Australian state starts support service for foreign students

At the opening of the Victoria governmentís new International Student Care Service (ISCC) in Carlton, Brumby said students from overseas would now have greater access to a range of accommodation, counselling, legal, emergency and welfare assistance.

We understand that our visiting international students can feel isolated from family and friends, especially without a strong social network and they can find themselves disoriented in a new community where they might struggle with the language,î said a state government press release quoting Brumby.

This International Student Care Service - the first of its kind in Australia - is going to make a real difference to all those young people from all over the world who come to Victoria to live, work and study. The service is a one-stop shop where international students can get the help and support they need, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The development comes following a string of attacks on Indians, causing an outrage in India. The assaults have strained relations between Canberra and New Delhi. There has also been a drop in the number of students from India seeking admissions in Australian colleges.

The services provides a single point of contact for students in an emergency such as those needing of counselling, crisis accommodation and food aid, as well as contact with other welfare services. Students can call a 24-hour phone line for advice and support or access the drop-in service in Carlton during business hours. Brumby said: ìLast year there were more than 190,000 international students enrolled in Victorian education institutions. International students make a significant contribution to Victoriaís diverse, multicultural society and enhance our community in many ways.

We understand there are student concerns about well-being and safety and that is why we invested $14 million in our Action Plan for International Education, Thinking Global which included the international studentís service care centre. Minister for Skills and Workforce Participation Bronwyn Pike said: ìThe Indian International Student Advisory Centre would also receive $20,000 to support volunteer efforts within the Indian community."

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