Australia's Community of Kindness to Help International Students in Need
BRISBANE, Australia – 16 April 2020 : Aussie families are being urged to show their community spirit and open their homes to help international students struggling because of job losses and potential homelessness due to the current economic crisis.
The International Student Support Network (ISSN) has been established to connect vulnerable students with locals who will provide short-term homestay accommodation, meals and a safe home environment. Hosts will receive a small reimbursement to help cover the costs of the student’s living requirements.
The ISSN is facilitated by the Australian Homestay Network (AHN), which successfully piloted a similar initiative for asylum seekers in 2012.
“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the international education economy and on international students in Australia, many of whom are facing extreme financial hardship and are unable to travel home,” said AHN Founder David Bycroft.
“We’re looking for community-minded people to show these students that Australia does care about them and we are here to support them.”
Mr Bycroft said the ISSN was created in consultation with industry bodies, education providers and student groups to provide relief for at-risk students.
“International students are dealing with uncertainty in almost every aspect of their lives: study, financial hardship, homesickness, loneliness and anxiety about living day-to-day with the uncertainty of their future here in Australia.
“ISSN homestay is a comfortable, safe and economical solution to help international students get through these tough times so they can experience the best of Australia once the crisis has passed.
“If we can offer them some peace of mind and structure by connecting them with a compassionate local family – we want to make that happen.”
Mr Bycroft said hosting with the ISSN also reinforces the valuable contribution international students make to our community and the Australian economy.
“International education is Australia’s third-largest export. Our future reputation is dependent on how we manage this crisis and care for the international students currently in our country.”
Anyone interested in hosting with the ISSN can register online via the ISSN webpage. Students can apply for the ISSN program upon referral from their education provider (eligibility criteria apply).
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ABOUT THE ISSN
The International Student Support Network (ISSN) is an initiative of the Australian Homestay Network (AHN), delivering low cost short-term lodging to eligible international students identified as needing support and assistance with accommodation and living in Australia due to the COVID-19 economic crisis.
AHN is Australia’s leading homestay provider for international students and was commended by both the Australian Government Senate Inquiry into the Welfare of International Students (2009) and the NSW Government Inquiry into International Student Accommodation (2011) for its standards of service. AHN developed Australia’s first standards for the provision of homestay for international students and is considered the leader of meeting industry accepted standards in homestay. These same standards also form the framework for the ISSN.
AHN has placed more than 59,000 students from 180 countries in welcoming homestays across Australia. Its dedicated teams service every capital city in the country along with other key regional student destinations.