These are undoubtedly the hardest of times that most of us have ever faced, and a lot of us have experienced setbacks in one form or another.
As a fresh graduate in Australia, I can say that my peers and I have been blessed so far with a high-quality education in this beautiful country, and solid academic support from our universities.
All my housemates, who are now like family, are still studying. They have been able to receive support from the Government and their universities, which has surely eased their worries!
For those of you who have just settled in and are feeling the impacts of being away from home at a time like this, here’s one relief: there are places you can turn to for help.
Where can you go for help?
I highly recommend taking a look at the Australian Government's official resource for international students - Study In Australia. There you will find several support measures to ensure your well-being, health and safety.
If you have been displaced from your part-time job or have faced reduced working hours due to the pandemic, extra support will be provided to you in terms of extended working hours in some select areas of service.
In addition to that, the Government has decided to release all of our superannuation amount early due to COVID-19. So, if your employers have set up your superannuation accounts, you should be able to access that money via the My Gov.
If you live and study in Victoria, then you might be pleased to know that the Victorian Government became the first government in the country to commit a AU$45 million dollars in financial support to international students. This means, that if you have lost your casual or part-time employment due to the pandemic, you will be eligible to access a certain amount of money set aside by the Government.
To ease the situation further, the Department of Home Affairs is loosening the visa conditions when it comes to attending your classes in person, as the situation demands online tutoring. The Minister of Education has been collaborating with the education providers in the country to devise relief measures in response to the evolving COVID-19 situation.
All universities have been extending unprecedented support to ensure online learning. The professors have ramped up communication levels, and my housemates feel confident to take on their assessments and academic discussions in this current improvised setting.
Most of the universities have dedicated live pages on their websites that consolidate and update essential related resources, which you can check out.
How can my university help?
Many universities are offering financial aid to international students who have been impacted by COVID-19. As a recent Deakin University alumnus, I am happy to see the academic and admin staff going that extra mile to assist and support the current international students.
The professors have been particularly considerate and approachable, which has helped students overcome the challenges of online learning to a great extent. They have been conducting extra catch-ups via Zoom, outside of the scheduled ones, just in case any student needs more clarity on assignments and academic resources. It’s wonderful to see how technology has turned things around and make life easier for us by mobilizing education in the current scenario.
While we all hope for these strange times to blow over soon, a support system such as these certainly makes us look at the bright side of things, and stay strong to be #inthistogether.
Did you find this article helpful?
You can explore more stories by international students in our blog.