STUDENTS from across the globe call Australia home but not all of them are comfortable.
The University of New England has received $33,000 in co-funding from Study NSW and BUPA to establish its first International Hub.
The hub is designed to provide health and wellbeing programs to the international students and their families to help them settle in to the Australian lifestyle.
Vice Chancellor Annabelle Duncan said the university saw a need for programs to better welcome the families of international students to the country.
“A lot come with family and there are barriers of culture, language and tradition.
What we want to do is to provide engagement opportunities because often the partners of the people that study with us can find the experience is quite lonely,” she said.
The hub will provide road safety classes, child-minding services, English language classes and swimming lessons that include female-only classes for women that face cultural barriers to swimming in shared pools.
The program will be finished by July next year, but Ms Duncan believes some programs may be ready earlier.
“It was a priority for us firstly because we want our students to feel at home here in our community, but ultimately if these students have a good experience it will bring more students to us,” she said.
The programs will be free to the families of UNE students and the International Hub will be located at One of a Kind House on Butler Street.
Vice Chancellor Annabelle Duncan said that although UNE students are required to master a certain level of English their partners are not and this can cause issues in their ability to settle comfortably in Australia.
“This is why we want to offer them English-language classes, it’s about creating ways to make these people feel more comfortable,” she said.
The university has a little more than 1000 international students.
The majority of the international students are from China, the Middle East and Vietnam.
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