Our university has always welcomed international students. In our first year of teaching (1975) we had five students from abroad begin studies here. Four of these students were from Papua New Guinea (three females/one male) and one female student from Hong Kong. All five of these students were undertaking a Bachelor of Arts program through our School of Modern Asian Studies. By our second year of teaching, three more students had added to our international contingent. An undergraduate each from Tonga and Malaysia respectively, and a PhD student from the USA studying with our School of Modern Asian Studies.
Developing strong relationships with our Asian neighbours was one of our foundation philosophies. As far back as 1977, we have been sending interested students to visit China. These visits eventually led to the establishment of formal student exchanges in 1980 with two Chinese universities – Beijing Foreign Studies University and Zhongshan (or Sun Yat-sen) University. Pioneering agreements such as these not only benefited Griffith and our students. Arrangements such as these had wider political, social and economic national benefits by increasing the appeal of Australia as a place to live while studying. Strong Asian relations remains an important part of our strategic planning today.
Our growth in
international student numbers has remained consistent throughout our history. In 1995,
in our twentieth year of teaching, we had four hundred enrolled MBA (Master of
Business Administration) students – a quarter of which were students from
overseas. In addition, 1995 also saw us have over 1000 international enrolments - with students drawn from more than
forty countries. One year later - this international student number leapt to more than 1700, with
most of our global students coming from Asia. Today, over 8500 students from around the world study with Griffith - making up seventeen percent of our total student enrolment.