Council of International Student Australia (CISA)
The Council of International Student Australia (CISA) is the national peak student representative organisation for international students studying in Australia. CISA was inaugurated in July 2010 at the University of Tasmania, Hobart through the joint efforts of the National Union of Students (NUS), Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) and the Australian Federation of International Students (AFIS) to form a unified voice for all international students.
Politically non-aligned, CISA advocates for the interests and needs of international students on a number of issues including work rights, health and safety. The organisation runs an annual conference where students and industry stakeholders meet and discuss issues and share information. The national committee is elected annually at the conference.
The Australian Federation of International Students (AFIS)
The Australian Federation of International Students (AFIS) was established in Melbourne in 2002 with an explicitly social inclusion agenda, seeking opportunities for international students to be part of Australian community life and to be an independent service to those students. As the number of international students studying in Australia started to increase at an exponential rate from 2005. In 2006, AFIS saw the growing need of international students and began to deliver direct services to them. The goal of AFIS is to provide a sense of community and unity for newly arrived and established young people. AFIS is a champion of balancing the value of Australian culture and cherishing one’s own heritage, with respect for every type of student experience. AFIS is well known in Victoria for its programs and activities. Being a not-for-profit organisation, AFIS relies on the support of its community partners.
Campus-based and nation-based student groups
A number of campus based student groups and national based associations represent student groups. They are sometimes located through institutional websites, or information through student peak bodies.
MELD Magazine is produced by students for students. It was incorporated as an independent not-for-profit media outlet in September 2008. It provides students the opportunity to gain work experience in writing and production.
The Melbourne International Student Conference (MISC) is an annual event initiated in 2014. It brings together local and international students, as well as industry and government agencies, to learn, exchange ideas, innovate and collaborate. It aims to support young people in their personal and professional development. The MELD Community collaborates with the City of Melbourne to organise the conference and other events, including a student leadership program.
As diversity becomes more central to the discussion of support for international students, in Melbourne, an LGBTIQ+ group for international students is helping provide a support network for those far away from home. See this article from SBS.