Deakin’s biannual beach welcome program for exchange and study abroad students was held in Lorne in February.
Held over three days the program hosted a total of 236 participants, made up of 220 international students from 24 countries and 16 Peer Adviser team members, comprising of local exchange student mentors.
Study Abroad and Exchange Co-ordinator, Steve Hepworth says this year’s program was the largest ever and had several new features. “In this year’s program we invited faculty course advisers to interact with students and explain their enrolment process. It was great as the students had access to the faculty exclusively, so they could answer any questions they had straight away about changing classes and so on.”
The program aims to assist and build confidence in international students to settle into life in Australia. This year’s program included a range of sporting and social activities such as a surf school class, mountain-biking, hiking, beach volleyball, beach soccer and beach yoga along with a doubles limbo competition and trivia night.
Students were lodged across three locations staying at either the Great Ocean Road Cottages, Erskine River Backpackers or the Grand Pacific Hotel. The Hotel was the main hub for meals and evening activities.
“I think it’s an amazing program as it forces the students to integrate into Australian culture and with each other,” Steve says.
“The Beach Welcome Program brings everybody together at the beginning and it’s the best way to dive into Australian culture from the get go.”