Volunteers who support newly arrived international students at Sydney Airport have been recognised at a ceremony at NSW Parliament House.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres thanked the volunteers, who are often international students themselves, for their efforts in making new students feel welcome as they start their education in Australia.
“The Sydney Airport Welcome Desk can be the first interaction for many new students, so this positive experience can set the tone for their time studying and living in NSW,” Mr Ayres said.
“These volunteers should be extremely proud of how they’re supporting their fellow students. They are also gaining invaluable experience and skills that will be crucial when it comes to getting their first job once they graduate.
“International students contribute to the diversity and culture of NSW and we want them to have a great time studying at our world class institutions. When they return home we want them to tell their friends about what a great destination NSW is to live and study.”
The desk opened last year with NSW Government support through StudyNSW, a body that seeks to improve international students’ experience in NSW.
One volunteer acknowledged was Jawad Nazir, a Pakistani student studying at Wollongong University.
“I remember my first time walking out of the arrival hall, I know how it feels to be away from home. You need every bit of advice, but the thing that makes up for it all is that one welcoming smile. As a volunteer at the desk that is what my team and I did,” Mr Nazir said.
Volunteer Jeannie Le from Vietnam said that as a student herself she could support her incoming peers.
“I can share my own experience with them, give them the first best impression, and promote this beautiful country,” Ms Le said.
International education is NSW’s largest services export and contributes over $6.7 billion to the NSW economy.