Life in this Australian city does not live up to expectations, say overseas female students in a survey that revealed "international students have been seriously affected by the current housing situation in Melbourne".
In a report by the Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women's Coalition that involved interviews with 17 women, all but one respondent said Melbourne was a "tolerant and multicultural place". But, 11 of them believed their ethnicity had negatively affected their "chances in life" in Australia, The Age said Sunday.
The survey comes at a time when the problems being faced by international students have become an issue across the country.
Premier of Australian state of Victoria John Brumby had flown to India last month to reassure officials that they were taking action to protect Indian students after a number of racially motivated attacks.
There have been a string of attacks on Indian students over the past three months, causing an uproar in India.
One of the key findings of the report, launched Saturday, was that "international students have been particularly seriously affected by the current housing situation in Melbourne".
A number of those interviewed said they felt real estate agents were reluctant to rent properties to them, forcing them to live in substandard accommodation, the media report said.
Melba Marginson, executive director of the Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women's Coalition, says more support services need to be put in place for foreign students.
"The government needs to do more to support foreign students, especially female students? as they are also discriminated against because of their gender.
"These women should be respected for the contribution they are making to Australian society and not just for the fees they are paying," The Age quoted her as saying.
The international education industry is worth $15 billion in Australia.
While in India, Brumby announced a $14 million package to shore up the lucrative international student market.