AFIS is an award winning organisation that was established in 2002 by a group of enthusiastic students, both domestic students and international students. The initial aim was to provide international students with a chance to experience the full benefits of what Australia has to offer in the wider community. One of the ways was to ensure that funds and grants that were out of reach to the international students community can be accessible.
In the words of the Founding President Henry Chiang “These students do not receive direct benefits or support from the Australian government because they are not ‘Aussies’, but yet they live here and consume here. They’re not familiar with the Australian culture, and yet they are not given the support by the government and they are not looked after properly – hence the problems they have, which may lead to crime, degrading the environment we have in Australia. This is why we need AFIS. To assist students to find the group they belong to and allow them to be part of the community.”
During early years, AFIS worked with Clubs and Societies and assisted them to help their international students. In 2004, we developed the multimedia and radio projects which provided a platform for international students to express their views in various art form, and attracted many students to volunteer and participate.
The number of international students studying in Australia started to increase at exponential rate since 2005. In 2006, AFIS saw the increased need of international students and started to plan for a direct services arm to help international students directly. This was established in 2007 when the position of Executive Office was realised with the generous support of WorldCare OSHC. Also in the year, AFIS also expanded to Sydney and Brisbane, establishing a committee in two other major cities.
AFIS now continue to evolve and adapting to the complex environment that continue to change, and trying very hard to meet the needs and supports of international students.