Home' Studies in Australia : Studies in Australia 2017 Contents 23
Support for international students
What types of support services are
available for international students?
All institutions offering education to
international students are required by law
to provide support services to help them
study and adapt to their new home. Many
institutions have international student
advisers who can answer your questions
and direct you to the services you need.
For detailed and specific information about
support services, refer to the institution
profiles within this guide.
Information and advice for
pre-departure and arrival
Most international student support units
provide information to simplify the process
of moving to Australia, which may include:
• advice about travel arrangements,
student visas, Overseas Student Health
Cover (OSHC) and banking
• information about airport pick-up
services (offered by many but not all
institutions) and other transport options
• help with organising accommodation
• information about the institution, nearby
tourist attractions and life in Australia.
Orientation and study preparation
Every institution runs an orientation
program for newly arrived international
students. Orientation programs are usually
held a couple of weeks before the start of
semester to give students a chance to settle
in before classes begin.
Orientation programs typically offer:
• information sessions
• guided campus tours
• faculty-specific orientation
• library tours
• social activities
• introduction to services and facilities
• opportunities to meet academic and
other university staff and student
Mentors and help from other students
Many education providers have groups and
societies that give international students
the opportunity to meet their peers. These
student groups run regular social gatherings
and organise activities (such as trips, meals
and sightseeing) to help international
students make friends and settle into their
new environment --- and have some fun in
the process! Some institutions also pair new
international students with a senior student
mentor, so they have someone to provide
advice and support as they adjust to their
studies in Australia.
Most institutions have qualified and
experienced counsellors who offer
international students free and confidential
advice on personal, social and academic
matters such as:
• culture shock
• depression, anxiety and stress
• relationship and family problems
• accommodation issues
• academic difficulties.
Some institutions also offer support services
for family members who accompany
students to Australia.
It can be challenging to start a new course in a country that has a different academic
environment, language and culture. But there's no need to worry, as there is plenty of
support available to help you adjust to your studies in Australia. Remember that you are
not alone --- there are many international and local students in the same position.
Culture shock is the feeling of
disorientation and loneliness that you may
feel in the first couple of weeks of living in
a new environment. This is a very common
feeling and will pass when you get more
settled into your new home. Make sure you
talk to friends, family and the support staff
at your institution.
Academic and English language skills
Many institutions offer academic and
English language support services, such as
individual tutoring and workshops, to help
international students adjust to their studies
and life in Australia. You might also find
English language conversation groups that
encourage local and international students
to meet and practise their language skills
while learning about other cultures.
Even the most skilled English speakers
may struggle to understand people at first
because of the distinct Australian accent.
Australians use many slang expressions and
speak quickly, so asking people to slow
down or repeat what they have said may
be necessary. You can get accustomed
to the Australian style of speaking by
watching Australian films and television,
listening to the radio and talking to the
locals. See page 35 for a list of common
Australian slang terms.
Information and advice for returning
Most institutions provide information
and advice about returning home at
the conclusion of study. Seminars and
brochures available to international
students include information about
readjusting to your home country, gaining
employment, migration and alumni services.
Easing your cultural transition
• Make friends by joining a student
group, such as a sporting club or the
international student association at your
• Participate in some Australian activities
--- do something to give you insight into
your new home, such as going to an
Australian Football League (AFL) game or
visiting an art gallery.
• Even if English is your second language,
don't be afraid to use it! Making
mistakes is part of learning. You will find
most Australians to be friendly, open
and understanding of your language
Australian learning methods
Studying in Australia may be very different
to studying in your home country.
Australian students are encouraged to
be independent learners --- this means
they are responsible for completing set
readings, undertaking research and meeting
deadlines themselves. Academic services
will generally be available to help you adapt
to fewer contact hours; more self-directed
study (with minimal assistance); and the
active and vocal style of tutorial discussions.
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