Hampers lighten the load in tough times

International students struggling to make ends meet as the COVID-19 pandemic continues are being supported by food charity OzHarvest, which is distributing food hampers following a successful pilot market event at Flinders University last month.

OzHarvest’s first ‘Mobile Market’ was held in the Flinders University Plaza on 29 June ahead of a week-long trial that saw 4,215 kilograms of food distributed to 936 international students in various locations across Adelaide.

The team will return to Flinders tomorrow, 15 July, this time at Sturt. Flinders University locations will alternate between Sturt and the Plaza until the end of August, complementing three other market events taking place at Regency TAFE, The University of South Australia’s Mawson Lakes campus and Hindmarsh Square in the city.

With the support of of StudyAdelaide Student Ambassadors (including several from Flinders) and Insider Guides volunteers, OzHarvest is supplying around 150 students with a hamper of groceries and prepared meals at each market held.

International students remaining in Australia have found it particularly difficult this year amid casual job losses, financial impacts on families at home, and disqualification from many government supports as non-residents. The financial and broader COVID-19 challenges are exacerbated by being largely isolated in a foreign land, away from families and familiar supports.

For Flinders students, the Matthew Flinders scholarships have been an enormous help, assisting 1,400 international students (as of 1 July) with payments totalling $2,000, while students in need may also access a $500 emergency payment through the Flinders University Student Association (FUSA.)

The amenities fee has been waived for international students this year, and many have organised individual payment plans and extensions for this year’s fees.

Flinders University moved quickly to understand the challenges faced by its international students and adopted a comprehensive and fluid approach to ensure not only financial and academic implications were addressed, but also potential emotional and social consequences. The strategy involves a blend of one-on-one flexibility plus broader changes to services and service delivery – including compilation of a consolidated directory of external supports in South Australia that international students may not be familiar with.

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