AISECS (Australian Indian Sports Educational & Cultural Society) had the pleasure to host an online webinar to address the support and aid being provided to International Students in New South Wales, Australia. We were joined by Hon. Dr Geoff Lee (Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education & acting Minister for sport, Multiculturalism, Seniors & Veterans), who represented the Premier of NSW, Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, Peter Mackey, Director – Trade, international education and small business operations joined us to talk about the initiatives taken by Study NSW. University of New South Wales was represented by Laurie Pearcey, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) at UNSW Sydney, Innes Ireland, Deputy Director, Global Engagement, International Partnerships, joined us from University of Technology, Sydney & the University of Sydney was represented by Tania Rhodes-Taylor, Vice-Principal (External Relations). The session was hosted and moderated by the founder of AISECS, Gurnam Singh.
Since the beginning of this pandemic, Australia has a community that has been tackling multiple challenges. Australia is home to a large community of international students from all over the world. This pandemic created special challenges for them. It was isolating and scary for many students as they were cut off from their homelands and left jobless in Australia. Moreover, a shift to online learning was challenging for most. The community was vulnerable in many ways and it affected their financial well being as well as mental health. AISECS worked hard to step in at every possible chance to provide help and at the same time reached out to authorities to work on community solutions.
The Government of New South Wales, Study NSW and the universities have been working hard to help solve critical issues for international students. In his remarks, Hon. Dr Geoff Lee MP mentioned the importance of international student and his work to empower Study NSW to be able to deliver and reach out to more and more international students.
The universities also reiterated their commitment to support international students. Echoing that sentiment, it was mentioned that
“The universities are ready to be flexible for the students”
Here are some of the key information and important links through NSW Government and Study NSW providing the aid and support to international students in New South Wales:
● The government has rolled out a 20Million AUD package to support international students.
● It has also decided to cover the costs of Covid-19 treatment and test under the OSHC most international students have.
● For free advice and support, the government has a new hotline; 24/7 international student support service, NSW Government COVID-19 hotline number (13 77 88).
● The government has also released a new app called MyLegalMate App for providing legal support.
● Study NSW and the government are now supporting international students with rental assistance.
To check the eligibility and further information, use this link: https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/financial-support-individuals-and-households#support-for-international-students
You can also download a handy guide created by Peter Mackey, Director – Trade, International Education and Small business operations.
Apart from the government-backed support, universities have also taken major initiatives to help students, domestic and international, to get through this crisis.
University of New South Wales has launched a hardship fund, where students are eligible for a grant of up to 2000 AUD. They have also made changes and special arrangements to be flexible about results and enrollments. The university has been reaching out to its students to offer support and engage in community-building in these tough times.
For complete information, kindly check the link: https://www.covid-19.unsw.edu.au/information-students
The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has released a 10 million AUD International Student Grant and 15 Million AUD Student Support Grant to help international students who are facing hardships in this pandemic. This includes support for technological access, food and rent, flight expenses etc. They are also offering interest-free loans to those in need. The university has engaged in telephone surveys to connect with students and the community. There is a special grant to help students formerly employed by UTS. Cafes inside the campus have been making fresh food and delivering it to students in need.
For more information: https://www.uts.edu.au/current-students/support/financial-help/covid-19-student-support-package
The University of Sydney has created a grant which gives students, both domestic and international, up to 2000 AUD and can be applied to more than once. They are also helping students with computer support to have access to classes. They have also created a welfare hub for the students to access mental health and other support.
More information can be found here: https://www.sydney.edu.au/study/coronavirus-infection-university-of-sydney-advice/support.html
During these unprecedented times, AISECS is trying to support the international students in best possible ways and taking initiatives in their interests.
Team AISECS commends the NSW government & the universities that are coming out to help the students in the face of crisis. Their support is helping us to work in a coordinated manner to fight the outbreak.
Study NSW support during COVID-19: Study NSW Presentation – Temporary Accommodation for International Students (1)
For more detailed information, kindly visit our website: https://www.aisecs.org/