EIGHTY student volunteers are spending their mid-year break greeting new international students at Melbourne Airport as they begin their education journey in Australia.
From now to July 18, the Student Welcome Desk volunteers – some from as far as Mildura and Ballarat in regional Victoria – will be distributing free information packs that include advice on staying safe in Melbourne, using Melbourne’s public transport, places to visit, major events, as well as practical information on employment, renting, and consumer rights.
Around 12,000 information packs were given away and 5000 enquiries taken when the Student Welcome Desk launched in February this year.
The Student Welcome Desk will operate every February and July, when the state receives the largest intake of international students.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said Melbourne was leading the way in providing support services for international students in Australia.
“Melbourne is the only Australian city to offer an initiative like the Student Welcome Desk. As soon as they step off the plane we are working to equip students with the information they need to make their transition to a new country easier,” Cr Doyle said.
Future Melbourne Committee Chair Carl Jetter said the City of Melbourne was “underpinned by its student community’‘.
“Our research highlights that 15 per cent of residents are international students and around 30,000 international students either live or study in the municipality,” Cr Jetter said.
“The Student Welcome Desk connects students on two levels; it provides a friendly and helpful service to new arrivals, and equally, it’s now one of the city’s most successful student volunteer programs, encouraging students to engage in the life of the city.”
The Student Welcome Desk is an initiative developed by the City of Melbourne in collaboration with Victoria’s nine major universities and the State Government.
A number of partners across government and the education industry have contributed to fund and provide information through the Student Welcome Desk.