Charles Darwin University (CDU) has become the first university in the country to welcome international students back to Australia, with a flight carrying 63 students landing in Darwin this morning (Monday, 30 November).
Students travelled to Singapore to be connected to the chartered Singapore Airlines fight, which departed Changi Airport and touched down at Darwin International Airport at 7.30am.
The cohort, from mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia, are the first group of international students to enter Australia since the introduction of hard border restrictions in March due to COVID-19. The pilot program is an important first step in the recovery of the international education sector in Australia.
All students were required to adhere to pre-departure health screening and follow the advice of the NT Chief Health Officer. Upon arrival in Darwin, students were transported immediately to the Northern Territory Government facility at Howard Springs for 14 days of quarantine.
CDU Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks said CDU was leading the nation by becoming the first university to welcome back international students to study.
“The flight contained a mix of new and continuing students who are enrolled in a range of undergraduate, postgraduate and VET programs including Law, Nursing, IT, Teaching, Accounting and Engineering,” Professor Maddocks said.
“They will be studying at our Casuarina, Waterfront, Palmerston and Alice Springs campuses and are very excited to come to the Northern Territory to study.
“International students are vitally important to CDU. It has been a tremendous effort by our staff to make this pilot program a reality.”
The students’ arrival will provide a significant boost to CDU and the Northern Territory, with international students generating $145 million to the NT’s economy in 2019 and supporting more than 600 jobs.
CDU Deputy Vice-Chancellor Global Strategy and Advancement, Andrew Everett confirmed the program has strictly adhered to all health and safety measures as directed by the Chief Health Officer of the NT.
“We have been working closely with the Northern Territory and Australian governments to ensure the health and safety of the Northern Territory community and our students remains the highest priority,” Mr Everett said.
“CDU is adhering to the advice of the Chief Health Officer on all aspects relating to health and safety, including pre-departure health requirements, COVID-19 testing and quarantine upon arrival.”
CDU has a comprehensive support program for students during their quarantine period including care packages, safety briefings, daily phone calls, virtual coffee catch ups and exercise classes, along with, English language and employability workshops.
Once students have completed quarantine, CDU will host an event to welcome them on Casuarina campus.