What Drives International Students to Choose Australia as Their Tertiary Education Destination?

A Synthesis of Empirical Evidence


  • Nguyen Thi Ngoc Ha Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
  • Cuong Huu Hoang Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
  • Elizabeth Knight Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
  • Peter Hurley Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia




systematic literature review, international students, push and pull framework, study destination, Australia, higher education, tertiary education


This systematic literature review synthesizes empirical evidence to comprehensively examine factors driving international students’ choice of Australia as their preferred destination for tertiary education. Deductive analysis of findings from the 46 selected studies, framed within the push and pull framework, identified 27 factors that revealed Australia’s distinctive attractiveness to international students. The results of this review reaffirmed the strengths of Australia’s environmental images in the international tertiary education market, highlighting that it could be a double-edged sword. The review discusses Australia’s attractiveness, especially after the COVID-19 crisis and suggests strategies to make the international education sector more sustainable. This review provides implications for policy, practice, and future research that are of importance to work towards enhancing Australia’s intake of international education. Additionally, it serves as a valuable resource for those seeking guidance on effectively attracting international students in the post-pandemic era.

Author Biographies

Nguyen Thi Ngoc Ha, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

NGUYEN THI NGOC HA, PhD, is a Research Fellow in the Mitchell Institute for Education and Health Policy at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia. Her major research interests lie in the area of work-integrated learning, higher education, graduate employability, transition from education to work and vice versa. Email: ha.nguyen@vu.edu.au

Cuong Huu Hoang, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

CUONG HUU HOANG, PhD, is a research officer at CIRES, Victoria University and an adjunct lecturer at Faculty of Foreign Language, Ho Chi Minh Open University. His research interests include internationalization in higher education, academic identity, academic professional development, and second language teaching. Email: sam.hoang@vu.edu.au

Elizabeth Knight, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

ELIZABETH KNIGHT, PhD, is a Senior Research Fellow in the Mitchell Institute for Education and Health Policy at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia. Her major research interests lie in the area of higher vocational education, career development, disability rights, qualification reform, and higher education. Email: lizzie.knight@vu.edu.au

Peter Hurley, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

PETER HURLEY, PhD, is the Director of the Mitchell Institute for Education and Health Policy at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia. His major research interests lie in the area of higher education policy, vocational education and training policy, international education systems. Email: peter.hurley@vu.edu.au


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How to Cite

Ha, N. T. N., Hoang, C. H., Knight, E., & Hurley, P. (2023). What Drives International Students to Choose Australia as Their Tertiary Education Destination? A Synthesis of Empirical Evidence. Journal of International Students, 13(4), 146–168. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v14i4.5983



Research Articles (English)