It has been widely acknowledged that an important indicator of a successful sojourn for international students is social integration into the host community. Despite seemingly regular opportunities to integrate, many international students report that their interactions with local residents remain superficial. The Community Connections programme at The University of Newcastle in Australia has aimed to address this issue over the past 13 years by engaging a broad range of volunteers from the host community to welcome, befriend, and support international students. In 2009, the opportunity arose to conduct a small pilot project within Community Connections, the aim of which was to focus specifically on facilitating relationships between international and domestic students. Thirty domestic students and a similar number of international students volunteered to participate in this pilot project. This paper describes the steps involved to develop this project, outlines the evaluation process, and discusses the impact of participation in the programme on student experience.
- Relationship building
- Social integration