It may be difficult to adjust to your new city or settle into life on campus when you arrive in Australia, and this is especially challenging if you are leaving your home country for the first time. Before you begin your Australian course, read through our top tips for a successful and enjoyable study experience.
1. Make new friends
One of the best ways to overcome the challenges of life in a new country is to make friends. You can make friends in your classes, by joining a club on campus (see below) or by getting a part-time or casual job. Don’t be afraid to say hello to your classmates or start up a conversation — many will be new students like yourself and just as eager to make a new friend. Look out for parties and orientation activities at the beginning of the semester, as these provide a great opportunity to meet people from your course as well as other faculties.
2. Get involved on campus and take advantage of facilities and resources
Getting involved on campus is a great way to settle into your life in Australia. Whether your interests are in animal protection, archery, chess, event planning, lacrosse or politics, there’s likely to be an option that suits your needs. If your institution doesn’t offer a particular club, why not start your own? See Extracurricular activities for international students or visit your institution’s website for more information. There are also many facilities and resources on campus, some specifically for international students. At large university campuses, you can expect to find everything from cafés and restaurants, libraries and student lounges to sports fields, cinemas and healthcare facilities. Support services range from academic and English language assistance to legal and financial advice. Your institution will usually run a range of seminars at the beginning of each semester, helping students with skills such as academic writing and using the library’s resources.
3. Explore Australia
Whether you’re in Australia for one semester or your whole program, make time to explore your new home. Each Australian city is famous in its own way — Melbourne, for instance, is known for its café culture and iconic laneways, while Sydney draws visitors for its bustling nightlife and beaches. Once you’ve explored your city, it’s time to see the rest of Australia. There are so many different destinations to visit, from Sydney’s Opera House and Harbour Bridge to Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef and the unique desert landscape of Central Australia and the Northern Territory. You can get started by reading about Australia’s regions. You can usually find cheap student deals online or by visiting a travel agency (some offer discounted deals for students, such as STA Travel and Student Flights).
4. Sample the local food options
Although it can be tempting to stick to your home country’s cuisine, you won’t regret trying some of the other options available. Australia is a very multicultural country, so you can expect to find just about every nation’s food on restaurant menus. Whether you’re in the centre of the city or the suburbs, you will find everything from Chinese, Korean and Japanese to Greek, Italian and Turkish. You will also be able to visit special grocery stores that sell your favourite foods from home (large supermarkets may also have dedicated aisles, particularly for Asian cuisines). If you visit central and northern parts of Australia, you may have the opportunity to try the traditional foods of the Australian Indigenous people, such as witchetty grubs.
5. Make an effort to do well in your course
When you’re studying overseas, it can be easy to forget that you’re there to gain a qualification rather than to stay out partying with your friends. It can also be difficult to achieve top marks while you are settling into your new life and a different academic system, or dealing with homesickness. Luckily, there are ways to get around these difficulties, such as by being organised, finding a balance between study and social activities, and staying fit and healthy. See Five tips for doing well in your course for more information.