Information for first-time attendees

We want you to make the most of your first AIEC experience. Whether you are new to the international education community or whether this is your first time attending AIEC, we want to make sure your AIEC experience is a great success.

The important thing is to remember that you are not alone! Over 30 percent of attendees are first-timers too, and many of them are also new to the international education industry.

Here are some of the opportunities throughout the conference that will make your conference experience memorable, productive and enjoyable.

Exhibition Hall: Newcomers’ Lounge

The Newcomers’ Lounge in the Exhibition Hall will be a meeting point for all first-timers and newcomers. This is the place you go when you don’t know where to go.

The best times to visit the lounge is first thing in the morning, when the exhibition opens at 8.00am, and before sessions start. It's a great place to meet up with other delegates, plan your day and get tips on which sessions to attend.


In an effort to make AIEC a true forum for sharing and dialogue, this year we will be trialing a new informal format called 'Conversations'.

Representatives from the IEAA Speacial Interest Groups (SIGs) will be scheduling informal topics of conversations in the Newcomers' Lounge on Wednesday and Thursday. If you feel like joining into the conversation, learning a more about a particular topic of choice or sharing your insights and knowledge, make sure you visit the Newcomers's Lounge to see the list of topics and times. 

Participation is open to everyone, whether you are a first-timer, a newcomer to international education or veteran... so come and share your ideas!

First-timers’ Networking Function

Date/time: Tuesday 18 October, 4 to 5 pm
Location: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (Plenary Hall 3 Foyer, Ground Floor)

This function will take place on Tuesday 18 October 2016 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. If this is your first time attending AIEC, you will get the opportunity to connect with other first-timers and get a head start with your networking objectives.

Immediately after the First-timers’ Networking Function, the conference will officially begin with the Opening Plenary.

The first-timers' function is included in the full conference registration fee and is available to anyone who is new to AIEC and has never attended the conference before.

Open SIG meetings

Date/time: Wednesday 19 October, 1.30pm – 2.00pm
Location: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (see program for meeting rooms)

The IEAA Special Interest Groups (SIGs) hold open meetings during the lunch break on the first day of the conference. All delegates are encouraged to attend and, for first-timers and newcomers to the industry, this is the ideal place to meet up with other delegates that have similar interests as you.

Meetings are usually about 30 minutes.

Please refer to the online program or conference app for details.

Sessions for newcomers in the program

The program will feature two sessions that have been specifically designed to meet the needs of delegates who are new to the internatinal education sector.

“International education 101: what you should know”  is perfect for those who have recently joined the sector in the last two years, international visitors who want to know more about the Australian landscape, or anyone with a bit more experience but wanting a bit of a refresher.

“International education in Australia: come and test your proficiency!” is a fun and interactive café session where your knowledge of international education will be tested. In this session, you will have the opportunity to meet your peers and share your experiences through this networking-focused session.

Social functions

Welcome Reception

Date/time: Tuesday 18 October, 7.00pm – 8.30pm
Location: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (Exhibition Hall)
Sponsored by Study Melbourne

The Welcome Reception takes place immediately after the Welcome Plenary on Tuesday 18 October from 7.00pm to 8.30pm. Exhibitors, delegates and speakers will all come together for the first time, so the atmosphere will be buzzing with excitement. Make sure you bring your business cards!

The Welcome Reception is included in the full conference registration fee.

Happy Hour

Date/time: Wednesday 19 October, 5.30pm – 7.00pm
Location: The Wharf Hotel
Sponsored by IELTS

After a long but rewarding first day of sessions on Wednesday 19 October, Happy Hour is the perfect opportunity to relax and unwind in a friendly and casual environment.

There are several pubs and restaurants in the area where you can continue on for a casual dinner. Enquire at the Registration Desk for suggestions of where to dine with friends that night.

Happy Hour is included in the full conference registration fee.

Conference Dinner

Date/time: Thursday 20 October, 7.30pm – 11.30pm
Location: TBC
Sponsored by IDP Education

Past conference delegates at AIEC agree that the Conference Dinner is a highlight of the social events program.

The Conference Dinner is included in the full conference registration fee.

Key dates

1 June 2016 - Registration opens

19 August 2016- Early bird closes

18 October 2016 - Conference starts