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International experience for students continues during pandemic

3 March 2021
Largest student mobility program in Australia
Despite the COVID-19 border closures, University of Sydney students have still obtained international experience as part of their degree.

For the third year in a row, the University’s student mobility program was the largest in Australia, both in terms of size and proportion of the student body. More than a third of the graduating cohort for 2019 undertook a global mobility experience, significantly more than the national average of 19 percent. The top destination countries were China, the United Kingdom and the United States.

While the report by the Australian Universities International Directors’ Forum examined data from 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Sydney continued to provide students international experience as part of their degrees in 2020-21. 

I’m incredibly proud of the work our team has done to ensure our students are still able to get that experience during this pandemic.
Vice‐Principal of External Relations Tania Rhodes-Taylor

International experience during COVID-19

Language and cultural immersion

Last year, students were able to participate in virtual immersion units giving them an opportunity to study a new language and culture with our partner universities in Italy and Germany. As part of the units, students participated in interactive language lessons with local teachers followed by discussions with local students where they were able to expand their networks and gain a better understanding of each others’ cultures. They also got a taste of the local culture through virtual city tours and cooking classes.

Students participated in cook-along session with an Italian chef

Students participated in cook-along session with an Italian chef

Industry and community projects

Our Industry and Community Project Units (ICPU) bring together students from a range of disciplines to work towards solving real-world problems set out by industry and community partners. During 2020, we moved the units online, with more than 800 students undertaking professional experiences with 17 partners and projects. The first virtual international ICPU will run in Semester 1 2021 with TATA India. Working with India’s largest power generation company, students will look at ways to accelerate the growth in India’s renewable energy market.

Future of global student mobility

“International education and experience prepares our students for the jobs of the future and differentiates them in a crowded job market,” Vice‐Principal of External Relations Tania Rhodes-Taylor said. 

"Our student mobility program broadens our students’ horizons and teaches them how to work with people across different cultures. It gives them skills to think critically, to communicate, negotiate and excel in diverse teams and organisations.  

“I’m incredibly proud of the work our team has done to ensure our students are still able to get that experience during this pandemic. Until it is safe to travel abroad again, we will continue to provide our students virtual international opportunities.”

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