International Student Day on 17 November is a global day celebrating inspirational and intrepid students who travel to foreign shores to further their education. Study Cairns is thrilled to recognise our valued community of international students, not just on this day but year-round. With Australia welcoming students from over 60 countries, more than 25,000 students choose to study in Cairns each year.
International students make a valued contribution to our multi-cultural community. Not only does this eclectic mix of students educate themselves, they inform those around them by sharing important aspects of their own culture. International Student Day recognises this positive impact international students have on foreign shores. Though the actual date commemorates a tragic period in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia.
On 28 October 1939, Czech students held a demonstration to commemorate the anniversary of the Independence of the Czech Republic twenty one years earlier. Nazi authorities violently suppressed the demonstrations at Czech universities, with student Jan Opletal being shot. He died from his wounds on 11 November. With tensions reaching breaking point, Opletal’s funeral procession on 15 November turned into an anti-Nazi demonstration by his fellow students. Nazi authorities subsequently shut down all higher education institutions, arresting more than 1,200 students and despatching them across the German border to Sachsenhausen, a concentration camp used by Nazi Germany for political prisoners. They were the lucky ones.
Nine student leaders and professors were executed without trial in Prague on 17 November 1939. Historians speculate that the 28 October demonstration was approved by the Nazi’s who anticipated a violent outcome and seized the opportunity to shut down universities. Thus silencing student dissidents.
Thankfully, such evil deeds are in the past.
As we countdown towards the brand new Student Hub opening in Cairns on Friday 24 November, we embrace our multicultural student community and wish for peaceful celebrations across the globe.