BUiLD successfully launched the Community Connections Cruise last December, with 170 students enjoying a night out on Sydney Harbour, promoting cultural diversity, student participation and Sydney lifestyle and tourism.
The cruise, targeted at international students, who represented 75% of students on board, acted as a promotional opportunity for Community Connections, officially launching the Airport Lounge and Link in January 2012.
The first cruise, running in celebration of Christmas provided international students with the opportunity to have a free night out where they could celebrate Christmas with other UTS students and see some of Australia’s icons up close from the harbour (Sydney Harbour Bridge & Sydney Opera House). At a time that is often quite lonely for international students who are studying in Australia without their family, it provided a fun and safe atmosphere for students to meet with other local and international students and share in the Christmas spirit.
The dress theme of the cruise was ‘International Costume’ and provided students with an opportunity to express their national identity, or dress in a costume of a country they hope to travel to. This theme promoted UTS’ cultural diversity throughout the night – with various prizes awarded to the best dressed, most cultural costume and most creative display of culture. Students agreed after the cruise that this theme made them even more comfortable coming along to an event where they didn’t know anyone as they felt comfortable in their national dress.
Friendly members of the Community Connections street team and the BUiLD Student Society (local students) networked with international students throughout the evening, making it a comfortable, welcoming and fun environment.
A lot of positive feedback was received from the evening, including one student from India saying;
“Before the Christmas Cruise I had really struggled to make friends and meet people at UTS, but I’ve now met a whole group of people who I’ve organised to spend time with over the summer break. I don’t feel as lonely anymore!”
A second cruise was held in celebration of Easter on 5th April 2012, and again provided International Students with the opportunity to experience the Harbour. The new International Students Facebook page launched a competition for students to win tickets – asking participants to say why they love Sydney Harbour and want to experience it by boat! 50 lucky students were selected and received a beautiful night out.
To add a bit of fun and games to the evening, the theme was ‘1920s’ – seeing students dress as gangsters and flappers. Games on board versed local students against international students, and again the cruise was praised for providing a fun and relaxed atmosphere to meet other students!