By Xiaoqiao Zhao with instruction from Shayne Collier

In 2023, the University of Sydney will celebrate a century of welcoming international students – highlighting their significant role in the University’s evolution to become one of the most highly ranked in the world.

In an article published on the University website, Julia Horne, Professor of History and University Historian, wrote:

In 1923, Sydney University accepted its first Chinese overseas student, N.Y. Shah from Wuhan, who was studying to become a teacher back in China … From the 1950s, children of Chinese diaspora parents from countries such as Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong began to arrive in Australia to study.

Professor Horne says this year’s exhibition, titled 100 years of global connections: international students and the University of Sydney, was one way to acknowledge the invaluable contribution that international students have made to university life and to welcome their return after several years of border closures and lockdowns due to COVID-19.

‘I appreciate this celebration as a way to learn about the history of international students at the University of Sydney,’ she said. ‘It will also highlight international students’ significance to the University, which is not simply financial, but also includes significant social, cultural and academic benefits. Ultimately the celebration is about bringing people together to understand the past and to hope for the future, so I think it is good.’

A working group is planning the celebration led by Usyd Student Life and Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association (SUPRA), who brought this occasion to the attention of the Usyd community.

An upcoming art exhibition is calling for creative artworks and innovative projects to celebrate 100 years of international students at Usyd.

‘This provides students with a platform to express their voices,’ current SUPRA president Weihong Liang said.

Mr Liang said international students brought more than financial benefits to the University and the wider community. ‘International students play a vital role in creating a diverse and global academic community at Usyd, fostering a rich and inclusive academic experience for all students. A cross-cultural campus benefits both students and teachers by providing a broader perspective on education.’

‘SUPRA’s intention is to help students sort out and solve problems,’ he added. ‘We would like to see the University develop a long-term strategy for international student education after the celebration, in order to address some top-level design problems.’

Submit your artwork for the exhibition

Join the celebration! Submit your artwork and ideas for the exhibition – 100 years of global connections: international students and the University of Sydney.

Submissions due 16 June 2023.