Sydney’s student ambassadors leading the way

International students from more countries than ever before have joined the City of Sydney’s unique International Student Leadership and Ambassador program that provides training, mentoring and practical work experience.

For the first time students from Nigeria, Cambodia, Mexico, USA, Japan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are among the 32 international student ambassadors from 14 countries representing 15 education institutions across Sydney.

In another first, four PHD student applicants have been selected to join the City’s award-winning program that will run over the next 18 months.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City’s ambassador and leadership initiative improved the study experience of international students and ensured they had a voice in the community.

“Inner-Sydney is host to more international students than any other in Australia, with more than 35,000 international students studying in the City’s local area,” the Lord Mayor said.

“International students generate $20 billion a year for the Australian economy and make a significant contribution to Sydney’s prosperity, as well as playing a crucial role in enhancing our cultural diversity and global connections.

“This ambassador and leadership program highlights the City’s commitment to providing a welcoming and positive environment for international students studying and living in Sydney.”

This evening Deputy Lord Mayor Professor Kerryn Phelps hosted a ceremony to officially induct the international students as they City’s international student ambassadors.

The ambassadors will promote the City’s services and initiatives to other international students currently living in Sydney and to prospective students.

The student ambassadors will also help promote and run key student events, including the Lord Mayor’s International Student Welcome Reception, International Education Sector Forum, the City’s information booth and workshops during university, TAFE and colleges’ Orientation Weeks, Living in Harmony Festival and Youth Week.

The candidates were selected because of their previous leadership and volunteer experience at educational institutions, in the community and in their home countries.

Al Amin Ibrahim from Bangladesh is studying a Bachelor of Science at the University of New South Wales and described the program as a “helping hand” for students.

“As international student ambassadors, we understand the concerns of international students and their issues and try to find effective solutions,” Mr Ibrahim said.

“I believe we should all work together to provide the best experience for students and to keep up the high reputation that Sydney has as an education destination. I firmly believe we all have a responsibility to work together to make Sydney a city for all.”

The City launched the leadership and ambassador program in 2013 to create opportunities for international students to better integrate and learn about the local culture, and to break down language barriers and social isolation.

The City has identified the cultural, economic and social wellbeing of international students as a priority area. Sydney was last year named the world’s most ”˜desirable’ study destination in the internationally recognised QS Best Student Cities Index.

The City recently completed Australia’s first international student wellbeing survey which revealed the vast majority of respondents felt safe in Sydney and would recommend Sydney as a place to study.

Researchers collated information from 603 international students from 74 countries who were living or studying in inner Sydney and showed Sydney’s culturally diverse community provided the students a valued support network.

Information on the council’s support for international students can be found on the City’s website

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