Information for Hosts
This program is an opportunity to volunteer your time to meet with an Australia Awards scholar who is new to Melbourne. The aim is to make them feel welcome, introduce them to our city and help them create local connections.
In exchange, you will be able to learn something about them, their home country and their culture, and we encourage you to do your own reading to learn more about your student’s cultural background.
The program involves
- Attending our evening launch event in February 2020. This is where hosts and students meet.
- Undertaking one activity with the student you have been matched with before the end of the semester. There is no obligation to continue the connection past one meeting.
Why get involved?
Australia Awards students are new to Melbourne and a local connection gives them someone who can offer support, advice or just a friendly face. There is no ongoing obligation.
- Connections with the local community and culture enrich students both personally and academically.
- The Welcome to Melbourne program can lead to lasting friendships.
- The program forms great connections between Australia and the broader international community.
The Australia Awards Scholarships
These prestigious international scholarships are funded by the Australian Government, and aim to contribute to the long term development needs of partner countries. Most students are postgraduate students, come from developing countries and many are accompanied by their families.
For further information, please contact:
Alumni Relations Office
+61 3 8344 1746
⇩ Does the program provide an opportunity for all participants to meet as a group?
There are no formal group activities organised after the launch event, but if you and your student would like to start a group activity you may exchange contact details with other people at the launch event.
⇩ Where will I meet my student?
You will meet your student at the launch event held at the beginning of the semester. After you meet you can both decide whether you’d like to meet again, how often and where. There is no obligation for you to meet more than once after the launch event.
⇩ How is my student selected?
We try to match hosts and students by looking at the interests you have indicated on your registration forms. However, as this is a cultural exchange, we encourage you to explore cultural differences as well as what you might have in common.
⇩ Can my family join the program as well?
Yes, your family is more than welcome to participate in the program, so please make sure you tell us about your family when you volunteer.
⇩ Can I be assigned more than one student?
Yes. Please let us know if you are willing to meet with more than one student.
⇩ Now that I have completed my application, what happens next?
The Alumni Relations team will review your application and, if you have not participated in the program before, a staff member will give you a call to have a quick chat about the program. You will then be carefully matched with a suitable student and introduced via email prior to the launch event. It is important that you let your student know if you are unable to attend the launch event, so that you can arrange an alternative meeting.
⇩ What can I do with my student?
There are many activities you can undertake with your student, for example sharing a meal at your home, going to a park for a picnic or a sporting event, visiting an art gallery or a museum, etc. It will depend on your interests and those of your student.
⇩ Is it ok to serve my student alcohol?
We discourage hosts from offering or serving alcohol during the initial meeting, in case the student does not drink for religious or cultural reasons. We will make every effort to identify the student’s dietary requirements in advance, however unless the student has explicitly stated that they do drink alcohol, we recommend that alcohol be avoided.
⇩ What if I am having difficulties connecting with my student?
As the program commences early in the semester, the students are relatively busy with their studies and settling into the University, so it can be challenging for them whilst they adjust. The Welcome to Melbourne program aims to support this process and we have found in the past that some students require more support than others. Do let us know if you have difficulties connecting with your student after the launch event and we will endeavour to assist in putting you in touch.
⇩ The activity my student and I are doing requires payment. What are the financial expectations in the Welcome to Melbourne Program?
While many hosts like to pay for their student’s ticket or food if they have invited them to an activity such as the football, a museum or for a coffee at a café it should not be expected or required, especially after the first meeting. We recommend clarifying beforehand with your student the expectations around payment if you are going to an activity where it is required.
⇩ My student is experiencing personal, financial or study related problems. How can I help?
The Australia Awards Scholarship students have a dedicated support team at the University who are their first point of contact for any issues they are having whether they are study related or personal. The team will be able to assist the student or refer them to the appropriate service at the University. We encourage you to direct your student to approach them for assistance. If your student is not part of the Australia Awards Scholarship group they can access extensive support services at the University. The University of Melbourne offers one of the most comprehensive student support networks in Australia. For more information please visit the Service Finder website.
⇩ Do I need to be in Melbourne for the entire duration of the program?
We do recommend that hosts be based in Melbourne for the length of the program eg. if you have signed up for the semester one program then you should be available to meet up with your student at any time between February and May. If you plan to be away for more than a month during this time, particularly at the start of the program, we would recommend waiting until another time to participate.