Assessing the feasibility of a student welcome centre for the City of Melbourne

The challenge

There were 195,916 international students studying in Victoria for the January-February 2024 period, an increase by almost five per cent compared to January-February 2022 but a decrease by 21 per cent compared to January-February 2023. This was due to the latest policy changes aimed at reducing net overseas migration and tightening international student visas.

Victoria has a 30 per cent share of the overall Australian student numbers. The largest cohorts studying in Victoria are from China (22 per cent) and India (22 per cent), followed by Vietnam (6 per cent), Sri Lanka (5 per cent) and the Philippines (4 per cent).

Melbourne is recognised as Australia’s best student city and is currently the world’s fourth-best student city according to the global QS Best Student Cities Ranking. The City of Melbourne Council would like to position Melbourne as the world’s leading city for student experience in the global ranking.

The City of Melbourne’s proposed approach to enhancing the student experience addresses the key categories of the QS World Rankings that influence ‘student experience’ – diversity and inclusion, friendliness, ease of getting around, nightlife, arts and culture as well as employment opportunities.

This approach includes four main elements:

  • Advocacy. Strengthen Melbourne’s reputation as an exciting and inclusive study destination known internationally for its excellence and innovation, culture, safety, and employment opportunities after graduation.
  • Welcome and Student Wellbeing. Inspire students to have a positive experience studying, working and living in Melbourne through a comprehensive program that welcomes, supports and empowers international students.
  • Employability. Nurture international student talent, employability, entrepreneurship and leadership skills; create pathways to employment; and establish life-long relationships with international students, graduates and alumni.
  • Marketing and Promotion. Deliver a communications strategy that promotes Melbourne as a welcoming and safe city to international students and their families.

With this in mind, the Council engaged Deakin researchers to assess the feasibility of a student welcome centre in Melbourne.

Project overview

The project includes:

  • identifying international student support needs
  • seeking views from stakeholders regarding how to effectively cater for international students and whether a student welcome centre is needed
  • identifying how such a centre can provide effective and sustainable support services.

The project involves the following activities:

  • A systemic review
    The project will provide a systemic review and desktop analysis of the existing research and good practices in international student support in Australia and internationally.
  • Consultation strategy
    The project will involve a collaborative workshop with key stakeholders to understand international students’ needs and the feasibility of a student support centre. Stakeholders include international students and graduates, domestic students, education providers and professional and community organisations.


The final report will bring together the key findings of the systemic review and consultation workshop. Based on the research data collected, it will make recommendations regarding what the needs of international students are in the current changing context, whether a student welcome centre is needed and if so, what it looks like, how it can be sustained in response to student needs and who should be involved.

Project team

Professor Ly Tran
Danielle Hartridge
Dr Diep Nguyen


City of Melbourne


29 January 2024 to 30 October 2024


international education, international students, welcome centre, City of Melbourne