University offers international students helping hand

The University of Southern Queensland is set to distribute thousands of FareShare meals to international students, as a means of support throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

MBA Springfield student Savindya Bandaranayake from Sir Lanka said she was thrilled to receive one of the FareShare meals.

"I got the pack and it's really good and with everything that's going on at the moment with COVID-19 it's one of the best things to happen lately," she said.

Mrs Bandaranayake said since settling in Australia to study she has found it very hard to find employment but said the university had been doing everything they could to support her.

"We just arrived with COVID-19 - it was a very big shock," she said.

"They've given us $500 a fortnight which helps me cover some expenses.

"So far I'm okay until I find a good job - I'm currently struggling to pay the next semester."

USQ Springfield MBA student Savindya Bandaranayake
USQ Springfield MBA student Savindya Bandaranayake

Director of the University's Student Life Peter Munster said many international students were unable to return home and had suffered due to loss of employment.

"In the first week of the program we've received over 1000 donated meals, which will be shared between 250 students," Mr Munster said.

The meals will be prepared by a skilled brigade of chefs and provided free to students affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic each week.

"We have supported our University community in several ways during this challenging time, including the $5.2 million Student Support Package to help with everything from living expenses to education supplies," Mr Munster said.

The FareShare meal support initiative will see over 20,000 meals cooked and distributed across the greater southeast Queensland region to support students from 160 countries.