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International students return to the city

Sydney welcomes our first cohort since the start of the pandemic.

ISLA Lord Mayor Welcome international students 2022

They’re back! After a 2-year lull courtesy of the pandemic, international students are returning to Sydney.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore hosted a reception at Sydney Town Hall to welcome more than 170 students from around the world.

To make them feel welcome, the event was also attended by lifesavers, firefighters, police and members of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who together work to ensure students have positive experiences and gain a sense of belonging in Sydney.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore hosted a reception to welcome more than 170 international students to Sydney
Lord Mayor Clover Moore hosted a reception to welcome more than 170 international students to Sydney

“International students help to boost the city’s social and cultural life and build Sydney’s global reputation as a centre for learning, research and innovation,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Sydney offers world-class educational and research institutions, which is why it is one of the world’s most popular cities for international students.

“We’ve developed free resources, services and programs to help orientate newly arrived international students and make them feel welcome in our city.”

International student leader ambassador program

The reception was also an opportunity to recognise students who have been part of our international student leader ambassador program for 2021-22. The program gives participants skills, through training, mentoring and practical work experience, to become community ambassadors who can help other students strengthen their links with local communities.

More than 30 ambassadors from 13 countries and 8 educational institutions were recognised for their 18-month ambassadorship. Participants organised 23 face-to-face and online events for more than 1,500 students to support wellbeing and connection during the pandemic.

Si Thu Zin, a medical student from Myanmar, said the program provides a unique platform for ambassadors to support and advocate for other international students while developing their own skill sets.

“Through the program and the different opportunities that Sydney provides, I have been able to develop my communication, leadership and project management skills – these are invaluable as a future medical practitioner,” Si Thu said.

“Sydney is full of opportunities and there are no limitations to your dreams. I would highly encourage all new international students to get out of their comfort zone, take on every challenge and look for those opportunities.”

Economic contribution

International students are important for our city. Pre-Covid, the international student market contributed more than $1.6 billion to the local economy and generated demand for more than 10,000 fulltime jobs.

Before the pandemic, more than 230,000 international students were enrolled to study in our local area. Since the borders reopened, 70,000 international students have returned to NSW, and there are currently more than 160,000 international students enrolled locally.

2023/24 program

We’re looking for more international students to join our international student leader ambassador program for 2023-24. The program is open to all international students living and studying in Sydney. Entries will open in early November and training is expected to start in February 2023.

Find out more and apply on our international student leader ambassador webpage.

Published 19 October 2022