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COVID-19: Leading a cloud-based international team

With the COVID-19 enforced closure of higher education offices and campuses across Europe and elsewhere, working remotely has become the order of the day for many international education professionals. With social distancing expected to be the norm in many countries for months to come, this way of working will likely remain for some time. So, how can we make the most of this ‘new normal’ in our professional lives? 

City of Melbourne and Queen Victoria Market : ‘Our Shout’ food voucher program

We have seen firsthand the impact COVID-19 restrictions are having on the international education experience, mental and physical health, and the financial hardship of international students.  The City of Melbourne is currently developing several new programs to support international students, one of which was launched this morning as follows.

Please share this information with your students and share our latest newsletter (encourage them to subscribe) as well as join our Facebook page so they keep up to date with information about the latest support available.

‘Our Shout’ food voucher program – applications now open

City of Melbourne has partnered with Queen Victoria Market on the ‘Our Shout’ program to help international students access fresh food and produce during this challenging period. This program aims to support international students who are impacted by job loss, housing insecurity or other financial difficulties associated with COVID-19.

You can now apply for vouchers valued at $200 to purchase groceries and food from the Queen Victoria Market. The vouchers will be available for 1000 recipients.

Food vouchers will be provided to international students in denominations of $5 to be redeemed from all food related stalls at the market. Change will be provided to any spend under the voucher value.

To be eligible, you must:
• be an international student
• live and/or study in the City of Melbourne municipality
• provide a copy or photo of your valid and current student ID
• provide a copy or photo of my valid and current student visa
• be in genuine need of food assistance due to financial hardship
• be able to physically pick up your own vouchers from Melbourne Town Hall or Queen Victoria Market (QVM).

Complete and submit your application online. Applications close Friday 22 May at 5pm.

$13.8M International Student Support Package

ISANA is thrilled to see the South Australia Government’s announcement of a $13.8M International Student Support Package.  This package ensures all international students in South Australia have access to financial support.  We know many international students have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and the global impact of COVID-19 has also impacted their family support networks.  This support package will be a relief for international students in South Australia and highlights the South Australian Government’s support of international students as a valuable members of the community.

Media Release


Contact:            Bronwyn Gilson

Telephone:       0400 852 226

Email:                president@isana.org.au

Website:           www.isana.org.au


ISANA’s members work directly with international students as advisors, counsellors, advocates, teachers, service providers and education agents. As such our members see firsthand the impact COVID-19 restrictions are having on the international education experience, mental and physical health, and the financial hardship of international students. With students away from the support of their friends and families the move to online studies has added to a loss of connection and loneliness.

Australia has encouraged and welcomed thousands of international students into our educational institutions over many years. Across all educational sectors, international students add value to the teaching and learning experience. Additionally, these students have not only financially contributed to their institutions, but also to the economy as taxpayers and consumers. For many, their contributions extend beyond the financial, as they are also valuable members of Australia’s volunteer community. Additionally, many go on to play pivotal roles in Research and Academia, contributing to Australia’s diverse tapestry of scholars.

ISANA’s members are frontline workers who are being deeply affected by the impact this situation is having on student populations. Our members have been doing an amazing job supporting students and complying with the Education for Overseas Students Act 2000 and National Code 2018 legislation.

We believe it is time for the Australian Government to establish an International Hardship Fund for international students currently residing in Australia. Such a scheme will not only support our students, it will also help reduce the anxiety of our members who are greatly affected by the plight of their students and their current inability to provide many viable solutions.

“As staff who have daily contact with international students our members are determined to show they are caring for these students in every way possible as this is how we would want our own children to be supported in another country” said Bronwyn Gilson, ISANA National President.

Gilson added “Many Stakeholders have put in place individual support programs. By establishing an International Hardship Fund the Government could bring these initiatives together and share good practice“.

By establishing an International Hardship Fund for international students ISANA believes Australia will send a clear message that we not only understand the additional pressures these students face but that we are willing to step up and offer essential support.

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If you would like more information about this topic, contact Bronwyn Gilson at 0400 852 226 or email president@isana.org.au or ISANA Secretariat isana@isana.org.au


#we are all in this together

During these difficult and uncertain times, I know you are all going above and beyond to help our international students and your colleagues. But please remember, to be able to help someone else you must also look after yourself, so investigate what your institution offers in the way of welfare support and check out the links to support programs below.

With everything moving so quickly ISANA is looking to organise a webinar/s to discuss and give tips on the ‘detail’ we all need to be aware of including regulatory ‘relaxation’. Look out for a survey coming shortly which will ask you what the top issues are you would like us to hold a webinar on so we can arrange one asap.

At this time all other ISANA Professional Development and Events have been either postponed or cancelled. Remember #we are all in this together and ISANA is here to help and support you.

Bronwyn Gilson
ISANA National President

Helpful resources and links:

Recent documents with education specific content:

Department of Education, Skills and Employment latest information here

Department of Home Affairs here

International students allowed to work additional hours in certain industries – see Special Arrangements for Students who are in Australia here (NB. the Employer has to register to allow international students to work increased hours)

Study in Australia information here

Department of Social Services dedicated page dealing with financial support available for those impacted by COVID19 here

Headspace ‘Mindfulness for your everyday life’ here

COVID-19 Support (Department of Health) 10 Steps of sSupport here

Lifeline Australia here

Black Dog Institute here

A joint statement from the regulators, ASQA and TEQSA:

All AQF training and assessment must meet high quality standards regardless of the location of the student and the mode of delivery. As long as the student remains enrolled with their provider, and the assessment requirements of the course allow it, the location of the student and the mode of delivery should not form an impediment to attainment of an Australian qualification.  National regulators, including ASQA and TEQSA, will be flexible in order to support students to study online either in Australia or offshore.  Providers should assure themselves that such arrangements maintain assessment and quality standards and are appropriately documented. Not all qualifications are suited to online learning, this may include those with mandatory work placements. If providers have questions about their specific circumstances, they should contact their relevant regulator

This statement is included in the DESE fact-sheet on regulatory information, available at https://docs.education.gov.au/node/53248  and at https://www.asqa.gov/coronavirus-advice

2020 PIEoneer Awards – Entries now open!

The PIEoneer Awards are the only global awards that celebrate innovation and achievement across the whole of the international education industry.
With a distinguished judging panel representing geographical and professional diversity, The PIEoneer Awards recognise both individuals and organisations who are pushing professional standards, evolving their engagement or redefining the international student experience.
The 2020 awards will take place on Friday 11th September, once again at London’s Guildhall. This is the fourth year the awards have run.
Entries are now open, and will close on Friday 24th April. The finalists will be announced at the beginning of June and the winners will be announced at the awards ceremony.
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor and getting your brand in front of our highly targeted and engaged global audience of professionals working in international education, we have a small number of packages available. For more information, please contact jane@thepienews.com or call her on +44 7734 939549.
Click here for pdf flyer.

Updated COVID19 landing page

The Department of Education, Skills, and Employment launched an updated COVID19 landing page. This page has been redesigned to make it easier for students, parents and education providers, as well as job seekers and employment service providers to find information about managing risk associated with COVID-19.

Existing Department of Education, Skills and Employment fact sheets and FAQs are still available on this page, which now contains new information for jobseekers and employment service providers.

For further health advice please visit the Department of Health website.

For further information on travel restrictions please visit the Department of Home Affairs website.



Volunteer Greeter – State Library Victoria

Applications for Volunteer Greeters at the State Library Victoria are open until 9 am Monday 2 March 2020.

Volunteer Greeters are integral to helping visitors find their way around the Library’s majestic heritage spaces, expansive collections, world-class exhibitions and exciting programs.

In 2018, the Library’s Volunteer Greeters program won the inclusion award at the Volunteering Victoria State Awards and a RACV Tourism award for volunteer programs in 2019.

Volunteer Greeters will join our vibrant and growing volunteer community that includes participants from all age groups and backgrounds who want to kick start their career, give something back to the people of Victoria and have fun with a like-minded community.

A full role description and link to the application can be found here https://www.slv.vic.gov.au/get-involved/volunteer-with-us/volunteer-greeter-position-description 


ISANA International Education Association Inc
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