At ICMS we empathise with those international students who have been negatively affected by the pandemic and those who have had no choice to continue or begin their studies off-shore.
With the unforeseeable nature of the Covid-19 pandemic and the rapid disintegration of international travel and implementation of harsh lockdowns, 2020 was a year that ICMS is glad is in the rear-view mirror. With no return date announced; no quarantine plan in place for international students; and limited hotel quarantine quotas, students from around the world are calling for compassion and clarity.
Whilst operations at ICMS have resumed on-campus this has highlighted a core missing piece in the College’s landscape and culture: our on-campus international students.
Senior Vice President of Domestic and International Development, Mr. Todd Palioca said; “A diversity of international students at ICMS are vital to our on-campus culture. They add to the global feel of our community, contribute to our local economy and fulfil part-time jobs that local businesses depend upon. The ICMS community misses our international students.”
Thai international student Sandy Wongchanapi chose to remain in Australia when borders closed. She said, “Whilst it is good to be able to study here in Sydney, as an international student at ICMS I can’t help but notice that the entire ICMS community misses international students. It is sad that they can’t be here to experience the international studying experience.” Sandy went on to say that “our institution is called the International College of Management Sydney, and without the international students here at ICMS, that element of our global community just isn’t the same.”
Domestic students are also waiting for some good news regarding the arrival of their classmates back on campus. “Last year we were only on-campus for such a short amount of time, by the time we had already gotten to know people – and then they were getting sent back home again,” said Bachelor of Business (Marketing) student Michaela Mayes. “It is a such a shame that international students haven’t come back yet. Catching up for coffee over Zoom just isn’t the same as coming into campus and sitting in the Courtyard Cafe with everyone”.
International students are a large part of the community at ICMS, bringing a richness and a diversity to the Student Representative Council, sports clubs and associations – as well as special events that reflect the diversity of cultures on campus, such as Thanksgiving, Holi, Lunar New Year and Oktoberfest. These events are something that students both on and off campus miss.
Bachelor of Hospitality Management student, Zali Offer, an on-campus residential student of Australian Aboriginal descent, has had a full understanding of campus life with and without international students. Since the beginning of her degree in 2020, Zali remained living in campus accommodation. Through living with the international students, Zali says even in the short time she had with them, she learnt so much about other cultures and loved sharing her own culture and background with them.
“It’s been an interesting and sad times not having international students with us, either living on campus or in the classrooms. It was definitely an experience that has impacted me and I will never forget. I have made some of the most amazing bonds and friendships that I never thought I would have ever made without coming to ICMS, they had taught be about their countries and has inspired me to want to travel; well as soon as we can. I know for myself and other, we can’t wait to have in them back in Australia and back on campus and making those amazing memories”.
As a representative of the New South Wales Government and Member for Manly, James Griffin MP is understanding of the gap that international students have left in the lives of staff, students and the wider community. He said he looked forward to the day when will again welcome international students back on campus and hoped to be able to personally be there to welcome them back to Manly. In his message to off-shore graduates he said: “To those ICMS students graduating off-shore today… we wish you could have been here in person.”