Cairns supports international student community
Study Cairns has announced an exciting new initiative that supports the international student community. As the region addresses the ongoing challenges that COVID-19 presents for the education industry, Study Cairns has launched Cairns Cares with the hashtag #CairnsCares. Cairns Cares is a program run through the Cairns Student Hub to assist international students, many of whom are far from their own family and support networks.
The Cairns Cares program incorporates three components:
• HubFood – to provide nutritious food choices
• HubBuddies – to provide an approved local English speaking friend
• Hub TV – to keep students informed and connected during isolation
Study Cairns President Janine Bowmaker said that many students are struggling to meet basic living expenses, having lost their hospitality and tourism jobs. International students, who contribute many thousands of dollars into the Australian economy through fees, taxes or everyday living expenses, express feeling nervous, anxious and disheartened.
“Most international students are unable to access government financial assistance, nor are they able to return to their home countries due to economic hardship or because of travel restrictions,” Ms Bowmaker said.
“A lot of students are really scared about how they are going to feed themselves. These students feel lost, disheartened and alone.”
In reaching out to the wider community, Study Cairns has received much support which has been incredibly heartening. People have cooked meals for distribution to students, donated perishables and non-perishables, offered accommodation, jobs, counselling and support services amongst many other generous gestures. Many offers of support have come from individuals with some even donating their cyclone emergency supplies. The Student Hub has a network of support workers available along with an on-line chat forum to help keep students connected during isolation.
Anyone in the Cairns area is invited to help international students by any of the following means:
1. Donate non-perishable food to the students via the Student Hub
2. Donate fresh food to Eat Real / Feed Me which has generously offered their commercial kitchen so student chefs can cook meals for other international students.
3. Offer to pay for meals through Eat Real / Feed Me to feed an international student.
4. Offer food to students from your own restaurant via the Student Hub.
Additionally, Study Cairns has partnered with Containers for Change, to encourage recycling of glass and plastic containers while helping to raise funds.
The Cairns Student Hub builds on the Cairns International Student Engagement program which ensures international students feel welcome and safe and experience a strong sense of belonging to the local community throughout their stay in Cairns.