Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
- Institute for Molecular Biosciences
- Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
- Queensland Brain Institute
- Sustainable Minerals Institute
Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is another excellent university in Brisbane, ranking among the top global universities. Founded in 1989, QUT continuously contributes to Australian and global society through growing research output and transforming education. Here, you can choose from numerous undergraduate, postgraduate, and online courses, as well as various research fields.
QUT is divided into these main faculties:
- Faculty of Business and Law
- Faculty of Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice
- Faculty of Engineering
- Faculty of Health
- Faculty of Science
Founded in 1975, Griffith University has grown into an innovative tertiary education institution offering more than 200 degrees to its students. Whether it’s an undergraduate, postgraduate, or research program you’re interested in, Griffith University offers a wide range of them. The university offers plenty of support for its students, be it orientation, English language support, welfare and personal issues, and much more.
Griffith University consists of four main academic groups comprising a wide range of schools and departments:
- Arts, Education and Law
- Griffith Business School
- Griffith Health
- Griffith Sciences
Student Life in Brisbane
Brisbane is a busy city with countless attractions and plenty of student-centred activities. Queensland was home to around 91,633 international students in 2022, and the majority of these are situated in Brisbane.
When you move abroad, there are many cases when you will need extra support. Study Queensland is a State Government organisation that promotes studying in Queensland and offers support for international students. You can also check with the university you’re enrolled in since many universities offer services such as help with accommodation, scholarships, English language courses, finding a job, and more.
Food, Drink, and Entertainment
When you move to Brisbane, you’ll find that the city is a foodie’s paradise. Some of the best restaurants here include Alchemy Restaurant and Bar Brisbane and Bacchus for modern Australian cuisine, Otto, Massimo Restaurant & Bar, Olive & Angelo for Italian food, Donna Chang for Chinese dishes, Greenglass and La Vue Waterfront Restaurant for French cuisine, and more.
For cheap eats, some local favourites include Taro’s Ramen, Steamed, Melt Brothers Toasties & Espresso, Red Hook, and Boo’s Kitchen. If you’re looking for places to get your daily dose of coffee or do some work on your laptop, some lovely coffee shops in Brisbane include Coffee Mentality, Bellissimo Coffee, Coffee Anthology, Coffee Iconic, and Blackstar Coffee Roasters.
Working While Studying
Many students work while studying in Brisbane, so you’ll be glad to know that the city’s growing local economy welcomes new workers. Some of the main economic sectors include healthcare, energy, ICT, agriculture, hospitality, and education. Read this guide for more information on how to find work while you’re on a student visa in Australia.
Top Things To See and Do in Brisbane
When you make it to Brisbane, it’s worth exploring the city in your free time. Some main attractions and things to do in Brisbane include:
- South Bank Parklands
- Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt. Coot-tha
- Roma Street Parkland
- Mount Coot-Tha Summit Lookout
- The Brisbane River
- Gallery of Modern Art
- Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
- City Hopper
- Queensland Museum
- Museum of Brisbane
- Story Bridge
- State Library Of Queensland
- Opal Museum
- Story Bridge Adventure Climb
Public Transportation in Brisbane
Brisbane’s public transportation system is top-notch, so you’ll easily commute to classes even if your accommodation is not in walking distance. The Translink Journey Planner allows you to plan ahead by checking your route from a specific place to your destination. You can use the TransLink network of buses, trains, and ferries through pre-paid paper tickets or the go card (recommended). You can buy the go card online or through retailers.
Concessions for transport fares are available for eligible full-time university, TAFE, and post-secondary students in Queensland. A lot of students also prefer to bike around time through Lime Micromobility’s shared e-bikes and scooters. For domestic and international flights, Brisbane Airport is the closest and biggest airport in the area.
Cost of Living in Brisbane
While living in Brisbane is not exactly cheap, it is the cheapest city out of the major Australian cities. Your cost of living expenses vary heavily depending on your lifestyle and accommodation, however, if you budget and work part-time or have savings, you can live comfortably in Brisbane.
In general, you can expect to pay around AUD $3,000 to $3,500 to live in Brisbane. You can calculate your living expenses depending on your lifestyle and accommodation through this cost of living calculator.
Brisbane Student Accommodation
As is the case with other student cities in Australia, Brisbane offers plenty of accommodation options for international students. Some of the most popular types of accommodation here are university-provided accommodation, private rentals, purpose-built student accommodation, and homestay.
Note: All rates presented below are $AUD.
Two out of the three main universities in Brisbane offer on-campus accommodation.
University of Queensland
The University of Queensland (UQ) offers quite a few on-campus accommodation options. You can choose from the ten colleges listed below. These colleges offer catered and non-catered as well as single-sex or gender-inclusive options. The prices for this type of accommodation range from $380 per week to $720 per week.
- Cromwell College
- Duchesne College
- Emmanuel College
- Grace College
- International House
- King’s College
- St John’s College
- St Leo’s College
- The Women’s College
- Union College
For students seeking an independent living style, UQ Residences and UQ Houses offer this type of accommodation. The accommodation fees for the cheapest options at these types of student residences range between $319 per week and $360 per week in UQ Residences and $220 per week, and $190 per week in UQ Houses, depending on location.
The Brisbane on-campus accommodation types at Griffith University include the Nathan campus dormitory (Bellenden Ker) and Nathan campus flats at KGBC college (Barakula, Kinaba, Girraween and Carnarvon). Accommodation fees at Bellenden Ker start from $175 per week, whereas room fees at Barakula, Kinaba and Girraween range between $171 to $179 per week, and fees at Carnarvon start at $179 per week.
Private Flat & House-Sharing
Some students find private flats or house-sharing to be a more convenient accommodation option in Brisbane. If you prefer living with someone you know or finding a roommate through different resources in-person or online, then this option might suit you. Check out websites such as Flatmates.com.au, Realestate.com.au, Domain.com.au or local Facebook groups such as Yoho Rentals Brisbane. Prices for rooms in private flats or houses depend on the location and the amenities included; however, they typically range from $220 to $300 per week.
Purpose-Built Student Accommodation
There is a good deal of options available for purpose-built student accommodation in Brisbane. This type of accommodation is specifically built by developers to provide housing for students. Some of the main companies that provide this type of accommodation in Brisbane are:
- Durack College
- Raymont Residential College
- Student One $379 $289
- UniLodge $209
Room fees at purpose-built student apartments vary depending on the location, type of accommodation, and how many students you share an apartment/complex with. The cheapest prices are typically around $250 per week, whereas the average is around $350 per week.
If you would like to share a home with a local family where you pay a fee for accommodation (usually a private room in a home), then the homestay accommodation type may be for you.
Some resources where you can find such an arrangement include the Australian Homestay Network, Brisbane Homestay, Homestay.com, and Homestayin. Fees for homestay rooms can typically range from $220 to $300, depending on the location and packages.
If you’re down for living in a city with amazing weather, superior schools, and countless attractions, Brisbane is the place for you. If you decide to study here, we hope the information we shared is helpful.