Deciding Where To Study In Australia: Sydney vs Melbourne

Kangaroo looks on, standing on a beach, clear blue ocean and islands in the background.

If you’re considering embarking on an international study journey Down Under, you’ve probably found yourself wondering, “where should I study in Australia?” or “should I study in Sydney or Melbourne?”. It’s a tough question to answer!

Deciding between our two major cities can be a daunting choice as there are many similarities and differences between them. But don’t worry — ACAP is here to help you navigate your options.

Keep reading to learn more about Sydney and Melbourne, including their differences in lifestyle, transport, ACAP campus locations, student accommodation, and more!

Liveability and Lifestyle
Melbourne and Sydney are often compared side-by-side, and for good reason — both cities have so much to offer when it comes to living, working and studying.

Both cities have an endless array of multicultural food options, enriching museums, buzzing pubs and clubs, and expansive outdoor spaces. The key difference between Sydney and Melbourne is in the day-to-day lifestyle.

If the water is calling your name, Sydney is the city for you. Encircled by the iconic Darling Harbour, the Sydney region is home to over 100 beautiful beaches including Bondi, Manly, and Bronte. This gives Sydney a laidback feel while still delivering the best of city life.

If you’d prefer to spend your days soaking up local arts and culture, Melbourne is the place to be. Consistently ranked Australia’s most liveable city*, Melbourne is famous for its laneway street art, live music scene, and constant influx of diverse exhibitions and events.

One thing’s for sure — whether you choose to live and study in Melbourne or Sydney, you’ll have plenty of new and exciting places to explore each weekend!

Student Accommodation
Each year, thousands of international students choose to call Sydney or Melbourne their home, making both cities ideal locations for affordable accommodation.

While living in the heart of the city often comes with a higher price tag, choosing student accommodation in a neighbouring suburb or sharing a home with fellow students can dramatically reduce your living costs.

As a guide, a single student living away from home will need to budget $2,500 – $4,000 each month in addition to course fees to cover general living expenses such as accommodation, food and clothing, transport and entertainment (Study Australia, May 2024).

The Study Australia website, including their cost of living calculator, is a great resource designed to give you a broad estimate of potential costs in Australia.

ACAP Campuses
When it comes to convenient campus locations, ACAP is hard to beat. Our Melbourne and Sydney campuses are each situated in the bustling heart of their respective cities, close to local attractions, public transport, and every amenity you could need.

A short stroll either side of our Melbourne campus will take you to the iconic Federation Square or Queen Victoria Market, while ACAP Sydney overlooks picturesque Hyde Park and is just minutes from the water — both perfect locations for taking a refreshing break between classes.

If you’re still asking yourself, “what should I study in Australia?”, we’ve got you covered! Our Sydney and Melbourne ACAP campuses offer a range of courses across disciplines including psychology, counselling, social work, criminology, and more.

We recommend exploring our popular Master of Social Work (Qualifying) or Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy programs as a starting point.

Both Melbournians and Sydneysiders are fortunate to have well-connected public transport systems, making it effortless to discover what each city and its surrounding areas have to offer.

With buses, trains, ferries, bikeways and footpaths easily accessible in both locations, plus the additional option of a comprehensive tram network in Melbourne, students are often able to avoid the costs of owning and running a personal vehicle.

These public transport networks also offer regional lines, allowing you to comfortably explore areas outside the CBD — including making a visit to Phillip Island or St Kilda from Melbourne, and taking a day trip to the Central Coast or the Blue Mountains from Sydney.

Weather and Climate
While Sydney and Melbourne aren’t too far apart on a map of Australia, they tend to have distinct differences in their weather conditions.

As a coastal location renowned for its outdoor activities, Sydney enjoys a mild, sunny climate year-round. In contrast, Melbourne is slightly more unpredictable and known for experiencing ‘four seasons in one day’.

Both cities will see hot summers and brisk winters, so it’s recommended that you’re prepared for whatever the weather might send your way.

Choosing Where to Study in Australia: Our Final Thoughts
Now that you’ve compared Sydney and Melbourne side-by-side, we hope you’re one step closer to making an informed decision about which Aussie city is right for you.

Both locations offer excellent amenities and transport options, with endless eateries, events and surrounding areas to explore. However, each city has its own unique lifestyle on offer, with Melbourne boasting an incredible arts and culture scene and Sydney being a better fit for those who enjoy being beachside.

It’s a difficult choice to make, but rest assured — whether you choose to study with ACAP in Sydney or Melbourne, your Australian adventure will be the experience of a lifetime!


Apply today to start your ACAP journey.

*Economist Intelligence Unit Global Liveability Index 2023

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