More students from Hong Kong have chosen an Australian university education in the past decade or so. Their reasons include Australia's proximity to Asia, its culture and the solid reputation of its higher educational institutes. Monash University is a popular choice, while more students are interested in programmes offered by Queensland University of Technology (QUT), which has seen a 6 per cent growth in applications from Hong Kong this year. 'The growth may be due to the increasing popularity of Australia as an overseas study destination for Hong Kong students and the rising profile of QUT in the region,' says Annie Chan, international business development co-ordinator at the university's faculties of business, and science and technology. QUT is a member of the Australian Technology Network, an influential alliance of prominent universities focused on building strategic partnerships and undertaking solutions-based research. It has a student population of 40,000, of whom about 15 per cent are international students from about 90 countries, including about 350 students from Hong Kong. The university encourages students to interact with local and overseas students. The university offers more than 650 undergraduate and postgraduate study options, English-language courses and foundation programmes. Programmes offered by QUT's business school, which has been accredited by the Association of MBAs, the European Foundation for Management Development (EQUIS), and the United States-based Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, are among the most popular choices for Hong Kong students. Other programmes sought by Hong Kong students include creative industries, architectural studies, design, nursing, nutrition and dietetics, psychology, pharmacy and applied science, including environmental science and forensic science. 'Hong Kong students choose these programmes due to their personal interest or career goals and the demand in the job market in Hong Kong,' Chan says. QUT has a five-star rating for graduates getting a job, according to the 2011 Good Universities Guide. 'The good mix of theory and practical experience in courses, excellent graduate employment rate, professional recognition for programmes, global connections and world-class record in applied research help QUT attract quality students,' Chan says. Melbourne-based Monash University has almost 60,000 students, including 1,500 from Hong Kong. 'Monash University is Australia's largest university and a member of Australia's Group of Eight universities, recognised for excellence in research and teaching,' says Anthony Chiu, marketing and client relations manager at the Australian Education Consultancy. 'The university is well known for its innovative approach to teaching and research, and Monash graduates' skills and expertise are coveted by employers across the world. Monash designs its courses so that graduates are equipped to meet industry requirements.' Monash University offers a wide range of programmes of different disciplines across eight campuses and 10 faculties. Business courses, such as accounting and finance, are the most popular among Hong Kong students. 'Monash's faculty of business and economics offers a wide range of majors and has received global recognition for its high-quality teaching and research,' Chiu says. The faculty offers courses accredited by EQUIS and the Association of MBAs. 'The faculty has developed extensive links with business faculties, corporations and government bodies around the world, offering a wide range of opportunities to staff and students to develop and broaden their research and study experience,' Chiu says. To ensure international students are able to fit into a new environment, the Australian culture and with university life, Monash University has introduced a series of programmes to ease their transition and enhance the international student experience, including cultural and educational adjustment programmes and student support services. Monash College offers pathway programmes to prepare students for entry into Monash University. Its diplomas give students access to the first or second year of degrees in arts and design, business, engineering and information technology. English-language courses are also offered to prepare students for entry into a degree or a pathway programme. The university's foundation year bridges the gap between the students' highest qualification and their first-year studies at Monash University. The course is a generalist pre-university year that guarantees direct entry into all 10 faculties at Monash University on achievement of all entry requirements, Chiu says.