A group of students from Asia who first studied in Australia in the 1950s has returned to New South Wales for the 60th anniversary of the Colombo Plan.
The Colombo Plan, a regional initiative focused on education and technical capability, supported around 20,000 students between 1952 and 1985.
The University of New South Wales was the first to welcome scholarships students from regional countries to study.
Tennyson Rodrigo, now 82, was among those who arrived from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to study Chemical Engineering in Australia.
"It was a strange set of circumstances, in the sense that I expected to come to a very highly developed university in the sense of physical structures and so forth," "But [the area] was still in the early stages of industrial New South Wales - so the first impression was that it wasn't that inspiring - but I got adjusted to it pretty fast.
"I had basically no difficult in settling in Australia despite slight issues with the accent." Sixty years on, UNSW is hosting a reunion for students from countries including Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore and Ceylon.
Mr Rodrigo says he and his colleagues who arrived under the plan felt a strong sense of responsibility.
"We felt that coming to Australia under the Colombo plan scholarship was a pioneering experience for us," he said.
"And getting back after the completion of my degree course, I had a feeling that we were making a contribution to the development of the country." The anniversary comes as Australia discusses the 'Australia in the Asian Century' White Paper.
The paper focuses on deepening regional ties, and improving Asian literacy among Australians.
Mr Rodrigo says the Australia of today is very different to the one he first experienced in the 1950s "I can't think of the words to describe how Australia has changed over the last 60 years," he said.
"Over the last 50 years the world has changed, more than over the last 200 years, and Australia is an example of that - it's changed, not only in terms of its physical environment...but also its demography composition has changed so much."