What did you get up to this summer? Here at the MGA, we hosted a Social Summer Bubble program that was a great success!
The program was designed to help connect graduate students who missed out on a year of socialising due to the pandemic: students who arrived in Australia at the beginning of 2020 and missed the chance to make connections with other students before lockdown; those who spent the holiday season without family due to the border closures; or adventurous students who simply wanted to make some new friends over the summer holidays.
As Monash PhD student and participant Houdaii H. ElHoussaini said, “The MGA bubble program really came to me at the right time, as the holidays were coming and I couldn’t get back home to see my family and friends due to COVID-19. I was so anxious from being alone at that time and was struggling with my homesickness. It made it easy for me to meet new people who are most likely struggling with the same issues I have, and to have some fun being out and about.”
Clearly we hit a nerve, because the program attracted over 100 participants! The students were put in one of 12 Social Bubble groups hosted by 15 amazing MGA volunteers. Over four weeks of summer, these groups spent time together connecting over coffee, picnics and outings, all subsidised by the MGA.
Becca Xie, an MGA volunteer group leader, reported that “every meetup lasted much longer than planned as they were heaps of fun, and we all met some amazing people who we want to keep in touch with. This was my first volunteering experience at Monash, and I will definitely do it again!”
Another volunteer, Amir Rahimi, said, “It was such a priceless experience and pleasure for me to be a team leader. I feel blessed when I see my team members are in touch with me and other members.”
The MGA would like to give a big shout-out to our volunteer team leaders who ran the Social Bubble groups: Karuna Balasubramanian, Wendy Au, Agnieszka Wesolowska, Thivyananth Sathyamoorthy, Amir Rahimi, Becca Xie, Prapti Agrawal, Ashish Nair, Olivia Ka Yan Au, Atsede Aregay, Roshan Zachariah, Lodi L’hote, Chrystal Chaim, Anushka Massay and Adheer Koul. You all did a great job organising and coordinating the meetups and facilitating the groups.