Codey Herrmann, 21, attacked Aya Maasarwe near a university in Melbourne in January.
The killing sparked a wave of anger about violence towards women in Australia, prompting vigils which were attended by thousands of people.
A judge jailed Herrmann for a maximum of 36 years, calling it a "savage attack".
Ms Maasarwe, 21, had been living in Melbourne on a one-year university exchange when she was murdered.
In her sentencing remarks on Tuesday, Judge Elizabeth Hollingworth described Ms Maasarwe as "a kind young woman who had her whole life in front of her".