Alex and his team put on a wide variety of events, starting from the day that international students arrive at JCU. The student support staff host a large orientation day for the new students arriving from all over the world. It’s a full day of engaging activities where students are provided with important information about their studies as well as living on or around campus.
“We get really creative by incorporating games, ice breakers, problem-solving activities, and of course, food,” Alex says. “We do student panels so that new students can meet and learn from current students. We also created a mentorship group called CROCS: Champions Responsible for Orientating Commencing Students.”
“It’s all about finding creative ways to give students individual opportunities to connect with other students in their first week here. I find it really exciting.”
Alex Salvador, JCU International Sponsored Student Advisor
The fun doesn’t stop after orientation week. Alex and his team organise activities and events throughout the semester to help students engage with each other as well as the student support staff.
“Every Tuesday we hold Café International, which started in 2013,” Alex says. “It’s a pop-up café where the student support staff make real coffee and put out food for students, and run activities with the students. It could be anything from playing games to cultural-specific activities.”
They also have Free Lunch Fridays a few times throughout the semester. “We do a lot of food-related things, because students love food,” Alex laughs. “But it’s not just offering ‘come and get your food and go away’. Students come to enjoy a meal together, and that’s really important.”
One of the most exciting events that the support staff run once a semester is JCU’s Got Talent. “We actually have a perpetual shield that each semester’s champion gets their name engraved on. I have to say, it’s pretty cool and the students do a great job!”
Alex and the student support staff are also heavily involved in Harmony Day celebrations. “We engage the different cultural groups within the University to put on cultural presentation performances and activities,” he says. “That includes dances, games, henna tattooing, turban wrapping, sari wrapping, and other things that the students might suggest doing.”