Ambassadors celebrate cultural diversity
"It's the staff and teachers at NSW schools who have ... expanded my horizons of the world, of what I can do, of who I can be."
That is the view of international student Minh Thuy Thai, from Vietnam and dux of Canley Vale High School.
Thuy is one of 19 students recently inducted as 2012 Department of Education and Communities International Student Ambassadors.
Arriving in Australia in 2008 at the age of 14, Thuy willingly embraced the experience.
"Wow, this is my dream, this is where I want to go, this is where I want to be," Thuy said."I love the people here, the environment, the school.
"[The teachers] have also become my family who greatly supported me, who've greatly contributed to my personal growth and development."
Fellow ambassador, Linh Chu, dux of Kogarah High now studying at the University of Sydney, said the best thing about studying at a government school in Australia was the chance to make friends with many different students from a wide variety of cultures.
Another ambassador, Jiahua (David) Huang, dux of Killarney Heights High now studying medicine, said when he first arrived in Australia his English wasn't very good "but the friendly teachers and students helped me a lot".
The International Student Ambassador program has run for three years, with the ambassadors championing the international student program in NSW government schools.
NSW government schools have been enrolling international students since 1990.
Currently there are 2,800 international students enrolled in more than 260 schools.
The 2012 Student Ambassadors are from the People's Republic of China, Vietnam, South Korea, Malaysia, Cambodia and Bangladesh.
Manager of international school programs, Elizabeth Webber, said attracting more international students to study at NSW government schools was a win-win situation for all.
"International students can benefit from our top-quality education," Ms Webber said.
"And our schools benefit from having students from other cultures.
"Principals have said it makes their students better global citizens, and the students bring a richness to their schools because of their different cultures.
"Because the international students are committed as learners, it brings a new dimension to classrooms."
Find out more information about the department's International Students Program.
Photo: Ambassadors for NSW public education. Photo supplied by International Programs.