Key to successful overseas study
Peace of mind the key to successful overseas study
Choosing to study in a country far away from friends and family is a brave decision that can lead to amazing experiences and opportunities. However, to make the most of your time in Australia it is important to be prepared to adjust to your new environment.
In December 2016 a study by the University of Technology Sydney reported that Chinese students overseas experienced a significantly higher rate of depression, anxiety and stress when compared to their domestic counterparts. This is for a number of reasons, including homesickness and the language barrier as well as dealing with a different culture and expectations in the classroom. It is vital that you have a plan to overcome these issues, so that you can have the peace of mind that is necessary to focus on your studies and also enjoy all the wonderful lifestyle experiences available in Australia.
Recommendations for international students
Here are five key areas you must focus on to ensure an enjoyable and successful time studying in Australia.
Overcome your homesickness
It is completely natural to miss your friends and family, especially when you first arrive in Australia. However, it is important to manage this feeling otherwise it could negatively impact your overall happiness and also your ability to focus on your studies.
Top tip: Get involved with local activities and clubs, including those run by your school. Building a local friendship group will help make Australia soon feel like a second home.
Participate in the classroom
Teachers in Australia expect students to ask questions and be actively involved in the classroom. Many Chinese students are not familiar with this method of learning and therefore do not get the maximum benefit from their classes while feeling stressed and pressured about the different expectations.
Top Tip: Be prepared for your classes. Knowing at least some of the material in advance will help you to be more confident when the teacher asks you a question or when you are working in a study group. Eventually this will give you the confidence to ask your own questions and make comments to the whole class without the teacher asking you specifically.
Embrace the culture
Many Chinese students in Australia tend to only socialise with other Chinese students. This is understandable, but it also means that you will not fully take advantage of being in such a diverse and interesting country.
Top tip: Australians are generally very welcoming and hospitable, which means that you have a great opportunity to experience Australian culture by mixing with local people. To make this easier it is important that you make an effort to understand Australia’s history and traditions. Having this sort of knowledge and understanding will greatly impress Australian people and help you form friendships more easily.
Improve your English
A major benefit of being in Australia is that you can improve your English. This will not only assist with your studies and future work opportunities, but being able to communicate effectively with Australians and other nationalities will also positively contribute to your general happiness and mental well-being.
Top tip: Make friends with native English speakers in your class by asking them to study together with you. This will not only give you a chance to practice your English, it will also give them a chance to learn about China.
Don’t be afraid to seek help
Moving away from home can be a stressful experience and can lead to deep feelings of loneliness and depression. This can not only negatively impact your general happiness but can also interfere with your studies and personal relationships.
Top tip: There is an English expression that “a problem shared is a problem halved”. It is important that you speak to family, friends and local support services about the problems you are experiencing. Just speaking about it will often make you feel immediately better, and then you can also get the help you need to manage the problem and get back to what is important: your studies and enjoying your time in Australia.
Sonder Australia can help
The staff at Sonder Australia are very familiar with the stresses students face when studying in a foreign environment. Our service packages provide a range of student safety and welfare solutions to help you throughout your study. Any time of the day or night, if you need help, just contact us via our Sonder Safety App and we will get you the help you need.