The date was originally chosen to commemorate the students and professors who were killed in Prague, and thousands sent to concentration camps, on November 17 1939, after demonstrations against the Nazi regime which shut down all universities in Czechoslovakia. Nowadays, the date is still used to highlight the importance of education for all.
“The cultural and economic legacy of international students deserves its day of global celebration,” said Chris Kirk, director, UCAS International, in a LinkedIn post. For him, international students help to make the world “a smaller, smarter, safer and more inclusive place.”
Many organisations took the opportunity to campaign for better conditions and experiences for international students, with the European Students’ Union releasing its ‘resolution on student poverty’ in a bid to empower students and meet their needs.
Meanwhile, the Irish Council for International Students hosted an event, ‘Speak Out Against Racism’, an interactive discussion on racism in Ireland.
Universities Australia said in a tweet that, “Hundreds of thousands of international students choose to study in Australia each year, making our universities, communities and economy stronger. We are better off for having them.”
Universities, too, have found creative ways to mark International Students’ Day, with the University of Portsmouth releasing a series of videos following the stories of five of its international students.
Meanwhile, Niagara College Toronto posed the question “what do you like most about being an international student?” around its campus in a video posted on Twitter.
In the UK, Leeds Beckett University held specialised careers support services for its international students throughout the day, both in-person and virtually, with sessions such as ‘the realities of working in the UK as international graduate’ and a CV support drop in service.