Cairns Student Hub launches Rainbow Hub

22nd October 2020

Soobin Jung

Study Cairns and Cairns Student Hub are proud to announce the launch of its new Rainbow Hub Monday October 26th at 4pm.

Based at the Cairns Student Hub on Lake Street, the Rainbow Hub will cater for the international LGTBIQA+ student community. The launch event will feature speakers, entertainment and an opportunity for students to learn more about what the Cairns Rainbow Hub is and its intended functions.

Travel and study abroad expands one’s horizons, but not only that, it makes you reflect on who you are as a person. Part of this self-discovery is sexuality.

“I think LGBTI+ international students in Australia are having double or even multiple barriers and challenges to overcome – not just language/cultural barriers or gender identity issues, but more. For example, queer international students from some countries are afraid of being part of their own ethnic community in Australia because of the community’s homophobic culture, and it makes them totally isolated from either Australia or their own. Because of the language barrier, they are not well-informed of or do not know how access to the local support services and (sexual) health information as much as local queer people do”, says Soobin Jung, a Korean student at James Cook University from Korea (pictured).

“Every day we are challenging ourselves and adjusting ourselves in a foreign country with no direct support from family and old friends. For queer international students, sometimes, we feel we are part of at least one community – queer or international students – but after a while, we begin to feel we don’t completely belong to either community”, says Jung.

Jung visited Cairns Student Hub to discuss becoming a mentor for other international LGTBIQA+ students in Cairns. Cairns Student Hub coordinator Gaby Thomasz seized the opportunity and offered him more.

“I’ve been wanting to bring the concept of a Rainbow Hub to Cairns for some time. I had been following the Brisbane Rainbow Hub on social media, and felt it was something we should have in Cairns also. When Soobin, a Masters of Social Work student, came in, I felt this was the right time and he’d be the right person to lead this”, she said. “Fortunately, Soobin accepted the offer and was keen to be involved”, says Thomasz.

The Rainbow Hub will have its base at Cairns Student Hub on Lake Street and initially meet twice a month. The meetings will be held at 6pm in a private section of the Hub, so students can feel safe. From there they will explore the needs of students and what activities to undertake.

“This will be a chance to meet like-minded people that have similar issues and experiences. It is important to promote an inclusive society, especially in the international student community. There is a need for international students to have a place to sit back and relax, reflect and find oneself with appropriate support. I hope the Rainbow Hub in Cairns will be that space for international students, including myself”, Jung says.

Study Cairns President, Janine Bowmaker states “Study Cairns’ mission is to promote Cairns as a world-class study destination that is safe and welcoming of all international students. Following our successful #CairnsCairns initiative throughout COVID-19, creating such an environment for LGTBIQA+ students through the Rainbow Hub and associated support programs is an exciting and positive addition to our Hub offerings”.

The Rainbow Hub launch is part of the annual Cairns Pride Festival, which is held over two weeks, from 16 October until 1 November. The opening is on Monday 26 October at 4pm, with formalities commencing at 4.30pm.

To register your attendance, please click here. 

For more information contact Gaby Thomasz, Cairns Student Hub, or 0459 256 420.

Do you want to volunteer?

The Student Hub welcomes students who want to help by volunteering their time and skills to assist other students. We’re also developing an exciting Internship Program and are happy to assist with finding an internship or volunteer position for you.


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