They played football and even took part in some beauty sessions.
But the 85 or so students from refugee backgrounds also learned about things that really matter, during the 13th running of the Illawarra Multicultural Youth Conference on June 29.
Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra youth and community manager Allyson Pazos said the event at Five Islands Secondary College in Port Kembla aimed to address the needs as well as skills and learning gaps of the newly arrived students.
“We had a workshop called resilience building and goal-setting,” she said.
“Another one called Money-Minded provided the students with some skills and knowledge around how to budget, how to not fall into contracts that are not reasonable for young people, how to avoid scams and how to save money.
“We also had workshops on the law and one on safety delivered by Wollongong Police.
“But perhaps the most powerful, was one called ‘How to Survive School and beyond’, which was delivered by former refugees. Now in their 20’s, they talked about their journey and how they achieved their goals.”
The six participating high schools were Figtree, Keira, Wollongong, Illawarra Sport and both Warrawong HS and its IEC.
Led by MCCI, the conference was supported by the NSW Department of Education, Port Kembla Youth Project, Wollongong City Council and Wollongong Youth Services.
The Illawarra Legal Centre, The Smith Family, Football South Coast and Wollongong Police also helped to ensure the conference funded by Multicultural NSW, was “a rousing success”.