As in many countries around the world, Australian universities are currently locked down in response to COVID-19. It’s been a period of huge change for our students, but our student services teams are busier than ever designing and delivering programs to keep them connected to life at ACU. If you’re an ACU international student – or thinking about becoming one – here’s what we’re doing to optimise your lockdown learning experience.
Support from ACU International
The team at ACU International is taking a personalised approach to support our current students– if you’re a current student, you can email one of our international student advisers, who will give you a call to find out how you’re coping and to find out what sort of support (academic, health, social or financial) you might need to get – or stay – on track.
Our advisers can also put our international students in touch with a range of academic and support services; provide advice on current and future study plans and options for financial support; and supply guidance on changes to government rules about work hours, enrolment requirements and deferment of your studies.
Classes have moved online, which means our current students will be engaging with their teachers and peers via Zoom and other virtual platforms. Students who are finding it difficult to adjust to online teaching can book a phone or video appointment with the Academic Skills Unit for assistance with study, assignments or exams.
Teachers are there to teach, of course, but they’re keeping a close eye on students’ wellbeing and engagement too. If a student is struggling, teaching staff can contact ACU International to get the student connected with the support they need.
With the shutdown of large swathes of the hospitality and retail industries, many international students may find themselves unemployed or with reduced hours of work. However, there is a range of options for relief for students who find themselves struggling financially.
The newly established Student Urgent Relief Fund (SURF), funded by donations from ACU staff and alumni and dollar matched by ACU, provides one-off grants of up to $300 for students experiencing financial strain as a result of COVID-19, while the already-established ACU Student Loan Scheme delivers interest-free loans of up to $450. For longer-term financial challenges, international students can apply for up to $4000 in funding from the ACU International Student Hardship Loan Scheme – this is available in response to COVID-19, as well in response to other financial hardships that impact students’ day-to-day life and studies.
Student support services
Other ACU student support services are now available remotely:
- Our medical centres and Counselling Service provides phone and videoconferencing sessions for students struggling with their physical or mental health.
- The Disability Support Team provides learning support and modifications for students with a disability or chronic illness.
- The Career Development Service offers help with CVs or applying for jobs for students who have lost income as a result of changes at work.
- The Campus Ministry offers online spiritual guidance and pastoral care services.
- The newly created Rental Advisory Service delivers rental and tenancy advice for students living off-campus.
- The Student Legal Service offers up to four free sessions of independent, confidential legal advice for all ACU students.
Every student matters
One of the benefits for ACU international students is the fact that ACU is home to a small, tight-knit community of international students who are well looked after by ACU International. Even in the face of the challenging circumstances wrought by COVID-19, that’s not going to change. If you’re a current international student, or if you’re thinking about applying to study with us, we’re here to help you get the most out of your ACU experience.
For more information on ACU’s COVID-19 response, please visit our FAQs page.