New country. New home. New course. That’s a whole lot of newness to cope with as an international student in Australia. So, how do you manage it all and make the most of this exciting new life experience?
We spoke with staff and students at the College to find out what they believe are the six biggest challenges for new international students, and the best ways to overcome them.
International students and making friends
When you move to a new country, the first challenge you face is being away from friends and family, perhaps for the first time ever. Life’s not very fun when you don’t know anyone! You need to get some new friends, fast. Here are some great ways you can start to build those connections:
- Join the College Social Club, become a College Buddy to help meet fellow students, or join the Student Liaison Group. As a University of Adelaide College student, you also have access to the many University of Adelaide clubs, where you can meet like-minded people and have fun doing something you love.
- Learn about Aussie customs and slang, so you can connect with locals. You’ll be barbequing with mates in no time!
- A big part of making friends is just showing up. Go out to some of the gigs, shows and events that are on regularly in Adelaide. Check out the Welcome Dinner Project, where you can meet locals over a delicious meal. Adelaide City Care also hosts a New Arrivals Dinner and a Food and Fun day, for new residents.
Breaking down language barriers
It can be hard to get by in a new country if you don’t feel confident in the local language. The best way to take your English to the next level is to immerse yourself in life in your new city:
- Try living with a local family in a homestay. Contact the College Accommodation Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out more.
- Practise English before you arrive. Apps like Liulishuo may be just the help that you need!
- Watch, listen and read in English as much as you can! It will help you to get used to pronunciation and build your vocabulary.
- Find a part-time job in a local business or do some volunteering. This is a great way to practise speaking, while also getting work experience!
How to make money
Having a part-time job can be a great way to improve your language skills, make some extra money and meet new people.
- Not sure where to start? This video will help you prepare the things you need to do to find a part-time job
- Managing your money as a student
Oops, I don’t have any money left! How did that happen? This may be the first time you’ve lived away from home and had to manage your finances. If you’re not smart about it, you could end up in a tricky situation!
Upon arrival, you will be provided with support to help you set up a bank account in Adelaide, however, there are also a few simple things you can do to ensure you don’t end up short of cash:
- Calculate your expenses in Australia prior to arrival so you can be prepared.
- Use planning tools to keep to your budget.
- Make sure you save enough money before you arrive.
- Ask your mum and dad for advice before you leave… you’ll be surprised how much they know!
Even with all the snakes, sharks and crocodiles, Australia is actually one of the safest places in the world! But in a new country, it’s always a good idea to be careful and to get to know your legal rights.
- Watch out for scams and fraud. Don’t lend large amounts of money to anyone, no matter how nice they are. Make sure you’re smarter than they are and be prepared.
- Be careful online. Check out this social media safety guide from the University of Adelaide.
- Although Adelaide is considered one of the safest cities in Australia, it’s a good idea to read about street safety in Australia. You can also get some great beach safety tips from our blog article here.
- Be aware of sexual safety, and inform College staff if you ever feel unsafe.
If you ever have any issues, call the College emergency phone number (0400 807 815), South Australian Police (131 444) or emergency services (000).
Staying happy and healthy
You can’t do well in your studies if you’re feeling unhealthy or unhappy! To prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed, consider this advice on how to take care of yourself as a new international student in Australia:
- Follow these tips for coping with stress health while studying, and be aware of organisations such as Beyond Blue that provide mental health advice and support.
- The medical system in Australia might be different to your home country. SA Health provide lots of health information and you can find out here how to find a doctor or use your health insurance. Your OSHC provider also provides many resources to help you maintain good health and wellbeing. Students will meet a BUPA representative at orientation, but there are also good online resources for you to use.
- Each year the College runs events related to health and wellbeing. Check out RUOK day and Wellbeing Week for support, yoga and meditation.
Don’t forget, we’re here to help you. If you feel like you’re not coping, contact Student Services and they’ll organise an appointment with a counsellor or a doctor for you.