The City of Greater Geelong is supporting international students
in our region with a series of new Study Geelong initiatives aimed at
addressing hardship and feelings of isolation resulting from the COVID-19
As part of its $5.2 million COVID-19 Community and Economic Support package
announced on 30 June, the Council allocated $133,000 for programs to assist
This funding is being used to plan and carry out several relief actions through
Study Geelong, including:
- A new
International Friends Program matching international students with a
community member or family, based on interests or area of study. It’s
intended this will become an ongoing program aimed at reducing isolation
and creating connections in the local community;
engagement including a Study Geelong ‘Aussie Communication Bootcamp’ to
increase social opportunities while face-to-face interaction is limited;
- Dedicated social media activities to increase awareness and
take-up of available help and services, including emergency food relief.
A new COVID-19 resources page for students is
It features links to services and information from the Department of Health and
Human Services, Study Melbourne, and a number of national and local food
relief, mental health, accommodation, legal and employment assistance
The support package will also transition to face-to-face small group connection
activities when it is safe to do so.
These activities will aim to build friendships, help students explore the
region, and open the door to participation in ongoing social and sporting
activities with members of the local community.
The City of Greater Geelong is also supplying
laptops to international Deakin University students who need them.
Greater Geelong attracts around 4000 international students each year, studying
at 13 different secondary and tertiary institutions.
Based on information from our Study Geelong partners, it’s believed there are
around 2000 international students in Geelong at the moment.
In an average year it’s estimated the students and their visitors contribute
around $128.2 million to the local economy, supporting 721 jobs.
Study Geelong is an initiative of regional tourism industry body Tourism Greater Geelong and the Bellarine, which is supported by the City of Greater
Mayor Stephanie Asher:
COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on Greater Geelong’s international
student population, with many facing financial hardship as a result of lost
Trent Sullivan, Chair, Tourism and Events portfolio:
Sadly, we’re also being told there are increasing isolation
and mental health concerns, with students studying online and away from their
families and other networks.
Our local education institutions are doing what they can to help their
students, but the Council thought it was important that we also do something to
offer support. We hope the relief and recovery programs being run by Study
Geelong will make a genuine difference.
Through these initiatives,
we’re aiming to give Geelong’s international students a better understanding of
the services available to them, such as food relief and mental health,
financial and legal assistance. There is help out there and we want to
encourage students to take it up.
We also hope to support students in feeling less isolated, more connected and
part of our community during this very difficult time. Hopefully as a result
their studies will benefit as well.