Katie Smith: Over 22,000 Mongolians studied in Australia in the past 20 years www.gogo.mn
The "Study Australia" Education Fair was held on 16th of September 2023 at the Shangri-La Hotel. Representatives of Australian educational institutions, universities and colleges participated in this exhibition.
Thousands of people, especially the younger generations, attended the exhibition to meet with representatives of Australian institutions face to face to learn more about their programs, scholarships, and admission opportunities. Katie Smith, Australian Ambassador to Mongolia opened the exhibition.
She said “Australia is also known for being one of the most livable countries in the world. Our relaxed lifestyle, along with the opportunity to enjoy our beautiful nature, offers students a balanced experience.
In addition, we are a multicultural society that respects and celebrates different cultures. Nearly half of all Australian residents were either born overseas or had at least one parent who was born overseas, so diversity underpins the Australian way of life. Prior to the pandemic, the number of Mongolians choosing to study in Australia had been increasing every year, and there were approximately 5,700 Mongolian students studying in Australia’s education institutions by the end of 2019.
While these connections were disrupted during COVID, it is pleasing to see very strong recovery of Mongolian students returning to Australia, particularly in the first six months of this year, with enrolments up 97% on 2022 levels, and even up 24% on 2019 pre-pandemic levels! I am confident we will continue to see more and more Mongolians take up the fantastic opportunity to study and deepen their experience through spending some time in Australia, including – I hope – many of you who are here today”.
We have asked questions to Ambassador Katie Smith about the exhibition and the Australian Awards scholarship.
- What is the aim of Australian Education Fair 2023?
- The Study Australia Education Fair 2023, is all about getting the message out there to young Mongolians about the opportunities to study in Australia, be that tertiary education or English language or technical and vocational education or even high school education. Australia is such a wonderful place for young Mongolians to come and study. We have such a great lifestyle. It's a very livable country. Their student support services are very strong, including for international students. So they will have a very supported experience in Australia. Also, there's amazing opportunities in Australia's, nature and wildlife, and I think they'll really enjoy that opportunity.
We have such strong linkages in education, be that from the scholarships or be that from young Mongolians who've been studying in Australia
- How many universities and colleges are participating in this event?
- So at today's event, there are 22 Australian institutions here. These are technical and vocational education, higher education, and English language colleges. And there's some high schools as well represented. So they've come all the way from Australia just to talk to young Mongolians. And we are so pleased we've had around 4000 young Mongolians show interest. So they'll be coming in today and talking face to face to these universities about the courses they offer, and all the extra support services that they offer as well.
- When I came in here, I saw there was a long line of young generation in the outside. So that means a lot of Mongolian young generations are very interested in Australian education. What is the advantage of the Australian Awards to Mongolian, especially for young generation?
- Well, we’re so proud of our Australia Awards program. This is our 30th anniversary this year. It’s been running for that long. During that time, we’ve had over 700 Mongolians graduate from that program. And they’re just so inspirational, these alumni, because they come back and they really contribute to Mongolia’s development, be that in private sector or public sector or government or civil society, whatever they choose to do, they’re so extremely successful. The scholarships program is really beneficial because the families can go to Australia with the students. So it’s really an experience for the whole family. And we’ve had generations now of Mongolians going under this program. Again, it’s all about the quality of the experience in Australia as well.
Our universities, 90% of them are globally ranked universities, so their reputation is very strong and those support services and that lifestyle is also really strong. This year, I was so pleased to announce an increase in our scholarships program. So next year we’ll be offering 50% increase to 15 scholarships. And hopefully in future years, we can just keep increasing. For me, education is the cornerstone of our relationship, the Australia-Mongolia relationship. We have such strong linkages in education, be that from the scholarships or be that from young Mongolians who've been studying in Australia. We now have over 22,000 Mongolians who've studied in Australia over the past 20 years. So the numbers really are a testament to the strong relationship that we have.
- Thank you so much for your time.