- First group of international students arrive at Charles Sturt University regional campuses on Monday 13 December
- Seven students arrive at Charles Sturt in Orange and one in Wagga Wagga, with another 18 students expected to arrive in Australia on Christmas eve
- Charles Sturt has been working with the federal and state governments and Study NSW to expedite the return of international students
Eight international students landed in Australia on Monday 6 December on the first flight of the NSW International Student Arrivals Pilot Plan to continue their studies at Charles Sturt University.
Seven students from Canada arrived to study the Bachelor of Dental Science in the School of Dentistry and Medical Sciences at Charles Sturt in Orange, and one student from Malaysia will continue a PhD at the University in Wagga Wagga.
To celebrate the arrival of this first group of international students to the campus in Orange on Monday 13 December, a welcome event will be held for the returnees to help them ease into campus life.
The event comes one week after the students landed at Sydney Airport, and follows a strict self-isolation and COVID testing process.
Charles Sturt Vice-Chancellor Professor Renée Leon said the University has been working with the federal and state governments and Study NSW since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic on plans to return the international continuing students.
“The University’s International Student Support team has been supporting these students in the lead up to their arrival in Australia, and this team will continue to provide on-campus assistance to these students,” she said.
Professor Leon said returning international students to Charles Sturt’s network of regional campuses is a strategic focus of the University.
“We look forward to having as many of our students back in Australia as soon as safely possible,” she said.
“International students are eager to continue their studies on-campus with Charles Sturt University in Australia – we are their university of choice.”
Returning student Mr Gursahil Dhami said he was grateful to have the opportunity to be back in Australia and continue his study.
“It has been a long, stressful time being locked out of Australia and there was a lot of uncertainty as to whether I would ever be able to return or not,” he said.
“I'm excited to get my life back on track and work towards becoming the best dentist I can be.”
Mr Dhami said studying in a regional area helped him transition from Canada to Australia.
“Everyone is friendly and welcoming, it’s a tight-knit community and everyone goes out of their way to help out,” he said.
“The early clinical exposure we receive in the Charles Sturt program is really beneficial.
“Dentistry is a very hands-on program, getting into these settings early really builds the foundation and allows us to become more and more comfortable interacting and working with patients.”
Due to the border closures Ms Kolby Kwok commenced her study with Charles Sturt online and this will be the first time she will experience studying on-campus in Orange.
“Although I haven’t been able to experience the entire immersive program yet, I am very much enjoying studying with Charles Sturt,” Ms Kwok said.
“The School has been very supportive and understanding of the obstacles international students have been facing.
“They have been working to adjust the program so international students can do as much as possible to progress their studies even though we were online learners.”
Ms Kwok said the dentistry cohort on campus had been really welcoming and helpful.
“It makes me even more excited for the lasting relationships and friends I will make in Orange,” she said.
The second flight the NSW Vice-Chancellors’ Committee Pilot Plan is scheduled to arrive on Friday 24 December, with 18 Charles Sturt students expected on this flight. These students will return to regional campuses and to our Sydney Study Centre.