Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD)

Western Sydney University has a proud history in the culturally diverse, progressive and fast-growing region it serves, delivering the highest educational opportunities alongside world-class research expertise. Significant benefits can be gained by embracing the diversity of all these different cultures. The contribution of different traditions, customs and ideas can facilitate diversity of thought and approaches, providing innovative perceptions.

The University is committed to promoting a respectful and harmonious culture where diversity is embraced and student and staff environments are free from cultural bias, discrimination and vilification.

The University has social and cultural spaces on most campuses including a chaplaincy team and multi-faith centers for everyone on campus regardless of faith. There are also a number of on-campus men’s and women’s Muslim prayer rooms which include Qibla-facing prayer carpets, a place for Wudu, and female prayer clothing if needed.

Cultural leave

The University has a commitment to providing leave for staff to participate in significant cultural and religious events and ceremonies which are recognised by the NSW Premier’s List of Days of Religious Significance for Multicultural NSW. Usual leave options include:WSU Students

  • personal leave,
  • flex leave,
  • leave without pay and
  • time in lieu.

Further information can be found in the staff enterprise agreements .


Western Sydney University and Greater Western Sydney diversity statistics

Western Sydney University is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse universities in Australia drawing 77% of our students from the local Greater Western Sydney Region:

  • approximately 40% of the University’s 48,458 students were born overseas including more than 175 countries;
  • approximately 37% of students speak a language other than English at home including around 160 languages; and

University staff also reflect this wealth of diversity with at least 40% being born overseas from across over 70 countries.

The University reflects the diversity of the local Greater Western Sydney Region which is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse regions in Australia:

  • 841,464 (37.7%) of GWS’s estimated population of 2,232,000 were born overseas with India, China and Vietnam being the top three countries of birth;
  • 729,864 (32.7%) were born in a country where English is not the first language;
  • 401,760 (18%) arrived in Australia within 5 years prior to 2016; and
  • 937,440 (42%) speak a language other than English at home with Arabic, Vietnamese and Mandarin being the top three languages.

International students

Western Sydney University has an international student uptake of 23% of the student population. The University welcomes and supports international students. Further information on available supports can be found on the Equity and Diversity, Cultural Diversity page and the Western Sydney International Students page.

Australia-wide diversity statisticsAHRC Racism Conversation 2019

The Human Rights Commission’s 2019 Australia wide data study confirms Western Sydney Region and Western Sydney University reflect an even greater range of diversity than the typical range for Australia.

  • Australia is home to the world’s oldest continuous cultures.
  • More than 1 in 4 (26%) of Australians speak a language other than English at home.
  • Australians identify with more than 270 ancestries.
  • In 2018 more than one in four Australians were born overseas.
  • One in five Australians have one or both parents born overseas
  • The top five countries migrants come from (in order from most to least) are England, China, India, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
  • Migrants that arrived in 2014-15 are projected to contribute $9.7 billion to the Australian economy over 50 years.
  • In 2018 overseas migration represented 60% of Australia’s population growth.
  • Every single country from around the world was represented in Australia’s population in 2018.
  • 77% of Australians support action to tackle racism.

External resources

The links below provide further information and resources to support cultural diversity in Australia and in the workplace.