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Alba Iulia
Friday, May 7, 2021

The Couch: offering free services for international students in Melbourne

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Kimberly Mitchiko
Kimberly Mitchiko
Kimberly Mitchiko is Study Melbourne Ambassador and recipient of the International Student of the Year (Vocational Education) at the Victorian International Education Awards 2020.

The City of Melbourne in partnership with Salvation Army 614 re-opened The Couch International Student Centre last 29 March 2021.

In October 2020, with the current COVID-19 related challenges, Council made the decision to reactivate The Couch back in its original location at 69 Bourke Street, Melbourne (which originally ran from 2009 to 2016 in Carlton). The Couch continues to support international students studying, living and working in Melbourne.

The Couch will provide a safe place for connection (reducing the sense of isolation); a place to engage, learn and celebrate; access to free cooked meals; an opportunity to give back through volunteering; and connection with the local community through planned activities. 

In 2013, The Couch was awarded the Victorian Multicultural Commission’s Service Delivery to Multicultural Community Award for its “outstanding achievements and services that have actively supported cultural diversity and made a real impact in promoting community harmony in Victoria”. In 2014, The Couch was awarded the Council of International Students Australia (CISA) Excellence Award for the ‘Most Active International Student Club 2014.’ 

What can you expect at The Couch? 

When you hear the word ‘couch’ – the words relax and chill come into your mind and that is how the City of Melbourne and Salvation Army 614 want international students to benefit from The Couch. 

Board games are available and a number of activities have been hosted since The Couch has re-opened such as salsa night, Zumba night and employability seminars usually attended by 30 to 50 international students. Individuals or organisations supporting international students are encouraged to host events at The Couch. 

Interested to host an event? Do not hesitate to email Salvation Army at thecouch614@gmail.com

The Couch is open from Monday to Thursday, 6pm to 8.30pm.

Volunteers wanted

The Couch is currently looking for volunteers to assist in the kitchen, run games and activities, host events and connect with other students. There are different roles and shifts for everyone. Graduates and local students are also welcome to volunteer!

If you’re interested, email internationalstudents@melbourne.vic.gov.au with your details, such as name, education institution, mobile number and country of origin.

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