When you are in a foreign country for studies, you may find a lot of things difficult to manage. But, you need not worry then, rather look for places where you can get help. Always keep in mind, you are not the only one with those problems. There are many like you and many in far more difficult situations than you are in. Therefore, it is crucial you look for assistance to survive all the odds.
What are the support services available for international students in Australia?
According to the law of Australia, all schools that allow overseas students have to offer them support services to help them with their academic success and relocation. Several universities in Australia provide a support group for international students that can answer your queries and provide you with the direction of the resources you may need. Consult your college or university academic support services section for comprehensive information on the support services that you may require.
International Student Hotline: 1300 363 079 – Monday to Friday 8 am to 6 pm
The Australian government is committed to offering the best possible educational system to international students and ensuring they have the support they require while enrolled in universities. You can call the above-given hotline number, which the federal Department of Education runs if you are having issues with your education, accommodations, safety, or employment. Callers do not have to give their names or any identifying information.
Most international student support units help students with the necessary information to simplify the process of moving to Australia. which may include:
- information about airport pick-up
- help with finding accommodation
- information on travel arrangements, student visas, Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) and banking need
- information about the universities, college, school and nearby tourist attractions
- information on life, culture and other necessary things in Australia
Students’ orientation and study programmes
It is quite natural for every college to offer a new international student orientation programme. Orientation programmes are typically held a few weeks before the semester begins. The idea behind orientation programmes is to give students time to settle in before courses start.
What do you get in Orientation programmes?
- information sessions
- faculty-specific orientation
- library tours
- social activities
- guided campus tours
- introduction to services and facilities
- opportunities to meet academic and other university staff and student representatives.
Mentoring and other assistance
International students get to meet and interact with students from other countries through student organisations offered by many educational institutions. They help overseas students make friends and adjust to become familiar with their new surroundings, and have fun while doing so. These student organisations are responsible for organising frequent social meetings and planning activities (such as trips, lunches, and sightseeing). They are a great way to connect with your locals as well as students from other countries and build friendships.
In order to provide new international students with someone to turn to for guidance and support during their transition to their studies in Australia, several schools encourage senior students to become mentors as an additional support system for new students.
Many universities have trained and experienced counsellors who provide free, private guidance and assistance to overseas students on a range of issues that may be personal, social, and academic. It may include:
- understanding university life
- culture shock
- making friends
- finding housing
- engaging in campus activities
- depression, stress and anxiety
- relationship/family problems
- accommodation problems
- academic difficulties
Every country is different and has its own culture and lifestyle. Therefore, it may be a challenging experience to cope with it for international students. Culture shock is the state of confusion and isolation that you could experience in the initial stages of your arrival in a new country. It may take a few weeks to settle into a foreign land. This is a very typical feeling, and it will go away as you get accustomed to your new residence. Make sure you talk to your friends, consult them, and share your experience with your family whenever you feel the need. Also, talk to the support staff and academic counsellors at the school or college campus.
Academic and English language skills assistance
English is the official language of Australia so, students need to learn to speak it for easy communication. Apart from your studies, you will also need English in your other daily activities to communicate with people around you.
The Australian accent makes it hard for even good English speakers to understand others. To assist overseas students in settling into their studies and daily lives in Australia’s vibrant and multicultural cities, several universities provide a wide range of academic and English language assistance services. You will find workshops and one-on-one tutoring. Also, students can join English conversation groups where students from both home and abroad can interact and improve their language skills. They can also learn about local cultures.
Assistance to accompanying family members
Several universities and colleges in Australia offer assistance to accompanying family members of international students. The support services not only provide guidance to foreign students but also provide assistance for family members who travel with students to Australia.
Finished your studies? Assistance for returning home
Many universities in Australia provide information and guidance to international students who have finished their studies about how to go home and how to adjust to life back in their home country. There are a number of helpful lectures and pamphlets available to overseas students, including ones on topics like returning home, immigration concerns, finding a job, and alumni services.