International students receive a warm welcome to wollongong

International students receive a warm welcome to wollongong

Hundreds of international students gathered at UOW on Friday for the annual Welcome to Wollongong festival.

The event, on Friday 21 March, which coincided with Harmony Day, a day when Australians are encouraged to acknowledge the diverse range of people who call Australia home, was organised by UOW in partnership with Wollongong City Council and TAFE Illawarra.

Now in its seventh year, the event provides students and families from overseas a chance to learn more about the city and become acquainted with the local community.

Hundreds of newcomers gathered on the Duck Pond Lawn were treated to a performance by an Aboriginal dance group, experienced Australian cuisine and learned about the Clubs and Societies and International Student Programs on offer to help them settle in to life at UOW. ABC Illawarra radio presenter Nick Rheinberger was on hand as the Master of Ceremonies to ensure that day progressed smoothly between each highlight act.

“Welcome to Wollongong is an important opportunity for the University and the City to welcome new students and families to the region,” UOW Community Engagement Manager, Tara Loty, said.

Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery OAM gave a warm welcome when he officially opened the event.

“I continually meet alumni from the University of Wollongong who are now working nationally or internationally. These alumni are the best advocates we have for our city – they understand and have benefited from what we have to offer as a place to live, work, play and study,” Lord Mayor Bradbery said.  

In 2014 so far, there are 4090 new and returning international students at UOW. The majority (almost 1700) hails from China, with the remainder from India, the U.S., Malaysia, Vietnam, Nepal, Iran and Pakistan, among other countries.

“The diversity of the student population within the Illawarra is what makes the city such a vibrant location to study,” TAFE Illawarra’s Director of Business and International Services, Mr Graham Wilcock, said.