Caption: Amanda Hodges, Deputy Counsel General and Trade Commissioner at the Australian Trade Commission, Dubai Supplied Picture Image Credit:

Australia is a great place to live — it’s officially the fourth happiest country in the world — but do you know Australia also offers a world-class international education?

Australia has produced scientists, designers, educators, entrepreneurs, artists and humanitarians who have changed the world, winning awards from the Oscars to Nobel prizes. Australia’s global achievements include the ‘black box’ flight recorder, now on every airplane, the annual ‘Earth Hour Initiative’ and even the invention of wi-fi. Australia is proud of the individuals who have studied and worked in the country and gone on to achieve great things and contribute to making the world a better place.

A research-intensive country

Australia has a lengthy and proud tradition of world-class research and development that has benefited millions of people, both in Australia and the world. From the development of penicillin in 1945 and the discovery of acquired immunological tolerance in 1960, through to observations that led to the discovery of the accelerating universe in 2011, Australia has a distinguished record of contributing to the wider benefit of the world and it is maintaining that record of achievement through Investments such as:

• A$104 million (Dh367 million) to recruit world-class researchers to Australia through its Federation Fellowships.

• The establishment of 35 special Research Centres and Key Centres of Teaching and Research at Australian universities undertaking high-level research, and providing a diverse range of undergraduate, postgraduate and specialised professional education courses in a variety of fields.

• The established 63 Cooperative Research Centres, which foster joint research between universities and private industry.

With around 50,000 people in higher education organisations involved in research and development, Australia has strong research and development capabilities. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the biggest government R&D agency in Australia, is one of the world’s largest and most diverse research institutions. It’s involved in more than 740 research activities with scientific organisations and agencies in more than 80 countries and undertakes research in fields such as health, agribusiness, information technology, manufacturing, sustainable energy, mining and minerals, space, the environment and natural resources.

A unique learning environment

Australia is a recognised leader in the delivery of high-quality education services to international students. In 2012, more than 400,000 international students from around 190 different countries chose to study in Australia.

Students from the Middle East and North Africa

There were 24,550 students enrolled in Australia from the Middle East and North Africa (Mena). The majority were doing higher education (12,265 students) and English language courses (7,530 students).

Fields of Study

Society and culture courses are very popular with students from the Mena region. 8,463 students were enrolled in society and culture courses followed by management and commerce, engineering and related technologies, information technology, health, education, architecture, tourism and hospitality.

Australia’s tertiary education rankings

Australia doesn’t have a national system of ranking its tertiary education providers. Its universities are self-accrediting. But when it comes to the various world university rankings, Australia ranks consistently highly for the quality of education, student satisfaction ratings and overall global reputation.

Amongst the many university ranking systems in use around the world, three are commonly used:

•Academic Ranking of World Universities

•QS World University Rankings

•Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings

In fact, seven of Australia’s universities feature in the top-100 ranked universities in the world in the latest QS ranking (2012). And if you have a specific study area of interest, there is every chance that Australia has you covered, with at least one Australian university in the top 50 worldwide across the study areas of natural sciences and mathematics, life and agricultural sciences, clinical medicine and pharmacy and physics.

Australia also has 15 universities ranked in the Top 100 ‘under 50’ in the Times Higher Education ranking results (2012).

Australia is proud of the high rankings that its universities have earned, but more importantly it’s about what all students will receive when they study in Australia — a world-class education and opportunities for an unlimited future.

For further information, visit the official Australian government website for international students at www.studyinaustralia.gov.au/

(The writer is the Deputy Consul-General and Trade Commissioner at the Australian Trade Commission, Dubai.)