While thousands of Schoolies flocked to Surfers Paradise to celebrate the end of Year 12, down at Coolangatta five international students from Nepal have celebrated their very first experience of the beach.
Sneha Gupta and her friends may be more accustomed to snow-capped mountain vistas, but all agree they’ll be making the most of our Gold Coast beaches during their time as international students at Southern Cross University.
“It’s so beautiful and so blue,” said Sneha. “I can’t wait to spend more time at the beach. It’s such a difference from Nepal.”
The Nepalese group joined about 40 international students who took part in the launch of Southern Cross University’s 2019-20 Hit the Beach surf safety program.
Supported by Study Gold Coast and Bupa, and with training by Surf Life Saving Queensland, the program is especially valuable for international students, many of whom are unused to beach and surf conditions.
Japanese student Nana Sawai described herself as a 'so-so swimmer' eager to improve her skills and confidence, a message repeated by many others.
Previous participants Davina Yang (China), Siva Mudunura (India) and Dave Okine (Japan) were also on hand to encourage their international colleagues.
Deputy Vice Chancellor (Students) at Southern Cross University, Professor Nan Bahr, said the Hit the Beach program provided water safety leadership that connected with many students.
“We want people to study in Australia and we want them to make the most of our beaches when they are here, hence the importance of programs like this.”
CEO of Study Gold Coast, Mr Alfred Slogrove, said beach awareness and safety were vital for the city’s international students.
“We are welcoming students from all over the world, many from countries where the beach and surf are not part of their cultures,” he said.
The next Hit the Beach session will be held at Southport on 28 November.
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