Media releases

Local students welcome international arrivals

Published 11 December 2017

International students arriving at Sydney Airport will be greeted by many friendly faces as local students take part in a successful work experience program aimed at creating great first impressions of our global city.

The City of Sydney has thrown its support behind the Sydney International Airport Welcome Desk, with StudyNSW receiving a grant of $30,000 over three years towards the initiative.

Located in the arrivals hall of Sydney International Airport, the desk is a first point of contact for international students. Volunteers provide maps, local guides and other useful information and advice to help Sydney’s newest visitors find their way.

“Sydney is one of the world’s best cities to live and study and a popular destination for international students,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“New South Wales is the most popular study destination in Australia, with international education contributing more than $7.2 billion to the NSW economy and supporting more than 46,000 jobs.

“That’s why it’s really important to give international students the best possible experience the moment they arrive in Sydney, to ensure they feel safe and confident in their new home and that our city remains a competitive and desirable place to study.”

The welcome desk was established in 2015 by StudyNSW and has so far greeted more than 14,000 international students.

The desk is staffed by both domestic and international student volunteers participating in a 20-hour work integrated learning program.

The City’s sponsorship will allow the welcome desk to continue and help expand the program, so more students can gain new knowledge and skills to help them in their future careers.

Former welcome desk volunteer Ramkumar Murali is in the final year of his Masters in Information Technology at University of Technology Sydney. When he first travelled from India to Australia as an international student he faced many challenges, from visa and travel delays to illness and loneliness.

He volunteered with the welcome desk to ensure that other international students did not have the same experience as him when arriving in Australia.

“I thought I should try to make people feel comfortable when they arrive and students get comfortable when they meet fellow students and ultimately gain the confidence to strive here,” Mr Murali said.

“Real happiness lies in making others happy. After seeing the job description, I applied straight away without thinking twice.

“Through the work experience, I was introduced to other volunteering opportunities including VIVID Sydney 2017. I believe the program has opened more doors and will help me in building a better career.”

The welcome desk project is co-funded by a consortium of government agencies and education providers. These include StudyNSW, Destination NSW, Australian catholic University, Charles Sturt University, Macquarie University, University of Sydney, University of Newcastle, University of NSW, University of Technology Sydney, Western Sydney University, University of Wollongong, TAFE NSW, NSW Department of Education and English Australia. It is also supported by the Council of International Students Australia.

For media inquiries or images, contact Senior Media Advisor Angela Salt. Phone 0455 958 503 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, phone 02 8974 4165 or email

Image credit: Study NSW / Salty Dingo