As the effects of the pandemic continue to affect different sections of the global population, some of the hardest-hit include international students who have been stranded in their home countries, unable to continue their studies under normal circumstances, missing out on crucial in-person activities.
One such country, where the effects of the pandemic continue to affect the daily lives of international students, is Australia. In a recent announcement, international students in the New South Wales state of Australia have become eligible for a new Digital Mental Health and Wellbeing Toolkit, after the regional government took the initiative to fund the project.
Allocating $360,000 for the toolkit which is one of the many programmes designed to enhance the employability, entrepreneurship, and research and development skills of international students, the NSW government seems to be working towards providing for the international students.
Bronnie Taylor, State Minister for Mental Health Regional Youth and Women, commented that the isolation from friends and family for such long periods will be difficult for anyone and everyone.
Among other toolkits, ISANA International Education Association will be developing a Lived Experience Toolkit, while the Academic of Entrepreneurs will offer the 'Masterclass for Impact' designed as a series of workshops focusing on entrepreneurship and employability.
International students will be assisting a real NSW SME in a Research and Development Project programme, a virtual entrepreneurship programme. Additionally, the Aus LEAP programme of the University of Technology, Sydney, will facilitate a connection between volunteering opportunities and students. Meanwhile, the FRANK Team will be offering a seven-week Work Integrated Learning programme in partnership with seven different universities.
In a bid to recover from the negative economic and social effects of the pandemic, other toolkits such as the Student Source from the Lygon Group will be used to analyse the shifts in students attitudes, sentiments and offer relevant recommendations to the NSW institutions. Meanwhile, The International Student Education Agents Association will be working on creating a research report that analyses the effects of COVID-19 on education agents, further delivering a recovery strategy, based on the results.
John Barilaro, the Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Industry, commented on the importance of the international education sector since it remains one of the biggest exports of the state that is responsible for thousands of jobs.
He added that the co-funded projects are some of the NSW governments measures towards supporting the nearly 170,000 international students, both within the state and outside the country, studying with different New South Wales universities.
As per a Council of International Students Australia poll conducted of students stuck overseas as a result of the pandemic, 93% of the students had experienced some sort of significant mental health issues.
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Source: The PIENews