The Study Melbourne Inclusion Program (SMIP) forms part of Victoria's International Education Recovery Plan 2025 to support international students in Victoria.

The SMIP provides funding for activities that promote the wellbeing of international students and enhance their experience living in Victoria.

Since its inception in 2015, the Program has funded 147 projects and supported more than 230,000 students while building the International Education sector's capacity to assist international students better.

This year, Study Melbourne funded the following 13 projects to support the wellbeing of international students and enhance their experience of living in Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Education providers or student-related organisations interested in future application rounds can email smip@studymelbourne.vic.gov.au for more information.

IMPROVE your wellbeing with fun and rewarding activities

ENGAGE with the local community and feel a sense of belonging

ENHANCE your experience of living and studying in Victoria

2024 Projects

Art Harmony Melbourne (AHM)

Australia Women & Children Protection and Development Inc

Delivered by AWCPD in partnership with Creative Asia Foundation and Arts Pie Australia

The program features quarterly art workshops covering various art forms, enhancing international students' skills through hands-on experiences. Additionally, it includes seminars focusing on the rich history of Australian art, contributions of Aboriginal and Asian artists, and art appreciation. Another component involves visiting local exhibitions at the NGV or other galleries with artists or art guides for Asian students, providing a platform for international students to fully understand the creations.

Co-designing a digital suicide prevention intervention for international students

University of Melbourne

Delivered by the University of Melbourne in partnership with Orygen

The project will co-design and deliver the first digital suicide prevention intervention for international students. This project represents a significant advancement over existing methods by placing international students central to the inception and creation of the intervention. They will build upon current evidence of key risk and protective factors for suicide in international students to guide the intervention development process.

Culture Connect

National Gallery of Victoria

Delivered by the NGV in partnership with the Koorie Heritage Trust

Culture Connect includes a series of 8 stand-alone monthly programs to be delivered in Semester 2, 2024, and Semester 1, 2025.

The project leverages the unique collections, venues and expertise of the NGV and Koorie Heritage Trust to provide international students with social and creative cultural experiences focused on First Peoples’ art, culture and histories, providing an engaging and vital grounding in First Peoples’ culture for students new to Australia and Melbourne.

Each session is designed to foster social connections between participants and to provide a welcoming and culturally safe space for all participants.

Daborra-ma: Creating cultural connections and belonging through storytelling and sports

Discover English

Delivered by Discover English in partnership with Fitzroy Stars Football Netball Club

The program is made up of three main activities:

  1. Live listening and storytelling sessions
  2. Australian Football clinics at Sir Doug Nicholls Oval, coached by members of Fitzroy Stars FNC
  3. Hour-long cultural exchange sessions with First Nations community members, followed by a Fitzroy Stars women's league match at Sir Doug Nicholls Oval

These activities are specifically designed to help international students feel a sense of belonging and a greater cultural understanding of Australia, especially First Nations Australia, which is notoriously under-represented in the ELICOS curriculum.

Forest Therapy for International Students

International Nature and Forest Therapy Alliance

Delivered by INFTA in partnership with Monash University, RMIT, University of Melbourne and Victoria University

The project offers Forest Therapy (FT) sessions to international students from Melbourne and its surroundings. The sessions are offered at the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) Melbourne, where FT has been conducted since 2019. FT consists of complementary physical and mental activities that have been shown to alleviate stress and anxiety, boost the immune system and contribute to better mood and sleep.

Gig Workers support and wellbeing Project

The Lygon Group

Delivered by the Lygon Group in partnership with the Gig Workers Hub

The project will build a virtual community alongside the existing Gig Workers Hub (partner) to raise the visibility of current support and services available to international students who work in the gig economy, with a specific focus on food delivery riders, drivers, and cleaners.

The project will also deliver webinars focused on turning their gig work experiences into transferable soft skills to build their resumes and other relevant professional development workshops, making it highly relevant to their unique situation.

International Students Sporting Initiative

Bright Education

Delivered by Bright Education in partnership with Perfect Ballers Incorporated

The project includes weekly basketball and badminton events and large-scale sporting tournament-styled activities. It will enhance and expand the successful and pre-established framework of ongoing international student sporting commitments, focusing on amplifying the scale and impact of weekly social basketball and badminton events and encouraging more international students to adopt a proactive lifestyle during their education period in Melbourne. The focus will be directed towards fostering inclusivity, physical activity, and engagement among international students.

MAGNIFY - Empowerment Program

STEM Sisters

Delivered by STEM Sisters in partnership with Victoria University, Monash University, Swinburne University, Melbourne University and RMIT University

The program is designed to provide a comprehensive support system for international women students and recent graduates pursuing STEM fields in Victoria and focuses on the following key elements: Empowerment workshops, Cultural exchange, networking events, and online accessibility.

MOVSA Connect

Melbourne Overseas Vietnamese Student Association

Delivered by MOVSA in partnership with Monash Vietnamese International Student Club

The initiative aims to engage with Vietnamese international students by offering a diverse array of activities spanning sports, arts, events, and travel. It addresses issues such as isolation and homesickness to assist students in building social connections and making a positive adjustment to living and studying in Victoria.

Right Start – employment rights and readiness for international students

Migrant Workers' Centre

Delivered by the Migrant Workers’ Centre in partnership with LLAMA

The project aims to enhance the participation of international students in the job market and reduce the extent of labour exploitation among international students through two activities: 1) a one-on-one consultation service combining employment services, labour exploitation screening, and workplace rights awareness raising, and 2) online and face-to-face outreach and education events.

RISE - Wellbeing and Success Program for Asian International Students

Mindspace Consulting

Delivered by Mindspace Consulting in partnership with Empower Tactical, Muhe Health Support, Psyckitchen and ToFuture Group

This is a comprehensive program to bridge the gap and better support the mental health and well-being of international students in Melbourne. The program consists of two major components including:

  1. Seminars and workshops that emphasise strength-based psychology and mental health education to help students assess their well-being, learn stress and emotional management skills and prepare for success.
  2. building inner strength and resilience through martial arts and physical exercise.

Salvos on Malop International Student Lounge Projects

Salvation Army Geelong

Delivered by the Salvation Army in partnership with the City of Greater Geelong, Deakin University and the Gordon Institute

The program is offered to Geelong international students and includes four main projects:

  1. The Swimming and Water Safety Project will include 10 weeks of free multicultural adult swimming lessons and will culminate with a beach safety day at a local surf-lifesaving club.
  2. The International Friendship Program provides a supportive platform for international students in Geelong, and the local community members, to build connections, share interests and enjoy cross-cultural exchange.
  3. The Wellbeing Workshops will run twice a year, over six weeks and will culminate in the development of a Lived Experience Wellbeing digital resource.
  4. The Discover Victoria Excursion project will offer Geelong international students and their families, the opportunity to visit and explore Victoria in a safe and culturally sensitive way.

Uplift and change makers project

Shakti Mental Health

Delivered by Shakti Mental Health in partnership with Third Culture Australia

The project aims to build the capacity of international students by improving their connection to local capacity-building opportunities and improving their physical and mental well-being. The project consists of a series of workshops for international students. Each workshop will include the support of culturally trained mental health professionals who will empower international students by providing wellbeing support through community wellbeing discussions.

2023 Projects

A Unique Journey in Melbourne

VicWise

Delivered by VicWise in partnership with ECCV, Federation University and Melbourne Polytechnic.

The project supports the wellbeing of international students from China, South-East Asia and South Asia through facilitated activities that increase their mental health literacy supported by bicultural workers. The project also aims to foster connections between the students, their local community, and peers to promote a sense of belonging. In addition, it facilitates links with small businesses to identify and create volunteering and leadership opportunities. Lastly, the project celebrates cultural festivals such as Diwali to increase inclusion.

Beach and Water Safety Program

Bendigo Kangan

Delivered by Bendigo Kangan Institute in partnership with Life Saving Victoria.

The project provides holistic water and beach safety training through First Aid courses, Beach Safety Skills training, Incursion Water Safety lessons, and Lifeguard kits. This holistic approach aims to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to ensure their safety in and around the water.

Improving International Student Internship Experiences

CQU Melbourne

Delivered by CQU Melbourne in partnership with Readygrad.

This first-of-its-kind awareness campaign informs industry supervisors about the background and cultural differences of international students undertaking an internship at their organisation while studying in Victoria. Industry supervisors will improve their understanding of international students' daily routines and commitments, the difficulties they face adjusting to this new environment and work culture, and the support they need during the internship.

International student holistic wellbeing project

Australia Nepal Public Link

Delivered by Australia Nepal Public Link in partnership with MITSA and SACLG.

The holistic project is an evidence-based intervention that includes mental health first aid conversation about suicide; mental health first aid training for international students; wellbeing and resilience building group activity; and water safety awareness education. The project is designed to improve the mental health and overall wellbeing of international students while also equipping them with essential skills and knowledge to keep themselves safe.

International Student Mental Health Peer Work

Orygen

Delivered by Orygen in partnership with Melbourne Polytechnic and RMIT.

The project consists of international students with their own lived experience of mental ill health, supporting other international students using principles of mental health peer work combined with their knowledge of moving to Australia to study. Currently, Orygen is expanding the program and developing a further understanding of the implementation process, support required and to what extent the program delivers improved outcomes for international students and education providers.

International Student to International Advisor

Asialink Business

Delivered by Asialink Business in partnership with the City of Melbourne.

The project delivers a pilot initiative that creates greater belonging and connection for international students through an approach that values international students as experts, uncovering and sharing their experiences and insights. The program highlights international student experience and insight as a critical asset for creating capability for Melbourne’s business community to understand the fast-changing Asia landscape.

Know Your Rights at Work for International Students

Migrant Workers Centre

Delivered by the Migrant Workers Centre in partnership with FASTCOVic and NOMIT.

The project increases the capacity of international students to respond to labour exploitation through an online awareness-raising campaign and face-to-face training and capacity-building events. An initial co-design process is supported by ongoing input from international students through a project committee and participant surveys.

Melbourne is Badminton

Badminton Victoria

Delivered by Badminton Victoria in partnership with Melbourne-City Badminton.

Melbourne is Badminton provides social networking opportunities for international students in Melbourne and Geelong. It supports their mental health and wellbeing through physical activity and engagement with fellow international students on and off the badminton court. The program will provide an important community for international students in Melbourne & regional Victoria.

Melbourne Victory x Student FC

Melbourne Victory FC

Delivered by Melbourne Victory FC in partnership with Melbourne Chinese Soccer Association and the City of Melbourne.

Melbourne Victory x Student FC is a community program recruiting 100 international students to train and play football, and another 150+ students as volunteers, fans, and event/match day attendees. The benefits for students include building personal connections through the club and the competition and harnessing opportunities to practice their language skills.

Native Nature 101

Laneway Learning

Delivered by Laneway Learning in partnership with Buzz and Dig, Puddle Puddle Design and Your Green Prescription.

Native Nature 101 is a series of free, curated workshops for international students to discover, play, and connect with native plants, food, bees and more in Victoria.

NGV Language Exchange

National Gallery of Victoria

Delivered by the National Gallery of Victoria in partnership with VicTESOL.

NGV Language Exchange welcomes international students from a non-English speaking background to the NGV through art-inspired programs designed to encourage social connection and build students’ confidence in conversational English. The sessions aim to introduce students to the NGV’s Collection through activities led by NGV Educators, VicTESOL staff and guest artists.

Salvos on Malop International Student Lounge

Salvation Army

Delivered by the Salvation Army in partnership with the City of Greater Geelong, Deakin University and the Gordon Institute.

The Salvation Army Centre in Malop Street, Geelong, provides a dedicated international student space within walking distance of the Deakin Waterfront Campus, the Gordon and public transport hubs. It is a drop-in space for international students living and studying in Geelong to feel supported and have an enhanced sense of belonging and connectedness to the local community.

STEM Sisters Mentoring Program

STEM Sisters

Delivered by STEM Sisters in partnership with Monash University and Victoria University.

The STEM Sisters mentoring program (SSMP) supports female international students in STEM to advance their professional development and skills for their STEM career goals. Through the SSMP program, women in STEM can participate in a 6-month mentoring program focused on skills and career programs based on their topics of interest and their areas of expertise.

Suicide alertness training

University of Melbourne

Delivered by the University of Melbourne in partnership with Orygen and LivingWorks Australia.

The project adapts and delivers the LivingWorks safeTALK training for International Students. SafeTALK is a half-day suicide alertness workshop that prepares individuals to become suicide-alert helpers regardless of prior training.

Uni Cypher Sessions

Auspicious Arts Projects

Delivered by the Auspicious Arts Projects in partnership with Cypher Culture, Flare Dance Ensemble and RMIT Funkadelic Dance Club.

Uni Cypher Sessions brings together dancers from Victoria's international student community to exchange street dance culture. A series of street dance events, including training sessions, workshops and performances, provides a framework for Victorian international students and street dancers to unite and empower each other with greater community engagement, social connection, and wellbeing.

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For Industry

Applications for the 2024 round of the program are closed. For further information about the application process for future rounds, visit the industry section of the Study Melbourne website.