Melbourne City Football Club joined international students and the Victorian Government on the soccer pitch today to celebrate the announcement of 19 new projects worth more than $850,000 to support Victoria’s international students.
“Victoria values the contribution international students make to our society and we want to ensure they have the best possible experience while they are here as our guests. The International Student Welfare Program plays a crucial role in helping students access important support, become more involved and contribute to their local communities. This program is a key component to the Victorian Government’s International Education Strategy, which will ensure that Victoria stays ahead of the pack as Australia’s education state.”
Minister for Trade and Investment Philip Dalidakis
The new projects are part of the International Student Welfare Program (ISWP), one of many initiatives supporting the high-quality international student experience that makes Victoria one of the most sought-after destinations in the world for international students.
International education is important to Victoria’s economy – the sector generated $9.9 billion in 2017 and supports more 58,000 Victorian jobs throughout the state.
The Victorian Government works hard to ensure every international student feels safe and has the best possible experience of Victoria by funding projects that target common issues such as homesickness, social isolation, and awareness of legal protections and emergency services.
One of the key projects funded by the 2018 ISWP is run by the Melbourne City Football Club’s community foundation, City in the Community, using the popularity of soccer in a World Cup year to help students to build resilience, social connections and good health.
The four-year ISWP program is a Victorian Government initiative designed to fund activities and partnerships for international students, and has already supported 46 projects worth more than $1.03 million.
International students are choosing to study in Victoria in record numbers – more than 200,000 students travelled to Victoria from 170 countries made last year.
For more information on the ISWP and the projects funded in 2018, visit studymelbourne.vic.gov.au/iswp.
The 19 projects under Category 2 – Wellbeing Partnership Activities are listed at the bottom of this article.
If you want to bring people together, you can’t go wrong with a friendly game of sport.
In that spirit, a diverse team from Victoria Police recently took to the field against international students from La Trobe and Swinburne universities in a soccer game at Melbourne City Football Club (MCFC) in Bundoora, to strengthen lines of communication and foster relations.
Hosted by City in the Community, the charity arm of MCFC, the aim was to show international students – many of whom are away from their native home for the first time – that our police force is approachable and puts a high priority on student safety and social inclusion.
And it also kicked off the latest well being projects funded via the Victorian Government’s International Student Welfare Program to help tackle issues facing international students.
With pro-active initiatives such as soccer friendlies and wellbeing support, it’s no surprise Melbourne ranks as the third best student city in the world, two spots up from last year’s ranking, leapfrogging Paris and Montreal.
In June 2018 the International Student Welfare Program funded the following 19 projects under Category 2 – Wellbeing Partnership Activities.
ASEAN Games Australia 2018
ASEAN Youth Organisation
The 9th ASEAN Games Australia is the largest ASEAN-based sporting event in Australia. It aims to enhance the relationships amongst the Southeast Asian communities by gathering athletes and non-athletes across Victoria in a 3-day sporting festival. This year, we plan to have following list of sports, including but not limited to: Badminton, Basketball, Tennis, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Netball, Futsal, Ultimate Frisbee and E-Sports. In addition to these modern sports, students can play more traditional ASEAN board games such as congkak.
Global Student Entrepreneur Program (G-STEP)
Australia China Association of Scientists and Entrepreneurs (ACASE)
The start-up community can work with and learn from the real-world perspectives of global citizens, and test their business with the world before going global. International students will participate in real start-up business evolution and learn the mind set and processes required to drive their ideas to global commercial success. At no-cost to international students, the program organises networking, entrepreneurial training and pitch events.
AIYA Socio-Cultural Engagement Event Series
Australia-Indonesia Youth Association- Victoria Chapter
This series of six events aims to provide opportunities for Indonesian international students to integrate and network with local young people, promoting a sense of emotional wellbeing and belonging. This will be achieved through providing opportunities for Indonesian international students to meet fellow Indonesians in Melbourne and by facilitating cross-cultural learning, thereby bridging the gap in cultural understanding.
AFIS Information Day 2019
Australian Federation of International Students (AFIS)
This will be the 16th Information Day run by AFIS and is a premier event on the international student calendar offering an opportunity to hear directly from officials and experts on finding a home or a job, personal and career development, immigration matters, wellbeing matters and ways to access the many students support services on offer.
The Student Ambassador Program –
Enhancing Capacity of International Post-Secondary Students in Victoria
Centre for Holistic Health
This project contains the following elements: Ambassador training for student leaders on mental health knowledge and programme planning skills to promote mental health among international students; training for international students to enrich their knowledge of mental illness; emotion management workshops/groups run by professional staff for international students with early signs and symptoms of depression or anxiety; intensive casework counselling, as well as referrals, for those who require intensive follow-ups; and a mini conference on “Enhancing Chinese Speaking International Students’ Mental Well-Being”.
City International Student Football Project
City in the Community
This project will use sport and the power of football to engage and support international students who may be facing a range of personal challenges, including social isolation and a lack of social connectedness. City in the Community will deliver fun and dynamic football sessions across a number of institutions and campuses including regional locations. Students will also receive important information about student services, including health and well-being, in the form of visits from key services, guest speakers and hand-outs.
Wellbeing Without Barriers – empowering Latin American Students in Victoria
Community Hubs Australia
The project will deliver the following activities: Health and Wellbeing Promotion Workshops, including how to access a range of health and wellbeing services; Group Wellbeing Sessions facilitated by organisations to support participants experiencing or vulnerable to mental health; an Empower Physical Activity Pilot to promote the importance of regular physical activity to overall wellbeing; and a Project Working Group to support high quality design, delivery and evaluation for all activities of the project.
Life Cycle will deliver a program of skill based cycling sessions, combined with riding opportunities aimed at International students over a 12 month period within RMIT and Monash University. The program is based on a fun and social experience that will improve student’s bicycle riding skills and confidence, understanding of the riding environment, road rules, traffic awareness, and knowledge of local bike paths and riding trails. A key aspect of the project will be the delivery of instructor education to students. This will provide them the opportunity to lead groups in cycling skills to other students through being qualified Ride Leaders.
Warrnambool City International Student Engagement and participation project
Deakin University – Warrnambool Campus
This project will deliver a diverse range of wellbeing and experience activities for the increasing number of international students coming to study in the Warrnambool region. The events will provide an opportunity for students to immerse themselves into the Warrnambool community and develop strong and lasting relationships with both local and international students, as well as the citizens of Warrnambool and the broader region.
The project will provide a series of workshops for LGBT international students. Rainbow Connections will be a series of 6 events, held once a month, which will provide a safe space for LGBT international students to socialise as well as learn about the queer scene in Australia and the resources that are available – from health services to social events.
Student Mental Health Training for Teachers
This project involves the delivery of five 3 hour workshops for ELICOS teachers in Victoria covering basic training in the area of international student the mental health. The aim of the workshops is to develop teacher knowledge and skills in this area. The training would include topics such as common mental health issues experienced by ELICOS students, stigma and mental health, early identification of mental health difficulties and how teachers can offer support and connect students to in-house counsellors.
Enhancing the awareness and understanding of the international student entrepreneur community in Victoria
International Education Association of Australia (IEAA)
This is an applied research project seeking to understand the important economic, social and cultural contributions of international student entrepreneurs in Victoria. It includes consultation with international student entrepreneurs to provide an overview of the current international student entrepreneur community in Victoria, identify the factors constraining their success, and raise awareness of the important economic, social and cultural contributions that this community makes.
Be You- Be Scene (Stories at the heart of change)
This project places the voice and experiences of international students centre stage, through a creative workshop and consultation process that asks international students about the issues impacting their lives. A repertoire of theatrical scenes will then be devised and produced around those issues. Specific scenes will be linked, promoted, presented and workshopped within student, educational, health and professional development contexts, including regional universities, TAFEs, health and community settings, and orientation days.
Contact Points: Enabling international students during critical incidents
The project includes workshops across Victoria with university-based international students, student support services and local councils facilitated by ISANA, the Victorian Police, Medical and Ambulance Services and Fire Services. During these workshops, international students and student support service representatives will be surveyed on their knowledge of critical incident scenarios. Workshop participants will discuss the critical incident scenarios they have encountered or foresee, and develop strategies for what to do when they encounter critical incidents. The research will culminate in a report that will be available across institutions in all education sectors across Victoria and to all local councils.
Working in Australia Mentoring Program for First Year International Students
This project aims to assist international students gain a more holistic understanding of the Australian workforce, and understand first hand the challenges and opportunities to finding meaningful work in Australia. This is an innovative industry led twelve month mentoring program which aims to improve international student wellbeing by ensuring they are supported to transition into the Australian workforce, and in their areas of study. Through this mentoring program, more than 300 international students will be professionally coached by industry professionals, many of whom are former international students themselves.
MWF International Student Volunteer Engagement Pilot
Melbourne Writers Festival
Melbourne Writers Festival (MVF) will host a dedicated information session for international students to encourage them to learn about the volunteering opportunities available during the Festival. The project supervisor to also provide dedicated support to international students throughout the application and volunteering process. This on-the-ground support during the festival will ensure that international students have the resources to go beyond their comfort zone in interacting with audience members and fellow volunteers, building skills and developing friendships.
Building Positive Homestay Experiences
University of Melbourne – Graduate School of Education
A significant gap exists in regards to the provision and regulation of homestay providers across the education sector. The project team will interview agencies used to locate and support homestay providers. The findings from this study will be used to document and critically analyse the nature of the homestay experience at large and to inform and help propose future regulations, standards and guidelines, including essential information for prospective homestay participants and providers. Most importantly, it will present recommendations on how best to regulate homestay providers relative to the ESOS Act and child safe standards.
TAFE Victoria Real Day Out
Victorian TAFE Association
The TAFE Victoria Real Day Out (RDO) provides an opportunity for 600 Victorian TAFE international students across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria to gain introductions to employers, try out jobs of the future and develop an understanding of where industry sectors and careers are headed. It is designed as an immersive workplace experience as well as an opportunity to connect socially and develop 21st Century capabilities. The program includes an official opening and will culminate in an end of day networking event.
Meeting the Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of Female Overseas Students – Pilot
Womens Health In The North
This project responds directly to research indicating high numbers of unplanned pregnancies, terminations and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) for female international students studying in Australia. It will engage directly with these students to: improve their sexual and reproductive education and advocate for their rights; give them the skills and understanding to negotiate safe and consensual sexual relationships; reduce unplanned pregnancies and STIs; increase their access to sexual and reproductive health services; and improve their university experience.
For more information on the ISWP and the projects funded in 2018, visit studymelbourne.vic.gov.au/iswp.