Care, Connection and Community- A special event for international students

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Australian-Indian Sports Educational and Cultural Society (AISECS) hosted a special event on 3rd June, Thursday, named ‘Care, Connection and Community’ that was solely dedicated to the International Students in NSW by partnering with Study NSW and Consulate General of India, Sydney.

The international students, particularly from India and Nepal, are continually facing extreme challenges due to the COVID-19 situation at its peak in their respective countries and through this event, AISECS along with their partners wanted to give them a sense of belongingness and assure them that they are not alone in Australia.

It was the first event planned to post the pandemic for students that included interactions with community stakeholders, a motivational speaker session sharing tips on health and well-being, a chance to connect with fellow international students studying in NSW followed by an Indian feast.

Nearly 75 international students attended this event along with guest speakers – Deputy Secretary, Trade and International Investment of Study NSW Jenny West,
Superintendent NSW Police Samantha Ford, CEO of Cricket Australia Nick Hockley, Consul General of India Hon Manish Gupta, Consul General of Nepal Deepak Khadka, Karishma Rajan Menon from Headspace and Founder of AISECS who all shared words of inspiration with the international students.

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Manish Gupta, Indian Consul General in Sydney acknowledged the concerns of students and applauded them for showing resilience while pursuing their study and dealing with the effects of the pandemic at the same time.

Jenny West, Deputy Secretary, Trade and International Investment of Study NSW spoke to the students about the latest information and student updates as well as services they have access to, along with the necessary support from Study NSW and other educational stakeholders.

The NSW Police Force addressed the international students by assuring their support and commitment and encouraged students to reach out to the force concerning the numerous challenges created by the pandemic.

The students were then joined by a mental health speaker from headspace who addressed the critical issues in the pandemic times like anxiety, depression and sleep deprivation and overcoming the same by staying mentally and emotionally strong.

Nick Hockley, the CEO of Cricket Australia greeted the students and spoke about Cricket Australia’s partnership with UNICEF where they raised almost 300,000 AUD through donations to support India, which are dealing with the deadly second wave of the virus. Hockley also spoke about the growing opportunities in the sports industry and addressed various doubts of the students. The Cricket Australia CEO also presented an exclusive Chennai Super Kings IPL team jersey to the lucky raffle ticket winner during the event.

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Gurnam Singh, the founder of AISECS shared his journey and evolution as an international student in Australia and stated that AISECS stands in solidarity with the students going through a tough time. AISECS provided groceries, rental assistance and other living essentials to the students and the other people who were in need, not just in NSW but in many other parts of Australia as well. In addition to the mental health webinars organized by AISECS in partnership with stakeholders, the organization also launched a remote internship program in late 2020 that helped students develop practical skills and make them ready for employment.

The event also marked the launch of the AISECS Start-up Program for the students and the individuals who always dreamt of having a start-up but never got the right opportunity to take it forward. Through this initiative, AISECS strives to help them in giving their dreams the wings to fly.

The event was concluded by announcing lucky raffle winners and an Indian feast, providing the students with an opportunity to network with attendees and stakeholders.