Murdoch University’s Embedded Learning and Study (ELAS) program has been awarded the WA International Education Program of 2020 by the Council for International Students, Western Australia.The ELAS program is a peer-to-peer initiative for commencing international postgraduate students, designed to support the transition into their studies in Australia.
Moving to a new country can be a challenge, but this year, ELAS mentors and mentees have found this to be especially true.
On top of navigating their way through a new city while being away from their support networks at home, international students had to wade through unchartered territory of lockdowns, border closures, new ways of learning and more.
A team that has continued to provide an exceptional student experience for international students, making the move to studying in Australia as smooth as possible.
Pro Vice Chancellor International Kelly Smith said the ELAS program has played an important role in the support Murdoch has offered to its international postgraduate students.
“Postgraduate study is challenging for all students, but international students are likely to have additional unique pressures related especially to academic language and culture,” he explained.
“Numerous studies over the years have suggested that they may also face high levels of anxiety, stress, loneliness and the need for belonging.”
“The ELAS program has helped our international students to avoid personal and academic culture shock by talking through issues with their peers, and it has also helped them to learn about many of the skills and dispositions needed for successful postgraduate study in Australia.”
The program was assessed on its overall benefit to international students, integration with local students and its ability to reach large proportions of students, while maintaining accessibility.
Image: ELAS Leaders Emmanuel Dei and Mariyam Kapasi at Murdoch University.
ELAS Leader, Emmanuel Dei said his experience as an ELAS leader has been one big learning opportunity. He is currently studying a Master of Health Administration, Policy and Leadership at Murdoch University.
“The program has taught me to interact with people from different backgrounds, and to hold conversations with total strangers without being awkward about it,” he said.
“I am proud to be part of an award-winning program that helps international students.”
The program also provides much-needed practical advice to help international postgraduate students make academic, social and cultural adjustments to life in Australia.
“It’s really helped our new international students overcome barriers that might prevent them from completing their courses successfully and on time, as well as developing the leadership capabilities of our ELAS leaders,” said Mr Smith.
The program has provided a comfortable, inclusive and supportive learning environment for our new students to develop their student voices and confidence.”While ELAS is a relatively young program at Murdoch, it has consistently shown great potential through its multi-faceted approach to supporting a high-quality experience for Murdoch’s diverse international cohorts.
Image: Left to right – Dr Stephen Johnson (Head of Support for Learning), Emmanuel Dei (ELAS Leader), Mariyam Kapasi (ELAS Leader), Kerry-Lee Jacobsen (Peer Learning and Support Coordinator), Sammie Thake (Peer Learning and Support Officer).