Nearly 300,000 international students are enrolled atAustralian universities, making up 24.3 per cent of the total. While this is asignificant proportion, students from overseas are still outnumbered three toone and as a minority, may find it difficult adjusting to some aspects ofAustralian life.
Whether social, academic or emotional, there are variousissues that may affect an international student but that doesn’t mean therearen’t ways to overcome these problems.
It isn’t uncommon for foreign students to struggle withcoursework because English is not their native language. This can make it toughnot only to take advantage of lectures and tutorials but to participate ingeneral small talk.
Universities in Australia tend to be well-serviced when itcomes to language support programs and there is also ample opportunity toimprove your English by merely interacting with members of the local community.
The first day of university is daunting enough for anyone,let alone if you are from another country. However, it is worth rememberingthat while you might be outnumbered by local students, they will all be feelingjust as nervous.
Simply saying hello to the person next to you might not seemlike a big deal but it is likely they will appreciate the gesture andreciprocate. Joining a sporting club or student society is another great way tosocialise.
All cultures are different and adjusting to a newenvironment can be confronting. Australian slang is often difficult tointerpret, with terms like “ta” (thank you) and “lingo” (language orterminology) tending to puzzle newcomers.
While a firm handshake is common practice around Australia,someone from Thailand would be used to placing their hands together and bowing.Asking locals about social norms or doing some research on the internet canboth yield helpful information.
It is natural to miss home and when that place is across theother side of the world, it’s hardly surprising. While many internationalstudents move to Australia with their family, they are still leaving theircomfort zone and the adjustment can be tricky.
Most universities have groups or clubs dedicated to studentsfrom specific countries, which can be an excellent way of alleviating feelingsof isolation or loneliness. Embracing different aspects of life in Australia isa great remedy too.
Even after you’ve conquered all the social aspectsassociated with moving overseas, there is the academic side of things. It canbe easy to fall behind, especially if you have plenty going on outside of theclassroom.
Help is available in various formats, ranging fromadditional tutoring and study groups to managing your time outside ofuniversity more efficiently. If this doesn’t seem to be working, speak withyour lecturer or tutor about how best to proceed.