The International Hub in Armidale

A hub for international students and their families

The International Hub connects international students and their families with health and wellbeing programs to assist them to settle into life in Armidale.

Project dates

October 2017-June 2018

Project overview

The Hub introduces students and their families to local services to support their health and wellbeing. The Hub provides opportunities for engagement within the local community to help students and their families adjust to life in Armidale. It offers opportunities to learn about the Australian way of life through programs that explore and support life in a regional area, and it offers family members who may have little or no English the opportunity to participate in their new community.

Project highlights

The International Hub (the Hub) provides programs for the health and wellbeing of international students and their families in the Armidale region. The Hub has established a referral ‘touch point’ which provides access to a range of health and wellbeing programs delivered by existing community services. These programs aim to enhance the involvement between the international community and the local community while assisting international students and their families adjust to their new life in Armidale. The Hub also educates international students and their families about the Australian way of life, laws and culture by encouraging participation in programs that explore multiple aspects of life in a regional community and engaging with locals.




UNE International applied for a Study NSW Partner Project grant in 2016 with stakeholder Bupa, to establish the ‘Northern Tablelands International Community Partnership Project’ aka ‘The International Hub’ or ‘The Hub’. The aim of the Hub was to involve international students and their families in the local community through activities and events that focus on their health and wellbeing. Building on the real experience of an international student who arrived to study at the University of New England in 2013, the Hub designed programs to meet new students’ needs.

Project outcomes

Every program or lesson offered by the Hub has been oversubscribed. The ‘free driving lesson’ aimed at teaching safe driving in a regional location, has been increased to ‘3 free driving lessons’. Many of the participants have now obtained their Australian driving licence. Some participants in the first aid course have successfully used this qualification to obtain employment. Three of the five people who enrolled in the food handling certificate are now running their own food stall at the Sunday market which provides them with income for their families. Family members of international students who attended English language lessons gained confidence to explore and engage in the local community. Those who enrolled in the Hub sport and health classes met people from different nationalities and created a wider network in Armidale.

Project deliverables

The International Hub has delivered its purpose to engage and connect international students and their families within the Armidale regional community. It has achieved this through offering a range of services and activities including: free weekly English language lessons; a variety of sport classes for adults and children such as zumba, belli-fit, yoga, tennis and aerobics; free ‘closed’ female, male and mums and bubs swimming lessons; food handling courses with a certificate on completion; support for community groups to deliver programs eg. Armidale Family Support Services ‘Positive Parenting Program’; provision of three free driving lessons to encourage safe driving in rural Australia; first aid courses to build skills leading to better employment opportunities; an end of year annual free event to celebrate and showcase cultures and food to the Armidale community called Culture Fest, and; engagement with other community/organisational groups including Settlement Services International and the Country Women’s Association (National Conference).

Challenges and recommendations

The Hub programs continue to grow and participation rates increase. As a result many activities that were offered as ‘free’ now have a charge attached to support their financial viability. It is a recommendation that a participation fee is charged for activities to maintain financial sustainability and to ensure participants turn up to the activity they have reserved. The popularity of Culture Fest grew rapidly. As a result the establishment of a planning committee early on is essential for smooth delivery of the event. All events should be reviewed regularly to assess value for money and delivery of priorities. Feedback should be sought from organisers, participants and attendees through short surveys immediately after each event. Feedback should be acted upon where appropriate to enhance the experience.

Further information

The International Hub website