Swinburne’s peer mentoring team has launched a buddy program to help international students adjust to their new life in Australia.
The pilot program ran over two weeks and connected international students with experienced mentors as they made their return to campus.
Fostering retention and resilience
For many of Swinburne’s international students, adjusting to life in an unfamiliar country is an exciting yet challenging process. Especially when away from the support networks of friends and family.
As part of the pilot buddy program, mentors and students met weekly to cover a range of topics, including safety on campus, international politics and employment opportunities in Melbourne. One of the program’s leaders Fatima Hanif said sessions were even more beneficial when participants took the lead in shaping the program rather than following a particular structure.
“As an international student myself, I know the feeling of wanting to have people talk to you when you are new in the country. I know a lot of participants also felt this and I really enjoyed talking to them and helping with any issues or concerns,” says Fatima.
Support for international students from the Victorian Government
The mentoring program is one of many initiatives taking place to support international students returning to Australia after strict border closures. These initiatives have been made possible by funding from the Victorian Government through the Study Melbourne International Education Resilience Fund (IERF).
Swinburne’s IERF program will also assist international student welfare and support services, improved delivery of remote and offshore teaching and learning, and increased student engagement programs and events.
Program leaders are happy to confirm that the buddy program will be expanded and continue to welcome more participants in Semester 2 after a successful pilot period.