If you’re an international student based in Melbourne, then the chances are you’ve heard of Carlton Football Club’s New Blue program. The program focuses on encouraging social inclusion amongst Melbourne’s newly arrived students, by getting them involved in a sport that’s uniquely Australian.
In 2014 alone, New Blue has seen more than 1500 international students attend an AFL game for the very first time. The program has also seen some of the students treated to an exclusive tour of Visy Park, where they were introduced to Carlton’s elite training facilities.
In Round 18, the AFL's Multicultural Round, students were given the opportunity to form a guard of honour and cheer on the players as they ran up the race before the Blues' 28-point win over North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.
The City of Melbourne’s International Student and Youth Project Officer Gary Lee says the New Blue program has been a fantastic opportunity for overseas students to involve themselves in a truly Australian pastime.
“In August, more than 70 international students visited the Carlton Football Club at Visy Park to learn the basics of Australian Football – the quirks, the culture and the passion,” Lee said.
“Many of these students were new to Melbourne and AFL was a foreign sport to them, but they quickly became engaged with the presentations and activities at the Club.
“Students had the opportunity to tour the training ground and had a chance to kick on the oval. All of them took up the offer for a free ticket to watch a game the following week.
“Thank you to the Carlton Football Club for hosting our new students."
For more information on Carlton's New Blue program call 1300 CARLTON.