An event last Friday evening illustrates the complexity of Oasis, yet alludes to what may be achieved by collaboration across established boundaries – staff, student, community/ the Academy and Service Providers/ teaching, research and community engagement.
During the New Year break, three Chinese students reflected on what would have helped them most as international students. They concluded that connecting with locals would help them with colloquial Australian language and Australian culture.
They decided on a strategy and went to International Student Support for advice and support. Because of the close relationship between Oasis and ISS, I was invited into the conversation. The students were encouraged to talk with FUSA and to perhaps create a club. This would give them a financial and structural foundation. Oasis could host their meetings and work with ISS to give moral support. It was agreed that the students had opened up a big issue and it might get beyond them – so I negotiated with the Social Work staff to provide support from the social work students in placement.
Coincidentally, one of the Oasis Team was talking with Rotary International about Rotary re-invigorating their support for international students.
The film captures the coming together of all of these strands – the initiators of the club, international students, the FUSA International Officer, members of the local community, including Rotarians exploring what they might offer, ISS staff and some of the Oasis Team.
During this process over last few months, one of the initiators of the club has suffered a relationship break-up and a sudden bereavement. Providentially, the relationship we had enjoyed provided a good basis for Oasis to offer emotional support.
The complexity of networks creates a sense of belonging, friendship, trust and support. And new opportunities for good.