Welcome to Melbourne: an introduction to city and study

April 14 / 133

Staff and alumni hosts with new international students in this semester’s Welcome to Melbourne program.
Staff and alumni hosts with new international students in this semester’s Welcome to Melbourne program.

A record 350 people took part in this semester’s Welcome to Melbourne program – the University’s dedicated introduction to Melbourne life for international Australia Awards (formerly AusAid) Scholarship students.

The program, established in 2009, helps new international students make the transition to city and the University smoother by pairing them with a member of the alumni or staff host who introduces them to life in Melbourne. 

Typically, hosts invite students to share a home-cooked meal, a unique Melbourne experience, or introduce them to the city’s hidden gems and coffee locations. 

The program has proven very successful, with many friendships and bonds formed through the process, which matches students and hosts according to shared interests.

This semester’s program was officially launched last month at University House, where Professor Richard James, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Equity and Student Engagement), welcomed hosts and student guests. 

Professor James said the program benefitted alumni, staff and students.

“The students greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet Melbournians during their early period of arrival, and welcome being hosted by alumni and staff for dinner or an alternative activity,” he said. 

“Meanwhile alumni and staff clearly benefit from, and enjoy the experience, which leads to lasting friendships.”

Ms Leonie Boxtel, Director of Alumni Relations and Communications, said the program was a popular way for many alumni to re-engage with the University.

“While the benefits for students are obvious, alumni also often note how much they benefit from contact with current students and with the University,” she said. 

“So it’s a real win-win and has been copied by other Australian universities as they see that it works for all involved.”

Nepalese student Priyadarshani Sherchan will study a Master of Energy and Resources Law degree.  She said she hoped the program would help her settle into the city.

“Moving to Australia to study is an exciting opportunity and challenge,” she said. 

“I hope my host will be able to help me feel comfortable in my new surroundings, and provide advice on how best to juggle my personal and academic life.”

The Advancement Office’s Alumni Relations team will run a second ‘Welcome to Melbourne’ program during semester two.

To register your interest in the semester two program, contact the Alumni Relations team at alumni-office@unimelb.edu.au or +61 3 8344 1746

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