International students flock back to Melbourne

24 February 2022

Give a warm welcome to international students from all over the world as they return to Melbourne in their thousands for orientation at colleges and universities. 

The pandemic saw half of Melbourne’s 52,000 international students leave the city, but they are now returning in force. More than 26,000 students have returned since December, and this number continues to grow. 

Melbourne is one of the world’s great student cities and young people from across the globe flock here to enjoy exceptional education, career and lifestyle opportunities. They love Melbourne, and the city loves them back. 

International students are not only here to study. They provide skilled workers across many industries, supercharge our startup sector, and enrich Melbourne’s vibrant multicultural communities. 

To celebrate their return, we asked some of our international student ambassadors to share their favourite places in Melbourne, and what they love about their new home.

Here’s what they had to say. 

Devendra Singh

I’m from Jaipur, India. I studied business information systems at Monash University before working at the Department of Health and launching a couple of startups. I also represent the community on some advisory committees.

Melbourne is just like a second home and the people here are just like family members – always loving and caring. My love for Melbourne has grown ever since I’ve stepped foot into this sporting capital. Festivals, sports, events and exhibitions – you name it and we have it. I love everything about Melbourne.

My favourite place in Melbourne is the banks of the Yarra river alongside Federation Square. This place gives me a sense of belonging.  I sit there for hours in the evenings to introspect in peace.

A man with a moustache sitting by the Birrarung river

Dev by the river

Kimberly Mitchiko Clemencio

I am from Manila, Philippines. I am studying community services and working as a project coordinator.

I love everything about Melbourne – cultural festivals, night markets, Victorian buildings, and the diversity in the community. There’s always something new to do every week. This is the identity of Melbourne and that is why it’s one of the most liveable city in the world.

My favourite place to visit in the city is Melbourne Skydeck. I love seeing Melbourne in a different perspective and I always bring my friends there. I also love Southbank, the Friday night buskers are bringing the city back to life.

A woman standing on a bridge, with the city skyline behind

Kimberley in Southbank

David Guerrero Torres

I am from Bogota, Colombia. I studied a Bachelor of Architectural Design at RMIT University and I’m now undertaking my masters.

I love how Melbourne is active in arts and design, and how it offers so many events that invite people to share cultural experiences. Melbourne also offers infrastructure to practice any fitness activity.

One of my favourite places in Melbourne is Carlton Gardens. This place is home to two great architectural buildings: The Royal Exhibition Building and Melbourne Museum.  It is a place where the old combines with the new. I love sitting down in the shade of the trees and contemplating extraordinary views of the city and buildings.

Ritika Saxena

I am from Lucknow, India and am currently doing a PhD in stem cell medicine. My research would one day help those patients who need a stem cell transplant by generating suitable stem cells in the lab.

I love how multicultural this city is. There is always something to do, something to see, something to experience, or (my personal favourite) something to eat from a different part of the world without having to physically travel. This has helped me increase my cultural awareness and appreciate the richness different cultures add to the fabric of life. I have absolutely loved getting to meet people from all around the world in one city.

My absolute favourite place in Melbourne is the Princes Bridge. I love to take a walk along the bridge whenever I am in the city. When possible, I catch the sunset over the river as the tall buildings glisten in the golden hour and the Yarra River flows gently under. I usually will go for a walk along the banks of the Yarra before heading back.

A woman on an urban street

Ritika enjoying the city

Jayden Huang

I am from China, and I study at Melbourne University.

I love Melbourne because it is a beautiful city. My favourite places in Melbourne are its cafes. The coffee culture in Melbourne is great for me.

My favourite café in the city is Rustica Melbourne Central. They have friendly staff and great food. They are absolutely amazing. 

Ivan Lee

I am from the Philippines. I finished my Diploma of Leadership and Management and planning to do a higher education eventually for my professional growth.

I love that Melbourne is one of the best cities in the world, and I enjoy how culturally diverse my new home is – with welcoming people, vibrant places and tasty foods.

Queen Victoria Market is one of my most favourite places in the city. This major landmark has a wide variety of quality produce and food items. Aside from helping out our local farmers, you can shop here at a cheaper price.

A man in a flat cap in an urban alley

Ivan at Queen Victoria Market

Tarzon Budhathoki

I am from Nepal and I studied a Bachelors of Engineering Technology, focusing on telecommunications.

One of the things that I love most about Melbourne is the city’s multicultural environment. It is a place where there is so much mutual respect. 

Yarra Promenade is one of my favourite places in Melbourne. One of the reasons I love Yarra Promenade is because of the view of the river and the amazing night view of city lights reflected in the water.

Giannina Matto Pérez

I am from Paraguay and I am enrolled on a Masters of Public Policy and Management at the University of Melbourne.

I love how welcoming Melbourne is to cultural diversity leading to a vast array of cuisines, arts, sports, entertainment and more, which are coupled with a brilliant provision of public services.

My favourite place in Melbourne has to be the Skydeck at the Eureka Tower. I am in love with that stunning view of the city and I strongly recommend waiting for the sunset. Another must is the Van Gogh exhibition at the LUME, describing it as exquisite is an understatement.

A woman in a high building overlooking a city

Giannina at the Skydeck

Alex Fernando Gutierrez

I’m originally from Colombia. I am an architect and currently studying an Advanced Diploma in Program Management.

I love the fact that Melbourne is such a multicultural and vibrant city. There is always something going on. Melbourne matches my personality in so many ways. I love learning about cultures, arts and so on, and I can enjoy all of this here in Melbourne.

It’s hard to choose my favourite place in Melbourne, but I would choose the Shrine of Remembrance. This place not only commemorates those Victorians who gave their lives when defending the nation, but also how brave and resilient Victorians are, and we’ve been able to see that during the pandemic. And it’s a place you where you can get breathtaking views of the city skyline, especially at sunrise or sunset.

Don Doughty

I am originally from Sabah, Malaysia, and currently studying for a Bachelors of Business Management and working with The Huddle (North Melbourne Football Club) as the international student liaison.

I was always told about the fun and chill environment of Melbourne. Since arriving in 2017, I’ve realised that there is so much more to it – this is a vibrant city with an inclusive culture for international students. 

My favourite places in Melbourne are Eureka 89 restaurant, Arbory Afloat on the Yarra River and, most of all, Lui Bar at 525 Collins Street.  

Learn more

We are delighted to welcome international students back to help reignite the city and council offers many year-round programs to help them feel at home.

To find out more, visit International students.

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