Last night I welcomed 800 international students to Sydney with a reception at Town Hall. This is the 10th year I have hosted a welcome to our international students.
Thirty-five thousand international students arrive here each year and almost a third choose to live in our city.
Sydney has always been a magnet for people from many cultures. Today, half of our residents are born overseas. Apart from English, the most common languages spoken at home are Chinese, Thai, Indonesian, Korean and Spanish.
It is this mix of cultures, histories, experiences and stories that makes our city a great place to live and to visit.
Studying in Sydney offers international students great opportunities, but it also provides us with great benefits. They help build our cultural diversity and help us, as Australia's only global city, to strengthen our regional and international connections.
We now live in the era of instant global communications but I believe there will never be any substitute for personal contact and personal experience.
At last year's International Students reception, I launched a pilot - the International Student Leadership and Ambassador Program. It provides training, mentoring and practical experiences to international student leaders.
The program has enjoyed many successes over the last year, deepening our engagement with our international students, and enriched their experience of living in Sydney.
I'm delighted to welcome a new crop of students to Sydney, and I wish them all a happy, productive and memorable stay with us.