As an international student, it’s not uncommon to feel a little isolated on campus. Luckily, there are a number of people you can talk to and services you can visit if you need some help or advice, whether it’s about your course, finances, career opportunities or personal matters.
- Academic assistance services: Your institution will provide a number of academic assistance services, with many specifically designed for international students. Look for events in the first few weeks of semester, such as workshops on research skills, academic referencing and using the library. You will also be able to access English language services, where advisers will help you if you are experiencing difficulties with your studies due to English being your second language.
- Accommodation advisers: If you have any questions about organising accommodation, moving into a different property or dealing with a tenancy dispute, contact your institution’s accommodation advisers. Your institution may also have an accommodation database on its website or noticeboards where students can post information about properties or spare rooms for rent.
- Career advisers: For students looking for information about career options, the campus career adviser is the first person to speak to. They will offer general advice about working in Australia but will also help you if you need to organise work experience as part of your course or want to begin a Professional Year Program (PYP) after graduation. They usually run workshops to assist students in preparing a résumé or developing interview and workplace skills.
- Chaplains and religious services: Your institution may have a chaplain on campus, whose role it is to provide spiritual support and pastoral care to students of all religions and backgrounds. You will also have access to various religious services, including student groups and prayer rooms.
- Counsellors: If you are feeling homesick or struggling to adjust to life in Australia, your institution will provide access to qualified and experienced counsellors who can give free and confidential advice on any personal problem you may have. Many institutions also run peer support programs that see students paired up with a ‘buddy’ who can help them settle into their course.
- Course coordinator: Your course coordinator is the person to go to for anything to do with your course. You can ask them for advice about dropping or changing subjects, selecting a course specialisation or making adjustments to your timetable. They can also refer you to a specific support service available on campus, such as an academic adviser or tutor.
- Financial advisers: Financial advisers will be able to offer advice and assist you with any financial questions you may have. This includes information about scholarships available to international students, as well as advice about working in Australia, completing a tax return and living on a student budget.
- Healthcare services: Your institution may have healthcare facilities on campus, which means that you can book an appointment with a doctor, nurse or dentist. Depending on your institution, you may also have access to specialists such as dietitians and alternative medicine practitioners, such as aromatherapists. If these services are not available, you will find a medical centre close to campus (especially if you are studying or live close to the city centre). Your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) covers visits to the doctor, as well as ambulance trips, some hospital treatments and medicines.
- Lecturers and tutors: If you have questions about a subject you are studying, such as lecture content or an assessment outline, you can get help from your lecturer or tutor. They are the best people to talk to as they have the most knowledge about the subject. They may also be able to give you advice if you want to improve your marks. You can speak to them after class, arrange an appointment or send them an email. If you have a question while in class, don’t hesitate to ask — it’s likely that another student was wondering the same thing but was too shy to ask!