If you’re a new student starting a course in Australia this year, you may be worried about settling into your studies. It could be that you’re not a native English speaker, that you’re used to a different teaching style or that you’re anxious about living away from your friends and family. Our tip is to embrace your time abroad and get involved in activities outside of your course — from joining students clubs and meeting new friends to organising holiday trips around the country. If you’re not sure where to start, keep reading for a few suggestions.
Seek out hobby and interest groups
Your institution will have many different hobby groups on campus. You’ll find cinema and television appreciation groups, societies for chocolate lovers, book clubs, student publications and more. There will also be many opportunities to play sport — especially local favourites such as Australian Rules Football (AFL), rugby and cricket! If you can’t find a group for your specific hobby or interest, speak to a student adviser about organising a club of your own.
Join an international student society
Institutions usually have special international student groups that give you the chance to socialise with other students from abroad. This is a great opportunity to meet new people, share your experiences of living in Australia and even meet some people from your home country. You will also find many religious groups on campus. Australia does not have a national religion, which means that Australians are free to worship any religion they choose. All religions are accepted, with places of worship found throughout cities and special services on campus such as prayer rooms and special food options.
Look out for student leadership opportunities
There are many leadership opportunities available on campus, which will help you settle in quickly. You might join the Student Representative Council (SRC) or become a student ambassador, or even get involved in one of the ‘buddy’ or mentoring programs later in your course to help a new student ease into their studies. Universities also hold student elections to vote in members of the student council, where students are elected to positions such as president and represent the student cohort on matters relevant to campus life.
Get involved in event committees
One of the greatest parts of being a student is surely the social aspect, including the many events and parties that will be held on and off campus.The best way to get involved is to be part of the process — organising the events, making new friends and getting some valuable work experience. At O-Week (Orientation Week), make sure you speak to student advisers to see how you can sign up to these committees. You might be able to help out with organising next year’s O-Week festivities, a faculty ball or regular on-campus events such as student barbeques.
Investigate travel opportunities
Australia has some of the most unique and beautiful travel destinations in the world, and what better time is there to travel than as a student? In Australia, academic semesters are generally only 12 to 14 weeks long, which leaves plenty of time for travel during the holidays. Flights between Australian cities are readily available, with airlines to suit all budgets. If you need advice about where to go, visit your institution’s student services team. They will be able to give you some information about your options, including transport, accommodation and tours.