International Students Help Australia Thrive!

International education is essential to Australia’s economic and social success.

It is our fourth-highest export generating industry, and the largest that doesn’t rely on mining. In 2019, the sector delivered over $40 billion to the Australian economy and supported over 240,000 Australian jobs. Enrolment figures for 2023 show a strong post-COVID recovery.

Yet at its core, international education is about people. The enterprising students who choose Australia and cross the world to study, grow their knowledge, and contribute to our communities are inspirational. Meet some of the students helping Australia thrive.


After completing his MBA in Jakarta, Jerry set off to Australia for a career change to study biological sciences in Sydney. Then came a real change - the COVID-19 pandemic. He saw his friends lose their jobs, with some having to abandon their studies and return to their home countries.

Yet in the darkness, he saw a light in the form of a newspaper article. A farmer from Orange in regional New South Wales told the Daily Telegraph that his orchards were full of ripe cherries, but due to border closures, there was no one to pick them.

Jerry sprung into action. Using his skills in business and horticulture, he contacted the farmer with the promise of workers to help harvest their crops. He met with the farming community, then rallied international students via online info sessions. He returned to Orange with twelve students, where they camped and tended the orchards for four weeks.

“The experience for the international students was amazing,” he says. “We shared a good community, we laughed. We got out of lockdown and saw beautiful New South Wales. It was more than picking cherries and getting money. It was a life experience.”

“It transformed me as a person. When I’m down I see the pictures and videos again and then I’m inspired.”

Aussies had cherries on their Christmas tables that year and farmers were able to harvest their crops due to international students like Jerry.

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Learn more about International Education’s contribution to Australia through our Sector Stats, and subscribe to our mailing list to be kept up to date.

An International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) initiative supported by Study NSW and Study Queensland.