Aus: International Student Hub launched in NSW
An International Student Hub has launched in Sydney with the aim to support international students across the city and the wider New South Wales area.
The hub will support students suffering from issues such as wage exploitation, low accommodation standards and social isolation as a result of the global pandemic.
“This project is unique as it is led by community groups from the ground up”
“It’s more important than ever that we give students a voice and a space in this city to help ensure their experience in Australia is positive and life-changing,” said Diana Olmos, a former international student from Colombia and International Student Community Organiser from Sydney Alliance.
“The Hub is not just a place for students to share their problems, but a place where we can engage in capacity building, social cohesion between people on visas and citizens, leadership workshops and meaningful projects to enhance the student experience in this city,” she said.
Education agency Go Study Australia is providing over 400 sqm of space and resources to host the hub and its members.
“We are proud to donate a significant part of our vibrant student support space to the operations of the hub,” according to general manager of Go Study Australia, Simon Costain.
“There is such a positive energy, with 50 or more action driven people from different cultures visiting the facility each day, and working together to empower and support great projects,” he said.
Despite hosting approximately 37% of international students in Australia, NSW has not had a student hub previously, unlike other states.
“Our objective is to provide an amazing space for the Hub, so its members can make an amazing difference to the international student experience. By supporting the program, we hope to assist the Hub to secure future funding and establish permanent operations to support students well into the future,” Costain added.
The project has secured a $100,000 grant from the City of Sydney for the pilot, but is appealing for more to fully resource the centre.
“While $100k is a good start, we actually need a total of $200k to fully resource the Hub,” said Olmos.
Funding will pay for a professional social worker to support students in crisis and a community worker to facilitate social cohesion inside and outside the hub, as well as secure the project’s long-term sustainability, she explained.
“This project is unique as it is led by community groups from the ground up, and not a top down approach from the government,” Costain added.
“We are calling on all stakeholders to support this Hub, from colleges, to insurance providers to former international students.”