Bupa has established a new partnership under which it will provide support to international students at Deakin University who are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the partnership, the students will have access to $200,000 worth of supermarket vouchers.
Many international students are experiencing challenges due to the reduction in working hours available in hospitality and retail businesses as a result of social distancing regulations. Many international students rely on casual and part-time work to pay for basic needs such as housing and food.
According to Bupa’s general manager of educational partnerships, Sarah Thorne, having access to basic food needs has been a major concern raised by international students with the mental health support and counselling team.
“International students, living thousands of kilometres away from their family support systems, have been extremely vulnerable to the adverse financial and emotional effects of COVID-19 with unemployment or underemployment a widespread concern.
“As a health and care company it’s important that we are able to support our customers through this pandemic regardless of whether or not they are Australian citizens,” said Ms Thorne.
The announcement comes as the Deakin Health and Wellbeing program, supported by an investment from Bupa, is also covering the costs for all international students to receive a flu vaccination regardless of their Overseas Health Cover provider.
“We make this available for every student because we take a population approach to prevention. The more students immunised against the flu means more students are healthy, happy and able to focus on their studies.
“Like Bupa, Deakin University is an institution that truly values the health and wellbeing of its people and we look forward to growing this partnership further over the coming years,” added Ms Thorne.
Deakin’s Executive Director Student Life John Devereaux said: “We know our valued international students will materially benefit from this in addition to the $25 million Deakin has committed to our International Student Hardship Fund. We also hope that our students benefit emotionally and psychologically from this initiative, knowing that, like our partner Bupa, we genuinely care and are here for them.”
Bupa’s $200,000 fund is open to all international students across Deakin Universities Burwood, Geelong and Warrnambool campuses.