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Joel Mayer | ijoelmayer
Joel Mayer is an Australian freelance writer and blogger. He writes professionally and for fun across a wide range of niches. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with others and writer company reviews.
2 years ago

Survival Tips for International Students in Australia

Sep 4th 2014 at 1:31 AM

study abroad

Relocating to Australia to study, or to any foreign country for that matter, can be very intimidating, specially if you’re on your own. You are away from the comforts of home, family and friends and from everything that is familiar to you. Your destination is totally alien to you - the environs, the culture, the people and more. Most, if not all, international students experience what is known as culture shock during the first few weeks after their arrival in a new country. Some symptoms of culture shock include an extreme feeling of being homesick; feeling listless, tired, sad, irritable and sometimes angry; suffering from an upset stomach; and having problems sleeping. But all these feelings will abate and totally vanish through time when you become more acclimatized to the new country.

How to survive in Australia as an international student

Studying in Australia can be a fabulously rewarding, rich and an eye-opening experience. However, it will need a lot of adjustments and getting used to. With these survival tips, hopefully, your adjustment to the Australian way of life - its education system, culture and people will be easy and seamless to the extent that you can call Australia your home away from home after only a short period of time.

· Check and modify expectations

Know and understand what is expected of you as a student in the classroom, in the university and in your new community. Australian universities and education providers have international student service officers who are there to offer social, academic and personal support services to international students. All you need to do is to approach them and ask what you want to know. In addition, most universities also have Student Centres and Counselling Centres that you can get advise from.

You too may need to modify your own expectations. If you’re not performing as well as you used to in your home school initially, don’t get discouraged.  Give yourself time to become adjusted to your new school’s teaching and instruction system.

· Make friends on campus

make friends

All schools and universities have an orientation day/week that takes place usually in the week before the start of classes for every semester. This will be a good time to make friends with fellow students - local or fellow overseas students - who may be as anxious as you are about embarking in a new phase of their life. Having people to chat with and who can become a  support group will go a long way in helping you survive the early days, weeks and months in a new surrounding.

· Learn and appreciate the Australian educational standards and practices

Understand that the educational standards, mores and practices in your home country are not necessarily the same as that in Australia. A lack of appreciation of these differences can cause problems for you. These differences could be:

§ The responsibilities and function of students and lecturers.

§ The proficiency required for assessment tasks as well as to complete your studies

§ The technique applied in presenting argumentation and data as well as organizing facts in writing essays, thesis or reports.


Australia has a multi-cultural society and is the home of cheerful, friendly, and open-minded people. In Australia, you will not only earn a globally recognized degree from some of the top universities in the world but you will also gain a wealth of experience that you wil never learn inside a classroom while you are having a grand time.

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