It was more than a fun day out at the beach for the many international students that helped create a Human Rainbow at Kurrawa Beach.
Hosted by Study Gold Coast as part of its ‘Embracing Diversity’ campaign, the event coincided with the recently concluded 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
It was a significant and meaningful moment for the students who were joined by members of the local community to celebrate the city’s diversity.
As if on cue, the skies cleared and the sunny coast was everything one imagined it would be.
Against the backdrop of national flags from around the world, participants young and old – dressed in the same commemorative white t-shirts, barefoot and with sand between their toes – found their way to each other and joined hands in solidarity to form the Human Rainbow.
The significance of the Human Rainbow
International visitors and students from countries such as Sudan, Brazil, Philippines, Malaysia, Pakistan, Canada, China, Jamaica and many more, along with Australian locals, were all smiles that early morning.
Human Rainbow participants took selfies, embraced familiar faces, made new friends and proudly posed beneath their national flag.
In celebrating what makes Gold Coast diverse, Human Rainbow participants were reminded of the value of human connection.
“It’s a really beautiful thing here on the Gold Coast, a small city but a lot of people coming from different backgrounds and I love that I can meet a lot of people from many different backgrounds,” a Griffith University student from Japan said.
For one Southern Cross University student from the Philippines, it was an hour’s trip to get to Kurrawa Beach to celebrate diversity alongside her friends. She wanted to create a meaningful experience.
“Before, I didn’t know I would have friends from different parts of the world,” she said. “But the thing is, I have friends in different parts of the world – German friends, Sudanese friends!”
A Sudanese Bond University student also echoed these sentiments, and added her own definition of diversity.
“[Diversity] is being culturally different, yet alike at the same time. At the end of the day, we’re all humans,” she said.
Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games the Honourable Kate Jones MP, reinforced the event’s message of diversity.
“We are so much better when we have more people coming together celebrating what brings us together, what we have in harmony and that is certainly the aim here on the Gold Coast,” Minister Jones said.
Other participants, including local resident Julia Tricklebank, said the Human Rainbow event was a way of welcoming the city’s international community.
“I’m very serious about the Gold Coast being taken more seriously as a study destination rather than a surfing holiday place. There is much more depth to the Gold Coast than just beaches and bikinis,” Mrs Tricklebank said.
International education in the Gold Coast
Queensland has the third highest total of international students in Australia, following New South Wales and Victoria. The Gold Coast was also recently named the top regional student location in Australia.
With almost a third of the population born overseas and 25,000 international students from 130 nations around the globe, the Gold Coast is indeed a city of the world.