Anglican Aid is partnering with St John’s Anglican Church, Keiraville to help them welcome international students – isolated and far from home – to reflect Jesus’ welcome to us.
Keiraville International Church (KIC) is an established ministry of St John’s Anglican Church that has changed the lives of many international students since its establishment in 2010. KIC serves international students enrolled at Wollongong University, their spouses and children, and other migrants and refugees.
The KIC chaplain has been part of the ministry for its whole life. A campus student club – International Christian Group – formed in 2013 and its leaders are part of KIC.
Roughly 60 people per semester attend KIC events, hailing from countries as varied as China, Vietnam, India, Nepal, Nigeria and parts of Europe. A further 80 students are on the contact list for invitation to activities and courses like bushwalks, Fun Food Fridays, English classes etc.
As competency in English grows students build confidence and engage more with the group, so attend more regularly and bring others with them.
Wollongong University attracts more than 4000 international students from more than 100 countries. No matter where they study, these students face great challenges on top of the demands of study and the pressure on them to succeed.
Despite the stereotype of wealthy international students, many experience great financial hardship, with a low standard of living that impacts their health and wellbeing. Typically, international students live in crowded accommodation and work in low-paid jobs.
They may experience difficulty in accessing services including health, banking and social services. They often have limited friendship networks. Those from totalitarian regimes fear exposure from others seeking to entrap them.
KIC provides care and assistance to address these needs with Pastoral Care. Financial Management Assistance, Conversational English classes and Leadership Training.