Study Geelong, an initiative of Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine, is looking for Geelong locals to show off the best things to see and do in our region as part of its International Friends Program.
The program matches Geelong residents with international students, with the goal to build connections, share interests, and support cross-cultural exchange.
Locals are then encouraged to organise outings, activities, and have catch-ups with students in their own time over a 12-week period.
Previous locals have taken students on stand-up paddle boarding trips, hikes at the You Yangs, and on trips to cafes and wineries.
“Who better to show our international students around than the locals who live, work, and play here?” said Executive Director Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine, Brett Ince.
“While being a great experience for students, this program is also a really rewarding and fun way for locals to test their knowledge, show off what they love about our great region, and learn about other cultures.”
The International Friends Program was established in November 2020 thanks to City of Greater Geelong’s COVID-19 Community and Economic Support package. This intake is supported by Study Melbourne.
57 students have been matched with local individuals, couples, and families over the 20 months the program has operated.
“The International Friends Program is an amazing opportunity to meet some lovely local individuals and families,” said past student participant Sruthi Sreekumar.
“It encourages you to make friends outside your usual circle, which for an international student would otherwise be limited to the university classmates or housemates. It is an exchange of diverse cultures, and you also get to explore your region through the eyes of a local resident.”
The next round begins in August, with an online orientation and cultural awareness session scheduled for residents for Tuesday 16 August 2022.
Residents are encouraged to have lived in the Geelong region for at least two years. This is a volunteer program and not a live-in hosted program.
For more information and to register visit studygeelong.com.au/international-friends-program.
About Study Geelong
Study Geelong is a collaborative program with tertiary education institutions and secondary schools to build Geelong as an education destination of choice, to support students to connect with the local community.
More information can be found at studygeelong.com.au.