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PUSHED by a Maoist insurgency in their homeland and tempted by the promise of a new, friendly country with good universities, Nepalese students are turning in growing numbers to Australia.
The latest figures from the federal Government's Australian Education International show that in the 12 months to September, commencements by students from Nepal increased by 504 per cent, or 2884 students.
AEI says Nepal is Australia's 11th biggest source country. It has the second highest growth in commencements after India.
The surge in commencements helped enrolments of Nepalese students to skyrocket by 290per cent to 7569 students in the year to September, when the overall increase in international enrolments was 7.1 per cent.
One student, Barsha Karki, told the HES that she and her friends used the internet to research their options for postgraduate study after gaining degrees at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu.
"I had to pursue further studies because they didn't have masters in engineering in Nepal so I had to look outside," she said.
"I chose UTS because it is in the city and Australia because it is regarded as less discriminating than other parts of the world."
Her expectations about Australia were affirmed.
"From my friends in class to teachers and administrative assistants in the university and strangers I meet, they are all really helpful."
Nepalese Australian Association vice-president Shamser Thapa said political instability caused by a Maoist insurgency, Australia's good education reputation and high standard of living were the main reasons for the spike.
He said students found getting a visa easier than in previous years as well.
Word of mouth helped: "Every Nepalese student who returns gives good information about Australia," said Mr Thapa, a Sydney solicitor and education agent who came to Australia 12 years ago and has residency.
Ms Karki said she had noticed more and more Nepalese in her 15 months in Sydney.
"When I first came, there used to be only a few on the trains, but now I see a Nepalese almost every hour," she said.
The federal immigration and citizenship department eased student visa rules in September.
source ( news.com.au )