15 September 2023, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – The Philippine Consulate General in Melbourne organized its third Post Arrival Orientation Seminar (PAOS) for Filipino students. Over eighty (80) Filipino students attended the Seminar.

The seminar’s objective was to equip Filipino students in Victoria with practical advice and information about living and studying in Australia. The seminar touched upon topics that are crucial for international students, such as resources available, health and safety protocols, workplace rights, legal services, and networking with other students and community groups.

Philippine Consul General Maria Lourdes M. Salcedo opened the PAOS with a short message acknowledging the importance of education among Filipinos, Australia’s international education as the fourth largest export industry contributing AUD$26.6 billion in the last financial year, and the substantial presence of Filipino students in Victoria. She emphasized the importance of being well-informed, including of their rights and privileges, what resources are available and how to avail of assistance.

The Filipino-Australian Student Council of Victoria (FASTCO) had its representatives, Mr. Remart Dumlao and Mr. Reymond Pepito, discuss the organization’s ongoing and future initiatives, emphasizing academic collaborations and leadership opportunities.

Study Melbourne’s Ms. Joanne Holl highlighted the city’s various programs tailored for international students. These initiatives aim to make students’ experience more positive, integrating them into the Victorian community, and offering support wherever required. Kimberly Clemencio, former Filipino international student and Education Ambassador of the City Council’s Study Melbourne, shared her experiences.

The Consulate General’s services for Filipinos overseas were outlined by Consul Jan Sherwin Wenceslao. He further emphasized the significance of registering for overseas absentee voting for the upcoming Philippine National and Location Elections in 2025.

Dr. Alfred Presbitero from the Australia-Philippines Business Council (APBC) and Deakin Business School provided valuable insights into skillsets that are in demand in Victoria’s business landscape, emphasizing the need for cultural intelligence in the professional setting.

Ms. Florence Macusi Dato from the Migrant Workers Centre (MWC) enlightened participants on Australia’s labor and employment standards. Notably, she informed that from 01 July 2023, international students can work up to 48 hours  a fortnight.

Whittlesea Community Connections, led by principal lawyer Mr. Chris Howse, joined by Filipino lawyers Mr. Moses Florendo and Ms. Michelle Martinez, offered insights into Australian laws as they apply to international students, spanning topics from housing and employment to handling unwanted behaviors as well as dealing with police and law enforcement.

A networking merienda was also held, featuring Café Kusina, a new Filipino restaurant. Feedback from participants was positive, with many expressing anticipation for future events organized by the Consulate General.

The Philippine Consulate General in Melbourne remains steadfast in its commitment to Filipino international students across Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia. The Philippines is the 5th highest source of international students in Australia in 2023, with 6,485 students in Victoria alone, according to the Australian Department of Education.


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