How Brunswick Hockey Club is helping international students connect over sport

By Our Reporter

Brunswick Hockey—Hockey Victoria’s reigning Community Club of the Year—has developed an International Students’ Social Hockey programme as part of its 2020 community outreach. The programme will be launched on Monday, 2 March, to coincide with the beginning of the academic year.

Each Monday over a six week period, international students are welcome to attend free social hockey sessions at the Brunswick pitch, run by our youth volunteers.

“The Club decided we wanted to do something fun to help international students make friends and get to know some locals,” said Dean Paatsch, a Brunswick Hockey Committee member said.

Through the direct experience of a young Indian player, the Brunswick Club reflected on the struggles of many international students, who are lamentably over-represented in mental health and suicide statistics. The programme was developed to help combat isolation and make friendships and community connections.

The evenings are targeted toward the more than 25,000 Indian students enrolled in the Melbourne CBD, but are open to all. IDP Education (the largest education agent in Australia), Hockey Victoria and the City of Moreland are sponsoring our efforts. With the onset of the Corona virus, Indian students in Melbourne are an increasingly important group. “What better way to get to know Australia than through hockey? It’s the national sport of India and a common language between us,” Mr Paatsch said.

The Club provides all equipment, specialist coaching for new starters, fun activities and finishes the evening with a plate of curry and a chance to chat with new friends and local club members. No charge is made, however students must register online at


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