Jenna Bradwell

Welcome bursts with culture and colour

Students from across the globe gathered in Crown Street Mall’s amphitheatre last week for a celebration of culture, colour and the scores of opportunities Wollongong has to offer.

Welcome to Wollongong (W2W) is an event which aims to enhance the experience of all students attending UOW, UOW College, TAFE Illawarra Institute and their families.

W2W, which was run for the fifth time, celebrates cultural diversity and the contribution international students make to the region.

Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councilor Gordon Bradbery hosted a civic reception as part of the festivities to symbolically welcome newcomers to the Illawarra.

Cr Bradbery said it was a day of diversity and harmony and of recognising the value of students to the community.

“It’s all about embracing other cultures and sharing the wonderful things that Wollongong has to offer,” he said.

Speaking at the event was current student, freelance journalist and author Gracia Ngoy. Congolese- born Ms Ngoy is studying Communication and Media Studies and Commerce degrees at UOW after arriving in Australia under the Humanitarian Visas Program in July 2005.

She told the crowd that, though she understood the difficulties associated with studying in another country, she urged international students to take advantage of the positive opportunities Wollongong has to offer.

Ms Ngoy also spoke of the importance of domestic students being willing to embrace and engage with international students.

Around 500 students enjoyed browsing information stalls hosted by Wollongong Lifeguards, Wollongong Council, Cancer Council and UOW cultural clubs.

Indigenous dancers and two performances from Wollongong Public School’s Performance Group were also among the highlights of the day.

W2W is hosted by UOW as part of the Student Life Program in partnership with Wollongong City Council, TAFE Illawarra Institute and other local community groups. The event is supported by the Office of Community & Partnerships and Faculty International For more information visit the W2W webpage.

By: Jenna Bradwell.


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  • Students and their families from across the globe attended the Welcome to Wollongong event.

  • The day’s aim was to celebrate cultural diversity and the contribution international students make to our region.

  • Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councilor Gordon Bradbery hosted a civic reception to welcome students to the city.

  • UOW student Gracia Ngoy spoke at the event, encouraging students to make the most of the opportunities the city has to offer.

  • Performances from local schools were among the highlights of the day.

  • Indigenous dancers were a favourite for the crowd of around 500.