The International Student Support Network (ISSN) has successfully made its first homestay placement in Sydney.
The initiative, which is facilitated by the Australian Homestay Network (AHN), has now been supported by almost 1,000 Australian families who have offered to share their homes with international students significantly impacted by the COVID-19 economic crisis.
AHN connected their first student, a cricket-loving student from Bangladesh, with a host in Sydney’s inner-city suburbs after he reached out to the ISSN pleading for help.
Like many of the thousands of international students currently in Australia, he is struggling financially due to the pandemic and in need of emotional support. Many more students are expected to be needing support during the coming months.
Australian Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi said many international students are suffering enormous hardship due to the instability of the COVID-19 fallout.
“These are students who we welcomed into our country, many of whom are now facing nothing less than poverty, starvation and homelessness.
Australia’s global reputation as a leading education destination is at serious risk, as is the local economy.
International education is Australia’s fourth-largest export, contributing $37.6 billion to the economy in the 2018–19 financial year and generating around 250,000 full-time equivalent jobs.
Australia-wide support for international students is vital according to the Chief Executive of Universities Australia, Catriona Jackson.
“Supporting international students in tough times is not only about helping those in need; it is a longer-term investment in our economy. It sends a clear message overseas to potential students thinking about their post COVID-19 future that Australia remains a smart choice for a word-class education,” Ms Jackson said.
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Source – AAP