The Griffith Mates will join one hundred volunteer ambassadors to welcome up to 15,000 foreign students arriving through Brisbane Airport this month.
The new arrivals, from countries including China, South Korea, India, Brazil, Canada and the USA, will also receive a free copy of the 2014 International Student Guide and information on the City Welcome Festival to be held on 1 March.
Filipino student Irene Nuarin of Calamvale is doing a Bachelor of Business majoring in International Tourism and Hotel Management and remembers all too well what it was like arriving in Australia for the first time.
“I remember feeling all alone in the airport as I arrived. It was that feeling you get when you travel overseas of being nervous, a little frightened and at the same time very excited about starting something new,” Irene said.
“So when I heard they were looking for volunteers to welcome international student arrivals at the airport this year, I saw an opportunity to help out and make those students feel at home.
“We will be there to provide a friendly face and some helpful advice to make them feel a little less overwhelmed.”
Bachelor of Business in Event Management student, Carol Chang of Sunnybank, is from China and says her role is providing peer support from a current to a future student.
“I will share some helpful hints on how to settle in and get started at Uni,” she said.
“My number one recommendation is to come to Orientation Week to meet new friends and visit the Student Centre on campus to arrange your student ID straight away because it helps you to receive travel discounts on public transport.”
Alberto Ballon-Landa Ampuero of St Lucia, a Peruvian student now in his final year of a Bachelor of Ecology and Conservation Biology, said the airport welcome was all about helping international students to quickly become part of the community.
“Brisbane is a wonderful city and very friendly. I just want to help new students to feel that and join the community,” he said.
“It is a young city but very diverse. It can take a while to realise that unless you quickly meet people and make new friends. Then you begin to feel right at home.”
Students can also access resources and information from an International Student Arrivals Desk at the airport.
With approximately 75,000 international student enrolments generating $5.1 billion in course fees and other spending each year, international education is Brisbane’s biggest export market.