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Student life in Perth

Perth is the 12th most livable city in the world (Global Liveability 2023, Economist Intelligence Unit) with more than two million people from a variety of cultures worldwide. It's also the home of The University of Western Australia. If you're an international student looking for a balanced and active lifestyle, there's no better place! Join us in the sunshine in this fast-growing and diverse city.

What's it like to live in Perth?

Experience student life at your own pace in sunny Perth. Western Australia's bustling capital has something for everyone - gorgeous natural scenery, a laid-back outdoor lifestyle and great weather all year round.

  • Multicultural and welcoming - 37% of Perth's population were born overseas, representing 190 different countries. This makes it one of the most diverse study destinations in Australia (ThinkPerth 2019).

  • Exciting exploration - Perth is less than 20 minutes from some of the best beaches and wildlife in the world, from quokkas and kangaroos to coral reefs.

  • Quality student lifestyle - Perth is cheaper than Sydney and Melbourne (Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2022, Economist Intelligence Unit) so you'll enjoy a great quality of life for less. It also shares a time zone with cities such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo.

  • Global business hotspot - producing nearly half of all Australia's exports, Perth is an economic powerhouse. A third of all ASX-listed companies are based in Western Australia, making it an ideal place for work placements, start-ups or internships.

What are the most popular things to do in Perth?

There's so much to explore around Perth, from bustling bistros to historical landmarks. Take a break from studying and experience these iconic sights.

  • Kings Park - boasting nearly 1,000 acres of grassy parkland, Kings Park is larger than New York's Central Park. Wander around its Botanic Garden or climb to the top of Jacob's Ladder for a breaktaking panorama of the city.

  • Elizabeth Quay - this newly completed waterfront development sits in the heart of the central business district. Chill out with a coffee and gelato or head up the Bell Tower for stunning views across the Swan River.

  • Rottnest Island - just a short ferry ride away from Perth is Rottnest Island; a gorgeous nature reserve ideal for sailing, snorkeling and cycling. Its must-see attraction is the native quokka - one of nature's most cheerful animals!

  • Fremantle - or 'Freo' to the locals, is one of Perth's hippest neighborhoods. Packed full of character, it's a hotspot for bookshops, galleries and coffee shops.

  • Cottesloe Beach - if sunbathing or surfing is your idea of heaven, Cottesloe Beach is one of the most popular.

Sport in Perth

Although you'll have plenty of sports facilities and clubs on campus, there are plenty of activities to do around the city. Whether you enjoy taking part or just spectating, you won't be short of things to do around Perth.

  • The WACA - home of cricket in Western Australia since 1890, this iconic ground in East Perth also hosts a cricket museum where you can learn about the history of the game.

  • The Optus Stadium - recently voted the most beautiful sports facility in the world, this 60,000 capacity stadium hosts AFL, soccer and rugby league, as well as live music concerts.

  • Beatty Park - this aquatic center was built for the 1962 Commonwealth Games. Today it houses indoor and outdoor pools alongside other state-of-the-art fitness equipment.

  • Bike Hire Perth - cycle, skate or kayak your way around Perth with this extensive bike rental service.

Where's the best place to go shopping in Perth?

Looking to relax after a day of lectures? Perth promises a truly diverse shopping experience, from massive malls to Art Deco shopping arcades and open-air street markets.

  • Murray Street Mall - this open-air mall is one of the best places for popular high street brands like Uniqlo and Zara.

  • Raine Square - with a station directly connected to Perth's Underground, Raine Square is easy to get to and offers high-end fashion and a cinema.

  • King Street - whether you're into cult streetwear or expensive labels like Chanel and Gucci, this historic cobblestone street is one of the best shopping experiences in Perth.

  • London Court - with quaint walkways inspired by Tudor England, London Court is like stepping back in time. It's also the perfect place to pick up some some classic Australian gifts, from Aboriginal art to Ugg boots.

  • Mt Hawthorn - if chic boutiques are more your style, Mt Hawthorn is one of Perth's best kept secrets. Visit Diabolik book and record store or treat yourself to a pair of Dr Martens from Tredways.

What are the main festivals and events in Perth?

Perth is home to several diverse annual festivals and events all year round, including:

  • The Perth Festival - UWA founded Australia's longest-running festival, a celebration of music, dance, visual art and theater that takes place over several weeks.

  • Fringe World - Fringe World is one of the world's largest fringe festivals, offering an exciting program of comedy, circus, cabaret, music, dance and visual media.

  • St Jerome's Laneway Festival - if you're a music fan looking to see the latest indie acts, St Jerome's takes place across all major Australian cities including Fremantle, Perth.

  • Sculpture by the Sea - this annual seaside festival has been taking place for over 20 years, making it the largest free public sculpture exhibition in the world.

How much does it cost to live in Perth as a student?

Perth beats most major Australian cities when it comes to being cost-effective, making it an ideal student-friendly city. It's more affordable than Sydney and Melbourne (Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2022, Economist Intelligence Unit).

Average costs for day-to-day life as a student will vary depending on where you live and how you budget. Costs to consider in Australian dollars:

  • Student accommodation costs - $200 to $690 per week

  • Food - $140 to $280 per week

  • Public transport - $30 to $60 per week

  • Entertainment - $80 to $150 per week

Tip: Don't forget, students can get discounts for everything from streaming services to travel.

What's the best way to travel around Perth?

Getting around Perth is easy enough when you know how, with options including bus, train and ferry. Transperth's Smartrider is a reusable card that allows you to travel across Perth's public transport network with ease, all you have to do is load it up with money and go. With plenty of student discounts and hassle-free access to Perth's free transit zone, it's the ideal option for a traveling around the city.

If you're looking to travel further afield, Perth Airport is easily reachable with regular bus services from Elizabeth Quay. You can fly directly to a number of Australian cities such as:

  • Sydney (4 hours)

  • Melbourne (3 hours 30 mins)

  • Brisbane (4 hours 20 mins)

  • Adelaide (2 hours 45 mins)

  • Cairns (4 hours 10)

You can also visit a number of major cities with direct flights to places such as:

  • Hong Kong (7 hours 30 mins)

  • Singapore (5 hours 20 mins)

  • Jakarta (4 hours 50 mins)

  • Bangkok (7 hours)

  • Tokyo (9 hours 30 mins)