Crazy concentration of Nepalese students in NSW; even more than Indian students

By Ram Khatry
26 March 2019

International students from Nepal seem to favour New South Wales more than any other states when they decide to come to Australia for higher studies.

Although India is the second largest source country for international education which happens to be Australia’s third largest export industry, there are even more Nepalese students in NSW than their Indian counterparts.

Disparity in the distribution of Nepalese students across various states is huge. Victoria, for instance, had only 6,972 students from Nepal in December 2018 against 29,020 in New South Wales. With 3742,  Queensland came third followed by 1247 in South Australia and 1105 in Western Australia.

Their concentration in NSW is such that by the end of 2018 there were more Nepalese students in the state than their total population in the entire country the previous year.

According to data from Department of Education and Training, there were 29,020 Nepalese students in NSW alone in December 2018 whereas their number in the entire country in 2017 was only 28,482.

The president of Australian Education Consultants’ Alliance, Parashuram Adhikari, says young men and women seeking higher education in Australia naturally choose NSW because most of them already have familial connections in the state. “So what is happening over the years is that Nepalese students tend to choose NSW because most of them have a friend or relative or family already living here,” the Director of Rights & Associates Pty Ltd, an education agency in Sydney, clarified. This, Mr Adhikari remarked, gives the students as well as their guardians back home “a sense of security”.

That sense of security undoubtedly plays a vital role in choosing NSW as most of these young students, a vast number of them still in their teenage, would be travelling abroad for the first time.

Sydney-based accountant Dila Kharel, on the other hand, regards “quality of life” and “better employment opportunity with higher rate of pay” as the two main reasons why Nepalese students choose NSW over Victoria or for that mater any other states in Australia. The spokesperson for the Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) Australia further added that better school, college and universities as well as greater connectivity with rest of the world puts Sydney as their first choice.

Interestingly, Nepalese nationals form the biggest group of international students in the Northern Territory. In December 2018, there were 439 Nepalese students in the state as compared with 305 from India and 246 from China.

With only 355, the Australian Capital Territory had the smallest representation of Nepalese students.

Just how fast the number of students from the South Asian nation is growing becomes evident from the fact that in December 2017 there were 28,482 Nepalese students studying across Australia. Within a year, their number went up to 43,021.

In December 2017, Australia was providing education to 622,932 students from various parts of the world. By December 2018, that number had gone up by 70,818 putting the total number of international students in Australia at an unbelievable 693,750.

The international education industry is the third largest export industry of Australia with foreign students injecting some $32.4 billion a year.

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