UNSW International House, founded in 1968, is a multicultural college for more than 166 senior undergraduate and postgraduate residents from over 80 countries, including Australia. Our mission is to promote experiential learning, personal growth and cross understanding between students drawn from different educational, social and ethnic backgrounds.
The first International House was founded in New York. A chance encounter with a Chinese student on the steps of Low Library at Columbia University in 1909 inspired Harry Edmonds – a young YMCA secretary who later became the founder of New York International House, about the need for cross-cultural understanding and mutual respect between people of different race. He realised the paucity of suitable accommodation for foreign students. He later took his vision of founding a multicultural college for American and overseas students to philanthropist John D. Rockefeller. As a result, the first International House opened on Riverside Drive New York in 1924. The success of New York International House led to the establishment of International House at the University of California, Berkeley (1930) , the University of Chicago (1932), in Paris ( cite Internationale Universitaire de Paris, 1925 ) and in Tokyo (1952) as extensions of this idea.
With the help of Rotary International, the International House movement soon reached Australia. It began with the establishment of International House at the University of Melbourne in 1957. Subsequent developments included the establishment of IH at the University of Wollongong (1961), the University of Queensland (1965) , the University of Sydney (1965), The University of New South Wales (1968), the University of Newcastle (1988), James Cook University (1990), and the Northern Territory University (1990).
Nowadays, the International Houses are separate, independent non-profit making institutions united by one mission; to provide students of different nationalities and diverse cultures with the opportunity to live and learn together in a community of mutual respect, understanding and international friendship. So many of the friendships made within the Houses are made for life.