Australian universities are home to thousands of international students, so it should be apparent that their needs shouldn’t be overlooked. Adjusting to certain aspects of Australian life can be quite difficult for some international students, and when there isn’t a good support network it can result in some unpleasant difficulties, with great potential for study to also be affected. Some of these challenges are more common than others, however, so in this article we take a look at a few to give you a better understanding of how to address them for yourself or for someone else you know.
Meeting new people at university
Although it might seem easy for someone to meet people at their uSyd accommodation, it’s often the case that connection is much harder than it seems for some, particularly if they’re from another country. Although it might be nerve wracking, saying hello to people in your classes can lead to some very pleasant and open discussions and friendships, and although it might not always result in a long-lasting bond, even small social interactions can help people through their studies. If you’re interested in making more friends, it’s also a good idea to join any clubs that you might be interested in at your university. This way you can meet a lot of like-minded people and kick off some valuable friendships. Looking to the support services of a university is also a great idea for people who are experiencing language barriers, particularly if they want to socialise but their grasp on the English language prevents it. Learning a new language can be tough, but universities often provide language support programs that can help you along, and you have the considerable advantage of practicing your new language skills on classmates!
Adjusting to a new life
Studying in a different country provides more than language difficulties – there are a considerable number of different cultural and social adjustments you need to grapple with, many of which might not make sense. Although it might feel a bit awkward, asking people at university more about social norms in Australia will typically be welcomed, and you’ll be able to get all the inside information from a local. It’s also not uncommon for international students to miss their culture back home, though, and although this might not be able to be overcome completely by some, there are many ways to adjust. If you make new friends from your home country you can have someone to talk to about the things you miss, and it’s also helpful to help decorate your accommodation up to remind you of your space at home, which can go a long way to help lift the feeling of homesickness.
Managing study while managing a new culture
With all this effort expended in making your new country feel a bit more like home, it’s easy to see how study can become less of a priority. If you find that you’re struggling, your university will once again have a considerable number of resources at your disposal, such as additional tutoring and study groups. It’s also a good idea to reach out to people in your classes, as you can work to study with them – which will also be a bit of a social occasion!