31 July 2013
International students at the University of the Sunshine Coast will get a crash course in Aussie slang and culture – and hopefully make some fair dinkum friends – on Thursday 1 August as part of a new initiative on campus.
The “G’day Mate” initiative is the brainchild of 19-year-old Bachelor of Arts student Olivia Baberowski, of Beerwah, who wants to give international and Australian students greater opportunities to interact socially.
With support from USC’s Student Life and Learning, Olivia has organised a special event, from 5-7pm at the UniClub, which will include some interactive Australian-themed games and taste-testing of Vegemite sandwiches and lamingtons.
International students will also learn how to transform their names into true blue Aussie monikers.
Olivia said her inspiration for the project came from spending a semester studying in Germany, through USC’s Global Opportunities program, where she experienced a language partnership program that helped her meet people and develop friendships.
“I've brought that back here and expanded on the concept, resulting in the G'day Mate program,” she said. “The initiative to connect international and Australian students in social, cultural and language sharing partnerships has had an overwhelming positive response.”
“In just two weeks, there have been around 130 sign-ups, and there will be 70-90 people attending the event tomorrow.”
Olivia, who has majored in Psychology, said Australian students at USC had just as much to gain from becoming involved in the program.
“This is a new thing for Sunshine Coast students to have a direct way of meeting and forming meaningful connections with other students from different cultural or language backgrounds which interest them,” she said.
“There are international students from 24 cultures signed up to the program, giving Australian students the choice to learn one of 20 different languages.”
— Terry Walsh