In the wake of recent attacks on Indian students, an Australian business body has come out with a novel initiative -- "Friendship Programme" -- for the newcomers in the country to help them better understand local culture before they arrive Down Under.
The new initiative by the Australia-India Business Council (AIBC) aims to bring the two culture together in the long-term interest of the two countries that can improve both cultural and business relations.
The programme is based on the fact that cultural misunderstandings do occur and that a fractional minority can stir trouble - but as a positive initiative, 'Friendship' will provide a focus to bring forward the best of the two cultures - thereby helping Indian students to better comprehend and integrate with Australian culture.
Realising such attacks can be curb to some extent, AIBC has come up with a new idea of launching a portal "Buddy" under the new proposed public-private partnership 'Friendship programme' that can help an Indian student to migrate and integrate easily to a different culture.
AIBC is trying to bring all stakeholders including government, education institutes, student association as well as sports club to come under one umbrella 'Friendship'.
"The new programme will look at combining resources that would provide tangible support for Indian students in Australia," AIBC vice president Stephen Manallack told Manallack further elaborated that the new Buddy system will also allow businesses to register to employ a student.
"If students are given the opportunity to find jobs in mainstream society then it makes much easier for them to integrate into society and also helps in their safety issue," Manallack said.
He said such a initiative will help in making student life easier and will have cascading effect that will in turn help in wooing more students.
Other part of the 'Friendship programme' would entail celebrating diversity like holding events like Diwali mela in Australia, providing information materials and educational programmes for Indian students highlighting aspects of Australian culture and also engaging sports community.
AIBC was in active discussions with Australian Footy League about engaging Indian community.
"It could include Indian companies sponsoring students to participate in local AFL competitions, allocating seats at selected matches during the season for International students, open days at clubs where Indian food stalls are made available," Manallack said.