The Experience of International Students Before and During COVID-19: Housing, work, study, and wellbeing

 University of Technology Sydney, Australian Research Council study (DP190101073),

International students’ experience of renting accommodation in Australia is a crucial but overlooked determinant of their wellbeing, which has been brought into stark relief by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report is based on two surveys of international students in the private rental sector (PRS). The first survey was conducted in the second half of 2019, before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the second survey in June and the first week of July 2020, during the pandemic.

The findings of the first survey show that a substantial proportion of international students were already in a precarious situation before the pandemic.

The second survey reveals the various impacts of the pandemic on international students in the private rental sector and the extent to which their circumstances have deteriorated.

The report also draws on data from the initial stage of the qualitative component of the study – semi-structured in-depth interviews with international students conducted between April and July 2020. Quotes from some of the 26 semi-structured interviews conducted thus far, are presented alongside the survey data evidence that follows.

Although the focus is on the experiences of private renting, the report has taken a broader sociological approach to student housing problems and, as such, it offers wider insights into the wellbeing, employment, and income situations of international students at a crucial turning point for the Australian higher education sector

Asian, Gay & COVID-19 (Free online event)

 Gay Asian Proud & Thorne Harbour Health, July 2020

A live online chat with James & Amirul – sharing their lived experience as same-sex attracted guys with Asian backgrounds.

Date And Time:

Thu, 6 August 2020, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM ACST

Living Room Sharing Session:

Join Gay Asian Proud (GAP) coordinators James and Amirul in this casual, friendly and insightful conversation about being gay, Asian, moving away from home and living in the midst of COVID-19 restrictions.

Listen to them share their experiences about living in Australia, overcoming challenges as a migrant and international student, maintaining emotional and mental well-being during the COVID-19 lockdown.

This session welcomes all of the LGBTIQ+ community and their allies. Attendees will be able to ask questions during the online chat which James & Amirul will endeavour to answer in a live Q & A after the session.

Meet the guys:

Amirul (or Rul for short) is a proud GAY-sian guy, born and raised in Sunny Singapore and has been living in Melbourne, Australia for almost 8 years. He first arrived in Australia back in 2012 as an international student and calls Melbourne home for now. Originally starting out as a member, he is now one of the volunteer facilitators for the social support group, Gay Asian Proud,

James is a migrant from Singapore and a former international student who has been living in Australia for more than 10 years. He is a Thorne Harbour Health peer education facilitator, and a Community Reference Group member at the Victorian Pride Centre. He writes “The Well-Fed Nomad”, a Facebook food blog about his cooking and eating experiences around the world. His passion for arts and culture has brought him to Asia and Europe to participate in cross-cultural leadership and international collaboration programs.

Women on temporary visas experiencing family violence face additional complex barriers to seeking help

inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence, March 11th, 2020

CEO of inTouch, Ms Michal Morris, today released a position paper on women on temporary visas who are experiencing family violence. The paper urges the government to implement eight recommendations in order to improve supports and services for these vulnerable women.

‘I believe that all women who experience family violence in Australia should have access to the full suite of support services and be safe. Visa status should not be a factor, nor should living in destitution. Today, the government is issuing more temporary visas than ever before. Because of this we are only going to see more women in need and more gaps in services’, said Ms Morris.

Refugee-led peak national advocacy organisation launched in Melbourne

Refugee Communities Association of Australia Inc., 11 Feb 2020

Refugee Communities Association of Australia Inc (RCAA) was launched at the Multicultural Hub: AMES Australia on 8th February in Melbourne, with the aim to empower refugee communities across Australia, enabling them to take active roles in Australia.

For a long-time refugee community in Australia have been represented by external agencies and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) or by refugees under the remit of these organisations.

HIV diagnoses in migrant populations in Australia: a changing epidemiology

PLoS ONE ,14(2): e0212268. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0212268

Abstract

Introduction

We conducted a detailed analysis of trends in new HIV diagnoses in Australia by country of birth, to understand any changes in epidemiology, relationship to migration patterns and implications for public health programs.

Methods

Poisson regression analyses were performed, comparing the age-standardised HIV diagnosis rates per 100,000 estimated resident population between 2006–2010 and 2011–2015 by region of birth, with stratification by exposure (male-to-male sex, heterosexual sex–males and females). Correlation between the number of permanent and long-term arrivals was also explored using linear regression models.

Results

Between 2006 and 2015, there were 6,741 new HIV diagnoses attributed to male-to-male sex and 2,093 attributed to heterosexual sex, with the proportion of diagnoses attributed to male-to-male sex who were Australian-born decreasing from 72.5% to 66.5%. Compared with 2006–2010, the average annual HIV diagnosis rate per 100,000 in 2011–15 attributed to male-to-male sex was significantly higher in men born in South-East Asia (summary rate ratio (SRR) = 1.37, p = 0.001), North-East Asia (SRR = 2.18, p<0.001) and the Americas (SRR = 1.37, p = 0.025), but significantly lower as a result of heterosexual sex in men born in South-East Asia (SRR = 0.49, p = 0.002), Southern and Central Asia (SRR = 0.50, p = 0.014) and Sub-Saharan Africa (SRR = 0.39, p<0.001) and women born in South-East Asia (SRR = 0.61, p = 0.002) and Sub-Saharan Africa (SRR = 0.61, p<0.001). Positive associations were observed between the number of permanent and long-term arrivals and HIV diagnoses particularly in relation to diagnoses associated with male-to-male sex in men from North Africa and the Middle East, North Asia, Southern and Central Asia and the Americas.

Conclusion

The epidemiology of HIV in Australia is changing, with an increase in HIV diagnosis rates attributed to male-to-male sex amongst men born in Asia and the Americas. Tailored strategies must be developed to increase access to, and uptake of, prevention, testing and treatment in this group.

 

New sexual health videos for international students

WA Department of Health, 2018

The WA Department of Health has launched its 2018 “Be Safe. Stay Well” sexual health campaign for international students. The four short videos, available on the Healthy WA website were developed in consultation with international students and aim to give students from across the world a good understanding of sexual health topics and the health care system in WA.

Video – Health service costs

Read the video transcript – Health service costs

Video – Discussing sexually transmitted infections

Read the video transcript – Discussing sexually transmitted infections

Video – Sex and the law

Read the video transcript – Sex and the law

Video – Importance of safe sex

Read the video transcript – Importance of safe sex