Imagine you have just arrived in a new city. You barely know anyone and it’s hard to find your way around. You may wonder how you’re going to survive in this new city. For some people, having no friends can be painful. But there are often people to help out, as we found in Melbourne, Australia.
Billed by the The Economist as the most liveable city in the world in 2011, Melbourne is also a popular destination for international students, with more than 50,000 overseas students coming to this multicultural city every year.
Australian students often go to local pubs or bars to meet people. But some students don’t feel that comfortable in bars. So the Melbourne City Council and the Salvation Army got together to set up The Couch: a meeting place for international students.
Located in an alley at the heart of city, The Couch is always open for those who want to gain an enjoyable experience as a part of global community. You can meet new people from around the globe, sharing ideas, talking about things, enjoying food, and even exchanging languages!
Peter Hichaaba, the coordinator of The Couch, says this place is not only a couch but also a hub that can help international students in finding new friends. The centre runs various activities, including free dinners and language learning. There are also provides welfare-related services for international students, such as legal assistance and information for finding jobs.
The Couch helps international students such as Hannah, who feels like they are part of the city.
‘I don’t think finding and making new friends is a big deal in Melbourne’, says Hannah who is originally from China.
Let’s hear Peter talk about The Couch.