Looking after your wellbeing as a student
Moving to Australia to study can be extremely exciting! You may encounter a new culture, make new friends and be studying something that excites you. However, studying can also come with its challenges: homesickness, juggling work and assignments and managing your mental health. Whether you’ve just arrived and are settling in or are a couple of few years into your course, there are certain areas of your life to keep in check to ensure your overall wellbeing is at its best.
You will be exposed to many new people at university, from tutors and lecturers to fellow students, and develop connections that may well extend beyond your days on campus. Whether new or established, the people in your life can have a profound impact on your mental health.
Make a point of maintaining your relationships with friends and family back home no matter how tricky the time difference is — they form the basis for your support network.
There are many costs associated with a university education aside from the obvious tuition fees, and textbooks. Depending on where you live, the cost of living will vary for things like rent, bills, transport and sometimes groceries.
Staying on top of your finances is key, as failure to do so can cause significant stress at a time when earning substantial money in a hurry is challenging. Being fiscally savvy and sticking to a budget is a good strategy for avoiding these types of scenarios.
Finding a balance
Outside of all the socialising that university entails, you need to make time for study — it’s easy to fall behind while you’re still making the adjustment to a new life. Equally, you need to factor in employment – many students take up part-time jobs to make ends meet, and striking the balance between work, study and time for yourself is key to maintaining a good state of mind.
Staying active is an easy way to boost your mood and relieve stress. Playing a team sport, working out at the gym or just going for a jog will be a big help for your general health and can help improve your self-esteem and confidence.
With such a big change in moving countries and starting a course, how you view yourself may change at university, and if that shift is negative you can be in for a tough time. Surrounding yourself with people you love and respect is ideal in these scenarios, as having someone to speak to is integral to your overall wellbeing.
Mental health issues can be amplified in the university environment, especially for first-year students.
If you find yourself struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help. Your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) covers visits to a general practitioner, which should be your first step to getting help.
For crisis support, suicide prevention and mental health support services across Australia, call Lifeline on 131 114.