International Students Welcome

(5pm 8 March 2012, Centennial Hall, Sydney Town Hall)

Thank you, Professor Armstrong, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) & Registrar.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the 200 nationalities which make up our City.

I'm also pleased to welcome:

  • Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sydney
  • Professor Wai-Fong Chua AM, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) of the University of NSW and
  • Professor Ross Milbourne, Vice-Chancellor and President of UTS

I also want to offer a warm welcome to your student Ambassadors who are:

  • Trang Nguyen [T-rang Nuh-Wen] from Vietnam, who is completing her final semester of her Master of Commerce degree at the University of Sydney
  • Radhika Ruwanpathirana [R-ah-dh-in-k-ah Rhoo-wan-pathee-rana] from Sri Lanka who is in her third year studying medicine at the University of NSW
  • Sirinut Sawatdeenarunat,[Si-ri-nut Sa-wat-dee/naa-roo-naat] from Thailand who is working towards her PhD in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and last year ran in the UTS City2Surf team.

All three are involved in a range of activities part from their course-related work and I hope that they will leave Sydney with rich memories of a happy and fulfilling time here.

They represent the many thousands of international students enrolled at the three universities which - in the case of University of Sydney and UTS - lie within our City boundaries and - in the case of the University of NSW - are just on the border.

Our wish for all our international students is that you enjoy a safe, happy and productive stay in our City.

You will find it one of the world's most multicultural cities. Our people come from 200 different national backgrounds. Almost half of our population was born overseas, and 28 per cent of Sydneysiders speak a second language at home.

So I hope that, whatever your background, you will feel welcome here.

Your universities are close to our City centre and they form part of a valuable cultural web which includes museums, theatres and galleries, all within relatively easy reach. I hope that you will find time to explore Sydney's vibrant cultural scene, and our diverse city villages while you are here.

I also hope that you had a chance during Orientation Week to meet our Safe City team and to sign up for the email tips the team will be issuing in partnership with the NSW Police. Sydney is a generally safe city but it is wise as newcomers in any city to take local advice.

Education services are an important part of our City economy. Importantly, they also add to Sydney's diversity, and to its youthful and energetic atmosphere.

It provides life-changing opportunities for international students, strengthens Australia's ties, especially with the Asia-Pacific region, brings many benefits to our education institutions and builds on our unique and successful multicultural society.

The City of Sydney supports our international students through our safety education programs, through the provision of multi-lingual library resources and sport and recreation facilities. There is also plenty of useful information on the City of Sydney website, which is available in 10 different languages.

Together with Insider Publishing, the City has produced the Sydney International Student Guide for 2012. The guide contains a wealth of information designed to help you make the most of your study experience in Sydney - including advice from other students on: Shopping, Eating Out, Events, Nightlife, and Places to see.

I hope you will make use of these facilities and enjoy living, as well as learning, in our City.

Once again, a very warm welcome to you all.