If you are an international student planning on studying in Perth, you are in for a treat! The city is a great study destination with excellent quality of life, culture, and infrastructure.
We had a chat with Carolyn Tan, a graduate of the Western Australian Universities’ Foundation Program (WAUFP) program at Canning College. The WAUFP was Carolyn’s pathway to university, and she is now studying a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism at Curtin University.
Originally from Labuan in East Malaysia, she has lived in Perth for almost three years now and has a lot of great suggestions for international students looking to explore the city and its surroundings. Her time at Canning College was especially beneficial in helping her adapt to her new home.
“Canning College offers many opportunities for international students to familiarise themselves with Western Australia by hosting many events that allow international students to gain a better understanding of Perth,” she shares.
We’ve put together a list of eight things international students must do in Perth in 2022.
London Court is a charming European style open-roofed shopping arcade located between Hay St Mall and St Georges Terrace.
Carolyn says, “It’s a very photogenic spot and makes for a great outing with friends, right in the heart of the city.”
Don’t forget to pop into the quaint shops to buy souvenirs or grab a coffee, and check out the cute clock towers with their unique chimes.
Located near the University of Western Australia, this picturesque spot has earned the title of being the hottest selfie spot on Instagram. The 90-year-old blue boathouse, located at the end of a pier, is one of Perth’s iconic must-sees.
“The Blue Boat House is a unique attraction to check out in Perth, but it can get a bit windy so bring a windcheater,” Carolyn advises.
Perth is also a great city for food lovers. “If you’re looking to have a great time with friends at a place with good vibes, and to eat excellent food that comes in big portion sizes served by great staff, try Pancho’s Mexican Villa at Victoria Park,” Carolyn says.
For something a bit more fancy, head to Firewater Grille for a nice steak. The Meat & Wine Co is another fantastic high-end dining option.
It is always exciting to explore a city’s secret spots, and Carolyn’s top recommendation is the S&R Orchard.
“It’s really peaceful…you can enjoy fruit picking, the prettiest pictures around the orchard and even tractor rides. They’re open seasonally so you’ll have to keep an eye out for [events].”
Carolyn recommends following Perth is OK or Urban List Perth to stay up to date with the city’s events and happenings.
“Keep up with the updates from local clubs, societies and associations as they regularly host events, and this is a great way to make new friends. I used to go event hopping through these [student] clubs when I first came and that’s how I met a lot of my current friends,” Carolyn says.
There are lots of events popping up in Perth, such as the Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel exhibition in Fremantle and the multi-sensory Van Gogh Alive experience. So be sure to check them out while they last.
Perth’s metro and regional areas both offer scenic parks and walking trails for those who enjoy the outdoors. The parks are ideal for hosting a barbecue, riding a bike, and taking pleasure in the ample walking paths along the river. There are also many walking trails close to the city for those looking to get close to nature.
“I would often head down to Mill Point Swan River with my friend and enjoy a picnic sitting on the bench while watching the ducks float in the water against the scenic city skyline. I can’t recommend this enough to other international students, especially after a busy week of assignments,” Carolyn says.
Carolyn’s recommendation to international students is to not limit themselves to exploring just the city.
“Students should take the opportunity to go out of Perth city and visit the other wonders of Western Australia, such as Busselton, Margaret River, and the Pinnacles,” she says.
One of her fondest memories of her time at Canning College involves meeting a quokka – the happiest animal on earth!
“[Canning College] gave us a chance to visit Rottnest Island! Tickets to Rotto are usually very expensive, but they managed to get us very cheap tickets! I had a great time there with my mates,” she shares.
There are some great adventure sports you can do, too, like sandboarding at the Pinnacles, and outer regional areas make for a great camping trip with friends. And don’t forget to look up at the star-studded night sky!
It can be a bit frightening to make the transition from where you’ve come from, and you may not have a lot of friends or family when you first arrive. This might lead you to feel homesick. Carolyn’s advice is to not stay cooped up indoors.
“Push yourself to discover what Perth has to offer. You might end up having fun, making new friends, and a lot of wonderful memories.”
Starting her international student journey at Canning College was particularly helpful when it came to meeting new people.
“The friends I made [at Canning College] helped make it such a memorable year for me.”
Finally, Carolyn recommends international students seek a part-time job while studying. Not only will this be excellent for gaining work experience, but the money earned can help you explore all that Perth and its surroundings have to offer.