Julie Lucille del Valle
In making Filipinos in Victoria feel closer to home, the Filipino-Australian Students Council (FASTCO) in partnership with Australia Education and Career Consultants (AECC) Global puts together Pinoy hospitality and Aussie barbie in an annual welcome lunch for new Filipino students last 19 March 2016 at Flagstaff Gardens, West Melbourne, Victoria.
Every year, there are some 50-100 Filipino scholars who are expected to come to Victoria to study. As Filipinos, it has been a significant part of our value system to welcome our fellow Pinoys to a Filipino community abroad. One of these Filipino communities is FASTCO where our kababayan can stay connected to our roots despite being overseas. As the number of Filipino students in Victoria increases, so too are their needs which mainly concern not only their academics, research endeavors, and scholarships but also matters regarding building social networks, maintaining a positive sense of well-being, keeping a life-school balance or simply finding a venue where they can freely speak their native tongue. Such concerns are what FASTCO seeks to respond to.
For the past months, FASTCO organised programs and projects in collaboration with other Australian and Filipino group partners which provided platforms for Filipino students to engage in socio-academic and scholarly endeavors. This time, at the start of the new semester, FASTCO went back to basics and did what Filos do best in Australia – welcoming new Pinoy students at a barbie with award-winning Joseph Kierulf as the guest chef. This year’s FASTCOquaintance BBQ sought not just to gather Filipinos to eat, meet, and greet, but as what the FASTCO President Lemuel Lopez mentioned in his welcome message, “to also create a stronger sense of community among Pinoy students by strengthening its linkages and connections”. This is why a series of interactive, dynamic, and teambuilding-based activities are included in the acquaintance program this time around. Such active interactions among new and seasoned students would serve a firm foundation in building a stronger Filipino student community, which contributes greatly to the success of future FASTCO projects and programs.
The 40 students coming from different universities in Victoria were introduced to the Australian-study culture, shared with some useful tips on Victorian living, and provide with opportunities for creating new contacts and social networks. They were also invited to participate in the upcoming FASTCO activities: (1) Book drive and library project for rural public senior high school with Agriculture Tech-Voc track in the Philippines in April; (2) Seminar-workshops in positive well-being in May; and (3) the second edition of the FilipiKnow Trivia Night in June 2016.
Get more stories like this in your inbox!
Sign up for our newsletter and receive regular updates.