The Latin American cultural presence in Australia goes beyond Zumba classes and fancy tacos. It's no wonder we hear more Spanish and Portuguese in the streets: the proportion of Latin American students in Australia has been steadily growing in the last seven years.
The number of student visas issued to Latin American citizens rose 34% between 2006-07 and 2012-13. Chileans, Brazilians, Venezuelans, Peruvians, Ecuadorians, Mexicans and Colombians hold 8.1% of all student visas granted in 2012-13, up from 6% seven years ago, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection reports. Although Asian students still comprise the vast majority of student visa holders (19.9% from China alone), the proportion of Latin Americans has been growing every year.
Professor Anthony Welch, a University of Sydney expert in international education, believes the trend in part reflects Australia's growing recognition that the Latin region has been overlooked in the past in Australia’s attempts to market its education system internationally. "On the other side, it marks the impact of certain governments’ provision of scholarships, to enable students to go abroad and study," he said.