International student welcome goes online for the first time

Posted .

All international students studying in NSW are invited to attend the City of Sydney’s popular welcome event online this year.

Usually reserved for newly-arrived students, this year the welcome is open to all international students studying through NSW education institutions, to provide them with support and help with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore will host the online event on Tuesday 16 March, in partnership with Study NSW, UTS and the University of Sydney.

“The pandemic has been a challenge for everyone, including many international students who have felt particularly isolated. It’s more important than ever to support this sector and do whatever we can to help these students feel connected and supported,” the Lord Mayor said.

“In the last year, the City provided over $2 million dollars to food relief efforts in response to the impacts of Covid-19. We partnered with OzHarvest and established a dedicated hamper hub, giving out 20,000 food hampers to international students.

“In addition to food relief, the City provided 2,000 reusable face masks to international students last September.

“We want to continue looking after the wellbeing of our international students, and make them aware of support and safety services, and offer networking, internship and volunteering opportunities.

“We will also work with our international student leaders to run more employment and networking events in the coming months.

“International students contribute to our city's cultural diversity and strengthen Sydney's global connections.

They are an investment in our city’s future, which is why I’m so pleased we can welcome all international students to participate in this year’s welcome.”

Hundreds of international students are expected to attend the welcome, where they will network, enhance their employment skills and gain information and support.

Community organisations and service providers will host virtual stalls where attendees can hop in and out to learn about services, programs and Sydney life, and connect with other students.

Attendees will also experience a Welcome to Country, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performance and virtual reality tour of Warrane (Sydney Cove).

This year the program has been expanded to include a suite of associated online programs run by community groups and City of Sydney grant recipients from 17-20 March.

Practera received a grant from the City of Sydney for the Youth Innovation Challenge, and will launch it at the Lord Mayor’s welcome. Project lead from Practera, Shi-Shi Truong, said she hoped the six-week challenge will help students network, feel less alone and learn new skills.

“There have been many challenges throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and international students have felt the full force of it. Coming to a new country is hard enough without having to deal with isolation and feelings of sadness, loneliness and confusion,” Shi-Shi Truong said.

“The Lord Mayor’s welcome is a great place to help students connect with each other, find out more about services, programs and other opportunities, and advance their career interests.

“The Youth Innovation Challenge is centred around helping students develop a high-potential business, startup or social innovation that could have a positive impact on our city.”

The event is free, but registration is essential.

The City of Sydney provided funding support to a range of community organisations to support international students during the pandemic. Projects include the development of an international student hub, online mental health resources and legal information.

For media inquiries or images, contact Diana Kosanovic or Roxanne Macara. Phone 9246 7292 or email mediateam@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Jack Begbie. Phone 0481 759 580 or email lordmayormedia@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

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