Being an International student in Australia is an amazing life experience..but being in a new environment can also take some getting used to! Not only do you have to work hard towards your education, but you have to do so amidst a culture that may be very different from your own.
Whether it’s learning a new language, getting accustomed to new social norms, or trying to make new friends, the life of an international student comes with a host of challenges seldom considered by the average domestic student.
Thankfully, MCIE has thought about these challenges, and to assist International Students, we have compiled a short list of helpful survival tips to make your transition into Australian culture a much smoother journey. For MCIE students, you also have the benefit of a Welfare Coordinator, who is available to help you out, at any time!
#1: Talk to People
The first tip is a simple but challenging one: talk! One of the best ways to combat the feeling of being overwhelmed in a new environment is to talk to those around you. Perhaps start first one on one with someone and then gradually into groups where you will meet new people. These can be domestic students, but they can also be people with whom you share a common background, such as other International students who can empathize with your situation and feelings. The hardest part is starting the initial conversation, once you get the ball rolling however, it will get much easier.
#2: Prepare for “Homesickness”
Homesickness is an unfortunate fact of life, and the better you are prepared for it, the easier it will be. Having some way to communicate with family and friends back home is highly recommended, as talking to loved ones can really strengthen you. Also, bringing some memorabilia, photos, posters, music, or artwork from your country can make the transition much smoother. You can also keep yourself occupied with studies, work, by hanging out with friends, or volunteering in student or community organizations. The busier you are, the less you will think of home and before you know it, Australia will feel like your second home!
#3: Be Patient and Open-Minded
It takes time to learn a new language, get used to new foods and customs, and live in a different culture. Be patient, as time goes on, things will get easier. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to keep an open mind and try new things. Immersing yourself in a different culture can be challenging, but it can also be really fun if you come into it with the right frame of mind. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Australians are a friendly bunch of people and most will be more than happy to offer help.
#4: Stay Active and Healthy, Get Involved and Be Inclusive
Although you may feel comfortable speaking your language, hanging out with friends from your own country, and participating in various international student organisations – try to include Australians in your activities and discussions as well. Speak English when there are other students around, and avoid building an “exclusive club” of your group. Be proud to be your cultural ambassador. Australians are eager to learn from you about your culture. Eat, sleep and exercise to stay both physically and mentally healthy. This will sustain a positive attitude while adjusting and adapting to a new culture – plus, it will boost your mental stamina for studies – winning!