Are you about to start studying in Australia? If you’re feeling a little nervous, don’t worry — Orientation Week (commonly referred to as O-Week) is a celebration held for students from Australia and overseas who are beginning their studies. It is held the week before classes start and will help you settle in, make new friends and find out everything you need to know about your course and institution.
- Get familiar with the campus: O-Week gives you the opportunity to familiarise yourself with the campus before classes start to ensure that you don’t get lost in your first week. Campus tours and fun activities like ‘scavenger hunts’ are usually planned to give you the chance to explore the entire campus and its surrounds. We recommend that you check out the library and other study spaces; the buildings where you will spend most of your time studying; the student administration centre for your faculty; good spots to eat, drink and relax; sporting facilities; and the location of any student support services you think you may need to use throughout the year.
- Meet new friends: During O-Week you will get the opportunity to meet a lot of new people and form great friendships, some of which may last a lifetime. The best part is that everyone is just beginning their course and is in the same situation as you. You will usually be assigned to a smaller group of students from your course for O-Week activities and may also be paired up with an older student (usually called a mentor) who can give you advice and support as you settle into your studies. You will also have the opportunity to sign up to a range of clubs and societies (including international student societies), which give you even more opportunities to meet friends who share your interests.
- Prepare yourself for the year ahead: O-Week gives you the chance to get organised before you begin your course. As an international student, you will most likely receive special information sessions that will inform you about life in Australia, accommodation, public transport, finding part-time work, safety and looking after your health. You will also be able to attend special course information sessions that will give you the opportunity to learn more about how your course will operate, choose your subjects and meet staff.
- Find out about student services: During O-Week make sure you attend information sessions that introduce you to the range of student services that are available to you. These will be helpful if you need extra support at some stage of your studies. You can attend information sessions and workshops that introduce you to your institution’s library (including how to use the library’s resources to complete assignments), accommodation services, careers services, IT services, health services, study abroad and student exchange services, English language services and academic support services.
- Have fun: While O-Week is a great opportunity to get organised for the year ahead, it’s also all about having fun! There are usually plenty of games, barbeques and food stalls, giveaways and entertainment throughout the day, as well as activities at night such as movie screenings, karaoke and parties. Be sure to get involved and bring your new friends along. If you are staying in on-campus accommodation such as a college or student residence, there may be additional activities to keep you entertained in the evenings and get you settled into campus living.
For more information about the orientation sessions on offer at your institution and assistance to plan which activities to attend, check out the information on international student orientation on your institution’s website or contact your institution’s international student office.