Hi, my name is Estelle and I work as a Student Experience Officer with the Griffith Mates. I studied a Bachelor of Asian Studies within Griffith’s Business School from 2014 – 2016. During my degree, I was awarded the New Colombo Plan Scholarship and did a study abroad semester in Tokyo, Japan where I worked on my Japanese language skills. My favourite thing about working at Griffith are the people – my colleagues and the students, of course!
How does the Griffith Mates program support international students?
The Griffith Mates are a team of domestic and international student ambassadors who welcome international students to Griffith University. We help students adjust to university life and life in Australia. Our signature events start from Orientation Week with networking events, welcome booths and campus tours. These continue throughout the trimester for students to make friends, practise their English and feel part of the Griffith community. Many of our Griffith Mates joined because they had a really positive experience with the program during their first trimester here in Australia.
Tell us how the Griffith Mates are still delivering the fun in 2020?
In the past, Griffith Mates have run all their events in-person. With the new challenge of connecting to students virtually, we really had to pivot to create events that were accessible online. Using software like Zoom, we were able to run a typical night event like Trivia Night, Challenge Night or Networking Night. The ‘breakout room’ function on Zoom really helped to keep meaningful student interactions in smaller groups, despite them being in different countries. We are also delivering the International Student Buddy Program online, offering students the chance to drop in if they want to ask questions and make new friends. In addition, we ran ‘Weekend Watch Parties’ on Netflix where students could watch the same movie and chat in real-time on a Saturday night.
What has been your favourite event this year?
Currently, we are coordinating a Virtual Walk Around Queensland. Students record their steps for the week when they are out and about visiting different areas of Queensland, and the combined total is the distance we cover as a group. In Week 1 we collectively travelled more than 700 kilometres, visiting the beautiful Scenic Rim area which is just west of the Gold Coast. We provided an itinerary for the week of travel and included some classic Australian food to try like a Yatala meat pie or a scone with a dollop of jam and cream. It’s an authentic way for students here and overseas to connect and learn more about Australia, specifically Queensland. It’s also a chance for students to share photos of their walks in their hometowns.
How can international students keep up-to-date with Griffith Mates events and activities?
Students can follow us on social media to keep updated on our upcoming activities (@griffithmates). In our bio, we have a link to all our upcoming events. If you click a link, it will take you to a registration form and we send reminders via email or text message.
How can a new student join the Griffith Mates?
Students who are interested in becoming a Griffith Mate to give back to the community can apply after their first trimester at Griffith University. We take domestic and international students studying at any level, including PhD students! There are two recruitment rounds: a written application followed by an interview. The written application includes criteria-based questions and the submission of a resume. For the interview round, it’s really about getting to know the students and how they interact in a team environment.
For the first time ever, the Griffith Mates have recruited a Russian student who is based overseas and I am really excited to include her in our program!
You can keep an eye out for future recruitment opportunities here.