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Supporting international students in crisis

Student in a library

INTERNATIONAL students studying in Knox and who are not covered by government support were heavily impacted by the pandemic, with delivery of classes being adjusted to online and financial and other factors causing additional pressure.

The Migrant Information Centre (Eastern Melbourne) (MIC) was in many ways a lifeline for struggling students by offering advice and information, and also emergency relief in the form of food vouchers, and financial assistance for bills and student fees.

MIC distributed over $69,000 in emergency relief on more than 225 occasions throughout the pandemic, helping students, as well as people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, including asylum seekers from India, Iran, Burma, Iraq, China and other countries.

“We don’t often work with international students, so it was fantastic to work quite closely with community leaders and faith leaders in the area to identify those who required assistance,” MIC Strategic Engagement Coordinator, Sally Brooks said.

Sally said many of the people referred to them had lost their jobs and required financial support, including those whose overseas relatives were also doing it tough.

“The additional support and help we were able to provide through government funding was really helpful.

“I was impressed with my colleagues and the community leaders in the way they responded to the emergency and assisted migrants, refugees, but also international students through such a tough time.

“We had quite short timeframes to distribute the funds to the relevant people and it was amazing to see how quickly they all hit the ground running to meet the needs of those students.”

MIC’s relief efforts were supported by the Victorian Government’s Multicultural Taskforce funding and COVID-19 Response Package Project. To learn more about the great work of MIC or to get involved, visit

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