Studying abroad is a wonderful experience but for international students in Australia, particularly those from countries where English is not the dominant language, it can be tough initially. To help make the process a little easier, we’ve put together a guide that covers food, religion, cultural support and language.
Statistics from the Australian Department of Education and Training have identified that Nepal is now the third largest student contributor to Australia, beating out countries such as Malaysia and Brazil. Nepali students represent six per cent or just under 50,000 of Australia’s international student population in 2018, a 52 per cent increase on figures recorded in 2017.
Whether you’re hungry for some gorkhali lamb and sel roti or are just craving a plate of chicken momos, you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to Nepalese food in Australia. If you’re living and studying in Melbourne, try Nepal Dining Room or Momo Station. Sydneysiders should visit The Muglan and Hamro Aangan, while those staying in Brisbane can check out Himalayan Café and Kathmandu Newa Chhe’n. Adelaide’s Nepalese food scene offers up Gurkha’s Restaurant and Namaste, and try to visit Himalayan Nepalese Restaurant and Café or Summit Nepalese if you’ll be in Perth. Hobart residents can dine at Danphe Restaurant or Kathmandu Cuisine, and make sure you try Origin Nepal or Chomolungma Cuisine in Canberra, the nation’s capital. For those studying in Australia’s Top End, schedule in a visit to Spice of Himalaya or Kebab and Momo House in Darwin.
Hindu is the major religion of Nepal, and it’s also the fifth most popular religious affiliation in Australia. You will find Hindu temples in every capital city, as well as information on religious events and festivals through the Nepalese Hindu Society of Australia. Followers of Islam and Buddhism should know that that there are many places of worship and religious societies available to them around Australia, as these religions are some of the country’s most practiced faiths.
There are many nationwide and state-specific support networks available to Australia’s growing Nepali population. Nepalese Australian Association (NAA) and Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) can provide assistance and support to Nepalis living in Australia, while you can also find state and city based groups such as Nepalese Community in Sydney, Nepalese Association of Victoria (NAV), Nepalese Association of Queensland (NAQ), Nepali Association of Western Australia (NAWA) and Australia-Nepal Friendship Society Canberra (ANFS). It’s also a good idea to ask your institution about any Nepali student societies, and don’t be afraid to research support groups on social media outlets such as Facebook or Instagram.
Nepali is the mother tongue of Nepal, with nearly 12 million people nominating it as their first language in the 2011 Census. Maithili, Bhojpuri, Tharu and Tamang are other popular languages, with each having over one million native speakers. The 2016 Australian Census found that just over 62,000 Australians speak Nepali at home, while Indo-Aryan languages are less common – only 1,391 respondents claimed to speak dialects such as Maithili and Bhojpuri.