VIC: targeted govt support for international student wellbeing

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New investments announced by the Victorian government today aim to enhance the experience of Victoria’s international students with programs ranging from jobs guidance to mental health support.

Minister for Trade Martin Pakula confirmed more than $1.1 million in funding for the Study Melbourne Inclusion Program, the Study Melbourne Edutourism Program and sponsorship of the first-ever Melbourne International Student Week.

“The wellbeing of our international students is a top priority and programs like these support and enrich the student experience in Victoria,” he said.

The latest round of the International Student Welfare Program provides $625,000 for 17 projects addressing priority issues for international students including social isolation, sexual and mental health and employability.

OutBeyond has also been awarded $383,000 for the Study Melbourne Edutourism Program, providing single and multi-day excursions for international students to visit Victoria’s world-renowned regional destinations including the Great Ocean Road, Mornington Peninsula, Phillip Island and Gippsland – when it is safe to do so.

The excursions will promote Victoria’s tourism appeal and incorporate activities to develop leadership, collaboration and critical thinking while providing features such as Aboriginal cultural activities led by local community leaders.

The Government has also committed $150,000 as the major sponsor of the 2022 Melbourne International Student Week, a festival of events at Federation Square to be delivered by the Committee for Melbourne.

The festival hopes to connect international students to the Victorian community and showcase benefits of international education to the wider population.

Ongoing support from the Victorian government for the international student community include emergency relief payments, access to free legal advice and case work and referral services through the Study Melbourne Student Centre.

“We know it has been a challenging time but we will continue to deliver a valuable and uniquely Victorian experience for international students on the ground while planning for a vibrant future,” Trade Minister Pakula said.

There are currently 85,000 international students from 100 countries living in Victoria, as per government records. An important export industry for the state, the international education sector contributed $10.5 billion to the state’s economy last year and supported around 79,000 Victorian jobs before the pandemic.

For more information, go to studymelbourne.vic.gov.au.

READ ALSO: NSW: Targeted COVID-19 support for International students

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