SCU International was established in 1995, after the University council acknowledged the important role 'internationalisation' would play in the University's future development. Its purpose was to recruit and support international students, promote overseas study opportunities for Australian students, and establish offshore programs.
Dr Ross Lehmann, the first director of the International Office, had a vision to provide every student with the opportunity to study in another country.
"Travel really broadens your horizons, you can take off the blinkers off and you really do become a better citizen," Dr Lehmann said.
In 1995, 95 international students had enrolled at Southern Cross University from more than 20 countries, creating a more multicultural campus and community environment. The following year, SCU welcomed its first group of international students to the study abroad program, which enabled students enrolled in an overseas institution to complete one or two semesters of study in Australia. The first students we from the USA and Germany.
The exchange program, which began in 1995 and continues today, has enabled hundreds of Australian students to travel overseas to study one or two semesters at a partner institution and receive credit for their existing studies. These days the exchange program boasts 44 partner institutions for students to select from.
Off-shore programs were seen as an opportunity for the University to grow. In 1996, SCU was delivering courses in Singapore, China and Malaysia through education collaborations. By 1998, this expanded to include Hong Kong, South Africa, India, Fiji, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. In 2014, SCU has education collaborations in Papua New Guinea, Singapore, New Zealand and China.
The International Student Support team has provided the University's international students with an exceptional level of care with pre-arrival information, orientation and support throughout their studies. The global International Student Barometer (ISB), rated SCU number one in Australia for international student support in 2013.
SCU International continues to provide opportunities for Australian and international students through overseas study, exploring new cultures and broadening their horizons.