Education, new learning options for Filipinos  

Six decades on and UNSW still attracts the best and brightest international students

In 1949, the first international student entered the gates of the University of New South Wales (UNSW). More than sixty years on, it remains the university of choice for many.

Indonesian-born Dr Alex Soeriyadi was initially drawn to UNSW as a high school student. It was the University’s impressive academic reputation as well as the diversity of its student population that attracted him.

Alex completed a foundation program in Jakarta, giving him the necessary entry qualification to a Bachelor of Engineering and Industrial Chemistry, which led to a PhD in polymer chemistry. During his studies he completed industrial traineeships at Tooheys Brewery and BlueScope Steel, which is supporting his PhD project along with the Australian Research Council.

His mentor at BlueScope Steel, Phil Barker, says Alex is considered one of the best and brightest in his field. His experience at the University has been so positive that both his younger sisters have now joined him to study there.

Twenty-four year old Anastasia is starting a PhD in photovoltaics and Angela, 21, is an honours student in biotechnology. They are all living together in an apartment in Randwick, a short distance from Sydney’s beautiful eastern beaches.

“It’s not just the research excellence at UNSW that has attracted my family, it’s the environment in which you do the research, the ability to do work experience and the multicultural feel of the University,” he says.

A world-class university with a world-wide focus
UNSW welcomed its first international students in 1952 under the Colombo Plan, an initiative designed to up-skill the Asia-Pacific region. Since then the University has grown from a collection of makeshift classrooms and dormitories to a modern, vibrant campus attracting more than 13,000 international students from 120 countries.

“Our numbers have grown from strength to strength in the last 60 years. Today’s international students and their parents are very savvy – they can research the options easily and they are drawn to UNSW because it is recognised for excellence in a variety of ranking systems around the world,” says Aleksandr Voninski, Executive Director, UNSW International.

UNSW ranked in the top 100 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the 2012 QS World University Rankings put UNSW at 52 in the world out of 700 universities, based on its academic and employer reputation, staff-student ratios, research citations and the proportion of international staff and students. UNSW also scored the maximum five-star rating for eight key performance indicators in the Good Universities Guide 2013.

UNSW is also recognised as having the strongest links to industry of any Australian university. Modelled on MIT and the US and European technical universities, it is unique in Australia in that it is the only Australian research-intensive university with a scientific, technological and professional focus.

It offers flexible study options across a range of disciplines, more than 200 exchange destinations worldwide, and an extensive industry experience and careers program, which has led to UNSW graduates being among the most employable in the country.

A globally-focused education in a global city
As well as fantastic graduate outcomes, it’s the rich experience of studying in this part of Sydney – with its modern campus, multicultural student mix and proximity to Sydney city and the beaches – that draws many students to UNSW, and leads them to encourage their friends and families to follow them.

The University is in the midst of an A$1 billion upgrade of its facilities, including new state-of-the-art buildings, student accommodation, eating areas and a renovated library – a hub of academic activity where students bring their own devices and staff roam and interact directly with library users.

“A significant proportion of our early students under the Colombo Plan returned to work in important positions, so our reputation is very well received through subsequent generations,” says Mr Voninski.

“Australia is considered a safe destination, it has strong employment rates and we withstood the financial crisis well. But it’s also about the experience – with our fantastic weather students here have access to an outdoor lifestyle and a wide range of activities beyond the classroom.”


For more information about UNSW, visit: www.international.unsw.edu.au

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