Phone app proposed to help international students adapt to life in Australia

This article was originally posted on SBS By Peter Theodosiou

International students in NSW could soon have access to a phone app to help them adapt to life in Australia.
A team of students from the University of NSW have completed a project to assist NSW Police establish ways to better communicate with international students across the state.They recommended the development of a phone app to provide international students with guidelines and advise about things such as, how to acquire adequate accommodation, using public transport, gaining employment and financial management.

The app, which is still in its planning stage, would also provide guidelines about crimes to report to police, as well as information for parents back in their home countries.

Students Jingwen Hu, Kamer Nizamdeen, Feliksianus Robby Gunawan and Ritwick Priyadarshi, presented their project at NSW Parliament House on June 16.

Image of the proposed design layout of the app (SBS)

Image of the proposed design layout of one of the app screens (SBS)

Mr Priyadarshi, 22, said international students were calling for this app.

“We are trying to create a one-stop solution to all the information related to international students,” he said.

“We also have the emergency screen where we have combined all the emergency contacts and services into one screen for easier access by the students.

“It was really surprising for us to know that only few students knew that triple-zero was the emergency contact here in Australia.”

A screen proposed in the app (SBS)

A screen proposed in the app (SBS)


Other languages being considered for the app were Chinese and Indian.

Mr Priyadarshi, whose in his final year of a civil engineering degree at UNSW, said the app would help students overcome a fear of calling the police, which stemmed from practices in their home countries.

“The rules and laws, as well as the types of crimes to report are different in other countries, compared to Australia,” he said.

“One key challenge was there’s a lack of cross-over between the students when talking to police or reporting a crime.

“International students are common victims of scammers and fraudsters in regards to accommodation and work – this app would help them avoid such situations.”

UNSW students involved in projects for NSW Police and Study NSW (SBS)

UNSW students involved in projects for NSW Police and Study NSW (SBS)

Police Detective Superintendent Gavin Dengate said breaking down barriers was the goal of the six-week project.

“We can talk to a lot of people, but the missing link is hearing from the International students,” he said.

“If the information is on an app with a lot of other stuff, all different areas, then the students said they’d really be able to get some information.

NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres commended the project.

“The NSW Government through StudyNSW works to improve the experience of international students,” he said.

“With this project NSW Government’s StudyNSW has teamed up with Intersective to deliver projects that will develop their professional skills and give them work experience that will assist them get jobs once they finish their studies.

“It’s these sorts of projects, alongside with our lifestyle and world class education institutions that best showcase to prospective students that NSW is the number one destination to study.”

The project was a collaboration between UNSW, Study NSW, NSW Police and Intersective.

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