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International student stories

What is it like to study in Sydney? Find out from our students

We asked some of our international students to share their views of the University of Sydney experience.

More than 10,000 of our current 50,000 students are from overseas – together, they represent more than 152 countries. If you join us, you'll become part of this diverse tapestry of experience, perspectives and talents.

Each one of our students has a different story.

That’s why we asked a few of them to tell us about their experiences – why they chose Sydney, what they've learned, and what advice they would give to you.

Here’s what they had to say.

Wen Chen: My Life at Sydney


My advice

Oliver Qin, China, Bachelor of Commerce
"Like most of the other students from China, I was initially pretty quiet during lectures and tutorials. But I found the best way to get around this was to make friends with more non-Chinese speaking students. The more you practise English, the more confident you’ll become."

Choosing Sydney

Nicolas Lyons, Argentina, PhD in Veterinary Science
"The University offered me the unique opportunity to work in a multicultural environment at one of the world’s leading universities, specialising in my area of interest and opening doors to the international research community."

My experience

Paolo Castelanelli, Italy, study abroad program
"The University of Sydney reflects the city by helping students to understand diversity, different cultures and points of view, to have fun and learn beyond textbooks."


Anyi Li standing at a Sydney Town Hall lectern

Making a differance

Anyi Li is an outstanding student studying a Bachelor of Commerce in the University of Sydney Business School, but her interests and passions are not limited to her studies. Between studying, volunteering as a peer mentor in the Business School and her internship at City of Sydney’s Chief Operation Office (Economic Strategy and International Engagement divisions), Anyi has arranged interviews with 16 students across Sydney for a book she has started to write about successfully transitioning from China to Australia. The book focuses on breaking down cultural barriers in class, moving beyond your comfort zone, engaging in leadership experience, undertaking career development and transitioning to university life. Her book will be written in Mandarin and published in China but the knowledge gained from her research has already proven invaluable.

Arriving in Sydney by herself, Anyi diligently worked to familiarise herself with Australian culture and the opportunities unique to Sydney. She has volunteered her time as a City of Sydney International Student Leadership Ambassador where she was then individually selected to speak about her experiences at the Lord Mayor’s Welcome in Sydney Town Hall. She was selected as the only international student of seven ‘Deputies’ in the Deputy Lord Mayor’s Leadership program in 2018. She also participated in the Youth Week Round Table with Deputy Lord Mayor Jess Miller, Alex Greenwich MP for Sydney, Councillor Jess Scully, and youth sector professionals, raising concerns faced by the broader International Student Community. She drove the success of Sydney City tours for newly arrived international students and was a key figure in developing topics for the City of Sydney Youth Leadership Conference.

Anyi was inspired to give back by her experience with local residents helping her to settle in and find her way. These early interactions highlighted that in Australia, there is opportunity to access unlimited resources and tools. She recognised then and advocates now amongst her peers for the metamorphosis that can take place in students by remaining open to change, engaging in opportunities to connect, and understanding how values placed on them by culture, family, and country influence their experiences. This is especially impressive as Anyi comes from China where governmental censorship and family heavily influence what is learned and valued.

The experience of writing her book has allowed Anyi to connect diverse ethnic groups with a broad community and China through networking. Her main objective is to expand the knowledge and skills of other international students to enable their participation in the NSW community and return home as ambassadors for Australia. As a bright and passionate student with a great track record and high potential for both leadership roles and academic studies, all her efforts aim to help develop cultural competence, deepen conversations about the international student experience, cultivate stronger leadership skills and professionalism, and reshape our way of looking at things.