2015 year in review


My first year as Head of College at International House has been both rewarding and happily challenging. The greatest achievements were the 54 new graduate students who joined our community, and finding ways to successfully engage these residents in the life of the House. Our student body swelled to nearly 350 students, and now International House is the second largest residential college at the University of Melbourne!

It was encouraging to see rooms filled by early February 2015. The college’s senior executive and council had anticipated the needs of our newest residents, and it was mostly smooth sailing with only a few minor teething issues - nothing unexpected from opening a brand new building. The new graduate student association came into existence, and I applaud the leadership of the undergraduate and graduate students who found new ways to connect with each other both socially and academically.

2015 saw an increase in demand for scholarships, a demand anticipated to grow in the future. Outlined below are our scholarship offerings, although such a list does not highlight just how much impact philanthropic support has provided these students. To all our donors in 2015, thank you most sincerely for your ongoing support, and we look forward to continuing discussions in 2016 and beyond.

New donations resulted in the provision of additional scholarships for a hearing impaired student and an overseas student with financial need, not to mention the generous contributions of the 1964 alumni group. We also plan to instigate scholarships that honour the contribution by founding International House member Dr Rajaratnam Sundarason.

As our facilities continue to age, the college has shifted its attention and budget towards a new capital works project that focuses on student room renovations and maintenance. Outlined below are some of these projects completed in 2015, although as you can understand capital works will be an ongoing commitment for the future.

In review, I wish to thank our entire community for the care and work they have provided to International House in 2015. This college has a strong future and will continue to transform lives by providing a vibrant and enriching home for students in the years to come. I feel so privileged to be part of it.

Dr Deborah Seifert
Head of College

Our residents

International House students are enriched by a community of diversity and intercultural harmony, and in 2015 we remained focused on championing the cause for mutual respect, understanding and friendship among nations. The increase in student numbers saw a change to student demographics, which are outlined below.

279 undergraduate students
54 graduate students

39 nationalities

University of Melbourne - 88%
Other tertiary institution - 12%

Area of study - undergraduate students

Undergraduate students area of study

  1. Agriculture
  2. Arts
  3. Biomedicine
  4. Commerce
  5. Environments
  6. Music
  7. Science
  8. Non-UoM tertiary institution

Level of study - graduate students

Graduate students level of study

  1. Graduate Diploma
  2. Honours
  3. Master
  4. Doctor (professional)*
  5. PhD^

* - 8 MD, 5 Vet Sc, 3 Physio, 1 Dental Sc, 1 JD
^ - 2 Engineering, 1 Commerce, 1 Science, 1 Sociology, 1 Dance (VCA)

Student perspective

In 2015 I spent the winter break volunteering at the Happy Life Children's Home for Abandoned Babies in Kenya. I learned a great deal about the role of social workers within the context of children in the care of a home. These were incredible months for me, which pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone. My time in Kenya definitely consolidated my desire to pursue a career in which the work that I do contributes to ending injustice in our world.

Larnie Hewat, 2015 IH Global Citizenship Award recipient

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Scholarships awarded

In 2015, 49 students were awarded a scholarship or bursary payment to assist their living expenses at International House. The generosity of new donors in 2015 enabled International House to provide two additional scholarships in 2016 for a hearing impaired student and an overseas returning student with financial need.

Living and learning

We saw a real improvement in the living and learning facilities for students, most ably demonstrated by the newly built George Hicks Building. While the day-to-day aspect of life at IH has improved, there is more to be done to provide a truly nurturing physical environment to the standard required of a residential college of the University of Melbourne.

Improvements to the Angus Mitchell Library

  • Library hours extended to 24 hours 7 days a week
  • Wireless printing installed
  • Library catalogue moved online
  • Screens installed around the library books for security during non-borrowing hours
  • Wall adjoining the library and computer lab removed to create a larger space


This year, 74 weekly tutorials were taught at International House by a team of resident and non-resident tutors. Tutorials offer students the opportunity to ask questions that they might feel less comfortable asking in university tutorials, and are beneficial for exploring concepts in greater depth. Residents excelled academically, and 55.5% of students achieved at least one First Class Honours (H1 or 80% and above).

Library renovations
Students borrowing from the Angus Mitchell Library

Capital works

The top floor of Wadham and the top three floors of Scheps had a refreshing internal upgrade over the summer break. These works are part of a five-year building and maintenance plan that will cost an estimated $2.3 million over five years, and upgrade student rooms and bathrooms to meet the needs and expectations of future students.

Dimmick Dining Hall

  • New kitchen equipment (oven, stove, refridgerators, ice machine)
  • New kitchen floor laid
  • Refurbishment of the student coffee station and water room
  • Commenced refurbishment of dining room tables
Scheps room renovation
A newly renovated student room in Scheps

Rooms and amenities

  • Refurbishment of the student rooms, bathroom and kitchenette on the 4th floor of Wadham
  • Refurbishment of Scheps 3rd, 4th and 5th floors (completed February 2016)
  • Refurbishment of the student kitchen in Greycourt
  • New music rehearsal room in Greycourt
  • New switches were installed for IT servers
  • Refurbishment of a hot desk office for visiting academics


  • Garden redevelopment works
  • New paving around Founders, Greycourt and Scheps
  • Construction of a new fire staircase at the back of Greycourt
  • Commencement of the Laurel Clark Garden

Student perspective

Aside from having a place to live and people to take care of my basic needs, living in a close community such as International House has given me a great sense of belonging. It simply feels so comforting when you are always surrounded with friends whom you can talk to and a community that offers so much more than just academic striving. Furthermore, there is no other college that appreciates international diversity like International House!

Benjamin Lam, 2015 Mavis Jackson Academic Potential Entrance scholarship

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Distribution of income and expenses

International House is in a solid position both financially and operationally, and we expect to continue a relatively secure financial condition into 2016. Listed below is an indication of the college's income sources and how this money was spent.

Income in 2015

Income 2015

  1. Residence income
  2. Guest accommodation and conferencing income
  3. Interest received
  4. Trust income (includes donations to trusts)
  5. Other income
  6. Building donations

Expenses in 2015

Expenses 2015

  1. Student related expenses
  2. Scholarship payments
  3. Academic and pastoral expenses
  4. Maintenance program expenses
  5. Interest payments
  6. Guest accommodation and conferencing expenses
  7. Administrative expenses
  8. Cleaning and utilities expenses
  9. Depreciation

If you would like to give in 2016

Giving makes an extraordinary impact on International House and its future. Even small gifts can make an great difference on the services and facilities we can provide for our students.

To make a one-off donation or set up a regular gift please visit our giving page.

If you would like to discuss giving to International House, our Director of Marketing and Development would be delighted to hear from you.

Tamra Keating
Director of Marketing and Development
E tkeating@unimelb.edu.au
P +61 3 9345 7558