Student Stories: Volunteering at the Welcome Desk!

Student Stories: Volunteering at the Welcome Desk!

UNLEASH YOUR POTENTIAL BY BENEFITTING OTHERS

I joined as a crew member at the International Student Welcome Desk in February 2018. It is a service managed by StudyNSW through a formal work integrated learning program under the Department of Industry of NSW. Situated at the arrival terminal at Sydney international airport, the desk is staffed by volunteers who are local and international students. As volunteer crew members, we are there to greet and provide assistance such as offering orientation advice and distribute guides to international students who have just arrived at the airport.

To join as a crew member, I submitted an online application. Once the application processed, I was invited to attend a compulsory training led by TAFE. The training was conducted at the airport which consisted of information about the role and responsibility of a crew desk, explanation about code of conduct and safety protocols. In addition, we also did role plays to practice how to deliver good customer services and a tour around to get all the participants familiar with the location. After completing the training, then I was ready to work on my shifts at the desk. As a volunteer, I had the flexibility to sign up for shifts according to my availability and it was done through online portal so that was very convenient. I was required to do at least 20 hours of service to complete this program and receive a certificate of acknowledgement.

Working as a volunteer in this program has been a valuable experience for me. From the process of applying for the program, attending the training, to doing the shifts I have gained many benefits. I had the opportunity of making friends and expanding my networking with like-minded students from many different backgrounds and universities and other educational institutions across NSW; and developing skills such as communication, team work, problem solving.

After completing the program as a crew member, StudyNSW offered me another opportunity to apply for a Team Leader position. I suppose all crews will get the same opportunity after completing the crew shift hours. The process was a little bit more complex than applying as a crew member. I was required to submit two letters of recommendation and respond to some scenarios regarding team management. Once accepted in this position, I was then asked to assist at the training program for the new crew members. Besides working at the desk with other crew members, as a Team Leader I have more responsibility in terms of making sure the program running smoothly and submitting reports to StudyNSW.

In a nutshell, this program is a great opportunity for any international students in NSW to join. It provides us with the opportunity to unleash our potential by working to provide assistance and welcome international students who have just arrived in Sydney.

More adventures soon,

Sos.

Fair Work Ombudsman: New strategy to raise international students’ awareness of workplace rights

Fair Work Ombudsman: New strategy to raise international students’ awareness of workplace rights

New strategy to raise international students’ awareness of workplace rights

25 September 2017

The Fair Work Ombudsman is reaching out to international students to encourage them to seek free help from the agency if they experience any issues while working in Australia.

The agency has launched a new strategy aimed at raising awareness of workplace rights among international students, who make up a large proportion of temporary entrants to Australia – numbering more than 560,000 as at July 2017.

In an open letter to international students published today, Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James is encouraging international students to get informed about their workplace rights and, if unsure, seek help.

Ms James has also urged international students to speak up if they have any concerns in relation to their employment, underlining that they have the same workplace rights as all other workers in Australia.

“The number of international students reporting issues to the Fair Work Ombudsman is disproportionately low compared to other categories of visa holders, despite the fact that international students represent a significant proportion of overseas visitors with work rights,” Ms James said.

“We know that international students can be reluctant to speak out when something is wrong, making them particularly vulnerable to exploitation. This is especially the case when students think that seeking assistance will damage future job prospects or lead to the cancellation of their visa.

“We’ve seen cases where employers have threatened international students with deportation for working more than the number of hours permitted under their visa when they have raised questions about their entitlements.

“In some cases these same employers have altered payslips and underpaid hourly rates in order to disguise the number of hours the student has worked,” Ms James said.

“I would like to reassure international students that in line with an agreement between my agency and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, you can seek our assistance without fear of your visa being cancelled, even if you’ve worked more hours than you should have under your visa.”

The conduct against international students the Fair Work Ombudsman sees is often serious and highly exploitative.

This is reflected by the large percentage of cases the Fair Work Ombudsman files in court that involve one or more international students, despite the low numbers of international students reporting issues to the agency.

Last financial year, 49 per cent of litigations the Fair Work Ombudsman filed in court involved a visa holder – over a third of these involving an international student.

Research commissioned by the Fair Work Ombudsman found that many international students were not aware of their rights under Australian workplace laws and did not know where to go for help.

Some students told researchers they had been subject to intimidation by their employers, who threatened to deport or “blacklist” them for future work if they complained.

“The research showed that when it comes to international students in the Australian workplace, 60 per cent believe that if they report a workplace issue to their employer the situation will either remain the same, or get worse,” Ms James said.

“Our international student strategy focuses on raising international students’ awareness of their workplace rights and letting them know that they can come to the Fair Work Ombudsman for free advice and assistance.

“We know that it can be difficult to understand what is right or wrong at work, or to speak up if you are concerned.

“This is why we are committed to making it as easy as possible for international students to access the help they need,” Ms James said.

Ms James encourages all international students to get informed by visiting the Fair Work Ombudsman website, which has information available in 30 different languages.

Resources available on the website to help workers understand their rights and entitlements include the Pay and Conditions Tool at www.fairwork.gov.au/pay, which can be used to calculate the correct pay rates that apply to their work.

The Fair Work Ombudsman also recently launched its popular Anonymous Report function in 16 languages other than English, enabling non-English speakers to report potential workplace breaches in their own language, without being identified. The tool can be accessed at www.fairwork.gov.au/inlanguageanonymousreport.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s ‘Record My Hours’ app is aimed at tackling the persistent problem of underpayment of young workers and migrant workers around the country. The app, which equips workers with a record of the time they spend at their workplace by using geofencing technology to register when they arrive at work and when they leave, is available for download from iTunes or Google Play stores.

International students seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or our Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50.

Below is a list of some recent matters investigated by the Fair Work Ombudsman involving international students:

Congratulations! #ISANAconf17 Bursary Winners

Congratulations! #ISANAconf17 Bursary Winners

Each year ISANA provides bursaries to our national conference. Members and International students from each state are invited to apply.

We would like to congratulate the following students and members who have been awarded the 2017 ISANA Conference bursary and will be joining us on the Gold Coast in December.

Students:
Henness Wong – University of Wollongong
Chen Zhang (Claire) – Flinders University
Thi Thuy Ngan Vo (Mia) – University of Melbourne
Ronja Blomberg – Griffith University

Members:
Catherine Gomes – RMIT University
Abhishek Awasthi – Bendigo Kangan Insitute

Dr Paula Durance – In Appreciation

The ISANA International Education Association is a professional association run by volunteers. The contribution made by members on State and National committees and at our professional development events is invaluable. ISANA could not operate without their contribution, expertise and support.

Dr Paula Durance is no exception, she has most recently been ISANA’s Vice-President (Planning and Development), she was ISANA’s National President in 2005- 2006 and was awarded Life Membership.

Paula advised Council of her decision to resign and step down from the position in July this year to devote more time to family and new ventures.

Paula’s final contribution to ISANA was to organize and chair a planning day to discuss the association’s future strategy. We have reluctantly agreed to accept her resignation and take this opportunity to thank her for time, expertise and support on Council.

We thank Paula for her contribution but know that she will continue to contribute to the international education field.

ACEN Scholarships – Applications now open

ACEN Scholarships – Applications now open

2017 Student Scholarships now open
Eight scholarships of $1,500
Applications are now open for scholarships to provide financial support for students undertaking a work integrated learning (WIL) placement in a regional or remote area of Australia as part of their 2017/2018 university studies.
Once again eight scholarships to the value of $1,500 each are being offered to eligible university students who may experience financial disadvantage from having to complete a WIL placement. The scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis and assessed against the criteria.
Applications close on April 21, 2017
The 2017 ACEN Scholarship applicants:
  • Must be from institutions that are financial members of ACEN. (See http://acen.edu.au/list-of-financial-institutions/ for a list of current financial institutions.)
  • Must be studying a postgraduate or undergraduate degree program which requires a WIL placement as a part of their studies
  • Both domestic and international students are eligible to apply.

ISANA Australia and New Zealand…From The PIE News

From The PIE News…
The PIE: What role do your organisations play in international education?

“We’re the voice of the students but also the voice of the staff who work with the students”

LM: I think we are the voice of the students. We know a lot of our practitioners are working at the grassroots level and they are interacting with students, so they get to know what students want, and we provide a forum to escalate that.

MAS: ISANA Australia and New Zealand memberships are basically staff who work at the coalface with students. Not only do they get to be the voice of the students, and that’s more so in New Zealand where they don’t have an organisation like the Council of International Students Australia, we deal with students day-in-day-out.

We are able to give feedback of critical information on the effect of any policy changes. With policy legislation changes, we can say ‘hang on a second, if you want to do this, these are the implications it will have’ because we are the ones who will actually be implementing it. So we’re the voice of the students but also the voice of the staff who work with the students.

“Our international student numbers have increased and once they are here we want to retain their skills and knowledge”

LM: Also, with a lot of international student support staff, there’s no formal training and so ISANA is there to provide professional development. Anyone can go into the role, but there’s all these transferable skills we’re looking for, and a lot of them are intuitive skills which are very warm and fuzzy, but that’s what you need in student support. A lot of those people do not have formal training so we provide professional development throughout the year.

read more here…

Internationalising Schools

Felicity Fallon, Terry McGrath

The workshop addresses the interests and needs of those working with international students at the secondary school level. It has three main emphases: how to enable both the international and the local students to gain the most from the presence of international students in the school, academic and classroom management issues and the support and welfare issues associated with the education of younger international students.

What they don’t tell you: Third Party Focus Groups

What they Don’t tell you: Third Party Focus Groups.

Saunders, Andrew
International Student Research and Liaison Coordinator OSHC Worldcare
Brisbane, Australia asaunders@worldcare.com.au

The difficulty of an institutional survey of a student population is that previously observed negativity concerning the relationship of establishment and subject – power differential, mistrust, guilt –taint the results of surveys that are undertaken by an identified university official or an individual that is known to be in the employ of the university, such as residential assistants, tutors and students under departmental employ.

Since 2005 OSHC Worldcare has undertaken a series of student/customer surveys concerning the OSHC product, experiences of Australia and additional questioning about their studies. These surveys were conducted in such a manner as to be anonymous and thus gather as much unbiased information as possible. A more recent use of the focus groups has been to use the focus group to ask questions supplied by the university so as to gather unbiased, or at least, least biased information.

The students are free to ask questions in the focus group forum, and so the information gathered from the students is not just reaction but also proactive.

This presentation will explore, within the bounds of customer/client confidentiality, the results from our focus group participant’s answers and comments and the indicators they provide for international student recruitment and retention based on community communication both in Australia and their country of origin.

Click here to read the full Article

Responding to student diversity in New Zealand university settings

Responding to student diversity in New Zealand university settings Making connection between academic learning advising and international students

Pang, David
Student Learning Centre Faculty of Education, Epsom Campus University of Auckland

New Zealand david.pang@auckland.ac.nz

Abstract

Many universities in western countries attest with eloquence that international students are now an important learning community in their campuses. In the case of New Zealand, international education is synonymous with educating Asian students because of the numerical domination of fee-paying students from Asia. Often referred
to as non-traditional, these students bring with them different academic learning styles. Addressing their learning needs has often been a challenge for the lecturers as well as for the students. This paper suggests that an academic-centred approach which links learning advising to the university’s mission on teaching and learning has the potential of enhancing the students’ readiness to be integrated into the host intellectual community. Accordingly, academic learning advisers can play a critical role in creating significant learning experiences for the international students. However, the road to achieving this goal is not a straight-forward one.

Click here to read the full Article

The hongi welcome campaign: collaborating to maximise goodwill in Christchurch

Sarah Beaven, Mary Furnari

15 months ago in Christchurch, concern about a perceived increase in anecdotal reporting of incidents of racial/cultural harassment in public places triggered an ongoing collaboration between staff members from the above institutions. To date this collaboration has produced 3 related but distinct initiatives – an early dialogue with the Christchurch Press (the city’s large daily newspaper), a Welcome poster campaign, and the development of anonymous online reporting. The presentation will outline the collaborative process involved, briefly cover the main outcomes, and future directions.

Individual staff members from CCC, UC, HRC, NZP (and later Ngai Tahu and CPIT) met regularly to workshop issues, sharing responsibilities and institutional resources. Key elements contributing to the success of this collaboration were the focus on achievable goals, and similar commitment to highly democratic collaboration shared by all the individuals involved. This created a small network capable of facilitating access to the strong support and existing goodwill in the relevant institutional structures.

Significant outcomes of this collaboration include the development of a research and marketing campaign by a UC intern at CCC (as a graded UC academic project, funded by CCC), which in turn led to the hongi welcome poster campaign and the development of a reporting form. The intern’s report suggested a culture of harassment in public places. UC international students perceived a failure, by city institutions, to provide clear statements of guidance over this issue. Students were also confused about reporting processes, and favoured a single, clear online reporting option. The poster campaign features the hongi with welcome statements in different languages, so attempting to address the first two findings with a positive message from the biggest city institutions. An online reporting website is currently under development, as is a phased ongoing rollout of the poster campaign, supported by ongoing research.

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