A website designed to attract international students to Australia has reported a huge spike in hits following the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the US.
Chris Lester, chief executive of Good Education Group, said traffic to its Studies in Australia site peaked after the election and now sat at about twice the November average.
Mr Lester said there were many signs pointing to a boost in international students from non-traditional countries.
“Despite being the world’s fourth most popular study destination behind Britain, France and the US, Australia’s $20 billion-a-year international education sector is not so much ‘international’ as it is Asian,” Mr Lester said.
He pointed to a survey in May that asked 40,000 prospective international students from all across the world about their attitude towards a potential Trump presidency. Sixty per cent of the respondents said they would be less likely to attend a US college if the controversial businessman ended up in the White House.
“Similarly, a post-Brexit survey of 1000 international students found that 41 per cent were less inclined to study in Britain because the country felt ‘less welcoming’,” Mr Lester said.
“Australia featured prominently among the alternatives they listed, along with other countries like the US, New Zealand and Canada.”
He said with two-thirds of the overseas students in Australia coming from Southeast Asia, China and India, there appeared to be vast potential in tapping into Europe, Africa, North and South America and the Middle East.
“Middle Eastern students may feel less inclined to live in Trump’s America, which presents an opportunity for Australia,” Mr Lester said.
“Some 60,000 Saudi Arabian students currently call the US home, but this number may be affected pending how the Trump administration implements its controversial immigration policy agenda.
“Given the current global political environment, now is the time for Australian university recruiters to look beyond Asia and capitalise on Australia’s prime position as an alternative welcoming destination for students looking to study abroad.”
This article originally appeared in the Australian – Overseas students shift focus to Australia after Trump election
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