Looking to capitalise on opposition to the anti-immigration rhetoric from the US president, the campaign provides students’ stories of their experiences studying in Melbourne and Victoria, joining the likes of the US’ #YouAreWelcomeHere and the UK’s #WeAreInternational.
“In Victoria, multiculturalism is not a dirty word; it’s not something that we should be embarrassed by,” minister for small business, innovation and trade Philip Dalidakis said.
“In Victoria, multiculturalism is not a dirty word; it’s not something that we should be embarrassed by”
Speaking with The PIE News, Dalidakis said the campaign had been “counter-influenced” by the language and rhetoric used by Trump at the time of his ascendancy to president.
“[I went to my team and asked] what can we do to separate ourselves in Victoria from the messaging that has been sent out by the then president-elect of the United States?”
While Dalidakis said the campaign sought to reassure prospective students that they were welcome within Victoria and alleviate any possible concerns their parents might have, he was also clear about the commercial intentions behind it.
“At the end of the day… we still compete in market with Canada, the US, the UK, and other developed Western countries,” he said.
He added competition with other countries led to the choice of highlighting just Melbourne, as market research indicated most students associated Victoria with the Canadian province.
Moving forward, Dalidakis said the government would be working on increasing the opportunities for Victorian institutions to partner with providers overseas.
“We can obviously only attract a small proportion of international students that come from a suitably wealthy socioeconomic background that enables to not just travel but live here. We’re trying to partner with local institutions,” he said.
International education represents Victoria’s highest export services and currently hosts 175,000 international students, 30% of Australia’s total international student population.