The ISSN has been established to connect vulnerable students with locals who will provide short-term homestay accommodation, meals and a safe home environment, with hosts receiving a small reimbursement to help cover the costs of the student’s living requirements.

“Our future reputation is dependent on how we manage this crisis and care for international students”

The ISSN is facilitated by the AHN, which successfully piloted a similar initiative for asylum seekers in 2012.

“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the international education economy and on international students in Australia, many of whom are facing extreme financial hardship and are unable to travel home,” said AHN founder, David Bycroft.

“We’re looking for community-minded people to show these students that Australia does care about them and we are here to support them.”

Bycroft said the ISSN was created in consultation with industry bodies, education providers and student groups to provide relief for at-risk students.

He said that international students are dealing with uncertainty in almost every aspect of their lives: “study, financial hardship, homesickness, loneliness and anxiety about living day-to-day with the uncertainty of their future here in Australia”.

“ISSN homestay is a comfortable, safe and economical solution to help international students get through these tough times so they can experience the best of Australia once the crisis has passed,” he added.

“If we can offer them some peace of mind and structure by connecting them with a compassionate local family – we want to make that happen.”

Bycroft said hosting with the ISSN also reinforces the valuable contribution international students make to our community and the Australian economy.

“International education is Australia’s third-largest export. Our future reputation is dependent on how we manage this crisis and care for international students currently in our country.”

Anyone interested in hosting with the ISSN can register online, while students can apply for the ISSN program upon referral from their education provider (eligibility criteria apply).

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