Love Melbourne? The Victorian Government is inviting current and former students to contribute to the discussion on making Victoria the place to study for international students – and our team at Meld is pleased to be facilitating these conversations. Find out how you can take part.
What do you say when friends or family ask you about your experiences studying abroad? Have you ever compared notes with friends studying in other states or countries?
From the moment you arrive to the time you graduate, a lot of thought has gone into thinking about how international students can make the most of their experiences in Melbourne. The Victorian Government has, for quite awhile now, recognised that what happens outside the classroom is just as important as what happens inside the classroom:
- There are the issues that you might come across in the day-to-day, such as challenges you may encounter with regards to accommodation and rental, finding part-time work and keeping up with the bills, getting medical help when you’re unwell, and your feelings about safety;
- Your desire to secure a good job after graduation be it here in Melbourne or back home, and what needs to be done to give you the best opportunities possible;
- Not forgetting all the fun stuff that makes studying overseas so enriching – opportunities to travel and explore Melbourne and beyond, as well as the chance to forge some incredible friendships with other international students, local students and the wider local community.
Where are we now?
In Australia, Victoria is well regarded for its focus on making sure international students have a positive time while studying here – thanks to collaboration between local, state and federal governments and education institutions.
The Victorian Government’s key contribution is the Study Melbourne Student Centre. Some might be surprised to know this, but the Study Melbourne Student Centre is the only of its kind in Australia, and quite likely, the world. And for those who care about rankings, it’s what has contributed to Melbourne being assessed by QS Rankings as among the best student cities in the world, second only to Paris!
Around employability, the Study Melbourne Internship Program is currently being piloted in partnership with 13 education providers with a goal to place 300 students in internships by the end of 2015.
The introduction of the two- to four-year post-study work visa, available to many international students, is also an opportunity for employers to engage talented graduates.
The Government also regularly engages with and supports not-for-profit and community organisations working with international students. A new International Student Welfare Grants program is currently being rolled out, and the four-year, $4 million program will be available to a variety of groups with a focus on improving student experience beyond the classroom.
What’s next for Victoria?
Looking ahead, the Victorian Government has sets its sights on making Victoria what it calls the ‘Education State’, and with that, a commitment to being the leader in student experience initiatives.
This includes thinking about how Victoria can remain an attractive destination to study and travel, as well as coming up with innovative approaches to helping international students build stronger connections with local students and communities.
There are also gaps, and the Victorian Government recognises that much more work needs to be done to improve employer awareness of the value that student interns and graduates bring, particularly for local firms doing business with other parts of the world, including many countries where students come from.
In addition, the connection to people and places endures long after one graduates and returns home, and the Government is deeply interested in the creation of a global alumni framework, and how it can support those looking to return to set up a business or find a trading partner in Victoria.
Have your say
Is the Government on the right track to making Victoria the best place to study for international students? Your feedback matters, and your experiences will help identify and explore critical issues and concerns, and more importantly, come up with solutions to address them.
If you’re wondering where to start, here are some questions to help kickstart the conversation:
Interested in finding out more? You can read the International Education Discussion Paper in full as well as learn about Victoria’s future industries, the role international education plays, and how you can further contribute to the discussion via the Future Industries Fund website.