IT’S MORE THAN JUST A COFFEE BUZZ..How a weekly, on campus, pop-up Cafe for International students changed the student experience and created a true sense of community and connectedness.

Mrs Louise Myers1, Mr Alex Salvador1

1James Cook University, Townsville, Australia

The ISB Survey identified the need for international students to have more opportunities to engage, on a regular basis, with both International and Australian students outside the academic environment.  This led JCU International Student Support team to establish “Cafe International”.  It’s an informal event that has become one of the much-anticipated cultural and social activities at JCU. Cafe International is a social event that brings students together and promotes a sense of belonging. The friendships formed during Cafe International are long lasting and have wider repercussions including increased student well-being and increased student retention.


Louise Myers, Manager International Student Support at JCU

Louise Myers is the Manager of the International Student Support team at James Cook University in Cairns and Townsville.  She oversees the support services to more than 1,800 international students from over 100 different countries. With a Bachelor of International Business and a teaching qualification, Louise is uniquely qualified to understand the needs of international students.  She spent many years as a teacher in the Torres Strait Islands and in North Queensland before transitioning to the tertiary sector in 2013.

Louise established JCU’s highly successful PASS program and was Resident Director for International Study Abroad Students in Townsville before commencing in her current role working with Team Awesome.

With three children, two dogs, two cats, and a firefighting husband, Louise is kept busy both on and off campus.  When she’s not organising cook-ups with students or dealing with their day-to-day issues, you can find her with a nice glass of wine and a good book.

Alex Salvador, International Sponsored Student Advisor at JCU

Quiet by day (mostly), quite loud at night – literally!  Alex plays African and Brazilian drums and is a little bit like the Pied Piper, as he really knows how to attract a crowd.  Never one to shy away from the spotlight, Alex is often referred to as ‘the life of the party’, both at work and at home.

Alex has 25 years of experience working with people from all over the world.  In the early years, he worked with migrants and refugees assisting them settling into life in Townsville.  However, since his late 20’s Alex has worked at JCU with international students and so it appears he really does love his job.

He has an uncanny knack for remembering names and will remember yours, so you’d better remember his.  Another hidden talent is his ability to pronounce foreign names like a true native speaker.  Oh and then there is coffee, Alex loves coffee.


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