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If you are preparing to move to Australia for a study overseas program, there are several options for your stay. You can find temporary accommodations, get a roommate and an apartment or opt for homestay with a local family.

The latter option is often recommended for those worried they will miss home, who want to maintain a strong support structure, and who are eager to learn more about Australian culture. If you are among those interested in homestay, here are five tips to ensure you get the most out of the program during your visit.

Join Your Hosts for Meals and Events

When you choose your homestay program, there will be an option to include meals. It’s recommended that you do this so you can get to know the local dishes, spend some quality time with your host family, and have at least one block of time every day during which you relax with people you know.

Know the Rules Upfront

Communicate clearly with your host family at all times. This starts the moment you arrive in Australia. Make it clear you intend to follow the rules, but also make sure you fully understand what they are. Learn about issues like curfew, meal times, communication preferences, and what to do in the case of an emergency. You should also learn rules as they relate to pets, children, and access to different parts of the home.

Bring a Gift for Your Hosts

While not required by any means, bringing a gift is a great way to break the ice and get to know your host family. It allows you to share a bit about your culture, introduce yourself and your interests, and spark a conversation on day one. It’s also a polite way to introduce yourself to a family who will be taking you into their home for several weeks. It’s likely they will do the same for you.

Be Open Minded

You’re entering a new country with customs and culture you may not be familiar with. Regardless of your strength with the language, many things will be unfamiliar, at least a first. So be open minded, willing to try new things, and flexible. While your host family will certainly do everything they can to make you feel at home, that might mean something different than you are used to. Be willing to try new things and engage with your new host family throughout this time.

Be Respectful of Local Culture and Customs

If you communicate openly with your host family when you arrive, are open minded to the daily routine, and spend some time with them, this will be much easier. Take some time to observe and learn what the “norm” is in your new household. Whether it is a custom you are unfamiliar with or a religious observation, be respectful of what those things represent to your host family and how you can engage with them.

Studying overseas is one of the best ways to learn more about a new culture, engage with amazing people, and build memories that will stick with you the rest of your life. Follow the five steps above and your homestay will be a big part of those memories.

A major part of any university course is discussion. This may be a standalone course focused heavily on discussion of a given topic or a lecture with a tutorial supplementing the core materials. These tutorials are incredibly important and you will be assessed based on your participation. To put it simply, if you don’t speak up on a regular basis it can affect how you are assessed.

For many international students, these tutorial sessions can be stressful because they are so different than how similar topics are discussed back home. Australian students are vocal and very active, often talking over the top of each other and openly debating ideas and concepts in the middle of the session. Whether this is familiar to you or not, it can be hard to jump into the middle of it as a newcomer to the country.

Here are some tips to help not only feel more relaxed and prepared for these discussions, but to stand out and ensure you perform well in the course:

  • Observe How Australian Students Interact – While it might be jarring at first to hear a student so openly disagree with a tutor or instructor, there are still boundaries and general rules that all students follow. You’ll find yourself getting more comfortable quickly if you observe these interactions carefully.
  • Prepare Comments in Advance – While eventually you will want to feel comfortable enough to speak in response to what others are discussing, the best way to prepare for these discussions is to have notes outlined in advance. It can be an interesting thing you remember from the lecture, a question you have about the topic, or a response to something said in a prior session. The goal is to show you understand the material and are engaged.
  • Practice and Prepare for Presentations – Giving a presentation in front of a group of peers is stressful for most people, regardless of whether they are local or international. Take some extra time to prepare, rehearsing your presentation, partnering with another student to share ideas, and going go the student services office for advice.

The goal of these sessions is to engage and involve every student in an active discussion. Education is about more than just lectures and being given a list of answers. It’s about learning how to ask questions, guiding the discussion with a group of your peers, and thinking critical about topics that are new to you. Using the tips above, you can be as actively engaged as any local student in these discussions.

If you are an international student and are interested in learning more about how you can engage with your fellow students, build relationships, and perform well in university courses, make sure to follow Global Experience on Facebook and Twitter where we post new content daily, including our newest blog posts each week.

As an International student studying in Australia there are a lot of things you need to prepare for. From studying in a new country to building relationships and learning the culture, you’ll be very busy.

One part of this process that will help you to better acclimate to the new environment and excel in your courses is to find out what services are offered to students, especially international students like yourself.

Who to Talk with

There are many people at University who may be able to help you when there is an issue. It’s best to approach them and build these lines of communication well in advance of there actually being a problem, however. To start, you should speak with your course coordinator and the department advisors.

The university website might be of use as well, but if it is not, or if the information is out of date or limited, you can speak with the faculty office directly, and for many large universities in Sydney and Melbourne, you’ll find a dedicated international student coordinator who can assist.

What Questions to Ask

When you approach the advisors or faculty in your new university, be ready with questions that will help you prepare for the term. These might include:

  • What tasks are related to assessment in the course?
  • What is the penalty for late work in the department or in the specific instructor’s course?
  • What action is taken if you fail an exam or fail to complete a large assignment?
  • How do you apply for special consideration if you are sick or need to return home due to a family emergency?
  • What is considered compulsory as part of your course?

By knowing the answers to these questions, you can better understand the course, the expectations of you as a student, and what to do if you cannot meet these expectations at any time.

Finding Support and Services for These Situations

If such a situation occurs, who do you turn to? This is a very important question. For those staying with a host family, you have at least one person you can turn to in times of trouble, but for others staying alone or living with a roommate, you should take the time to research what is available for you.

For international students, there are often orientation programs specifically to introduce you to the school and the country as a whole. Additionally, you should research the Student Services available from your university. There may be a website or you can speak with an advisor or coordinator about assistance. There may be ESL assistance as well as time management, studying, and note taking skill development courses that can help you.

By tapping into the resources your school offers, ensuring you fully understand what your course coordinators and instructors expect of you, and being ready in case a problem does develop, you’ll be prepared for almost anything that might happen during your time studying in Australia. From here you get to have fun and enjoy this amazing experience in a new country!

As an international student, you have a lot of things to prepare for before starting classes. Not only are you starting at a new university, you are moving hundreds or even thousands of miles to your new school overseas. You’ll be meeting new people, staying in a new apartment or home, and learning new customs and about a new culture. That’s a lot to try and juggle at once.

To help you get ready, we’ve gathered several tips to help with the first few weeks of university as an international student. Whether preparing for orientation or getting acclimated to the new environment, keep these tips in mind to feel more comfortable.

Remember that You’re Not Alone

Many international students in Australia feel alone at first. After all, you probably came to Australia alone and have left your friends and family behind in your home country. But remember that Australia is one of the largest destinations in the world for international students. Nearly 20% of students in Australian universities are from overseas and many of them are in the same situation as you.

Be active in international student groups, go out and spend time with people from local host families, and talk to colleagues, even if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. You’ll be surprised to find they are often in the same situation as you.

Go to as Many University Events as Possible

One of the most exciting parts about being at university is the events you can attend. Sporting events,  campus events, festivals, and other activities held by the university or organizations that operate with the university are plentiful. Almost any weekend you should be able to find something to keep you occupied on campuses in Sydney or Melbourne, and there are even more events to attend off campus.

Even if you don’t yet have friends, going to these types of events will give you something to discuss with people you meet, things to invite people to when you are trying to think of something to do, and a place to go when you aren’t studying.

Things Get Awkward – Be Comfortable with it

It’s normal to feel awkward in new social situations. Remember that most other people also feel awkward and will respond in turn in these situations. The key is to go outside of your comfort zone and be willing to engage even if you are afraid of it getting too awkward.

Talk as much as you can, be fun and don’t forget to smile. The boundaries of language and culture have a habit of melting away in a university setting because at the heart of it, you are experiencing the same thing as everyone else on that campus.

Be Willing to Explore New Things

University life is an amazing experience, and even more so when you get to see it through the eyes of a new culture in a new location like Australia. Make the most of the opportunity and you’ll not only make new friends, you’ll create memories that last a lifetime.

There are so many exciting aspects of studying overseas. The new places you get to see, the cultures you get to explore, and the new people you’ll meet – it’s an incredible experience. But, coming into a new country alone, it can be overwhelming. Especially when you don’t know anyone, it’s hard to know where to start in a completely new city.

To help meet people faster and make the most of your time in Australia, here are five tips to meet more people while studying overseas.

1. Stay with a Host Family or Roommate

The fastest way to start meeting people is to arrive with a built-in group of people to connect with. A host family makes this easier than almost any other situation. Locals who know the area and are used to helping international students acclimate can be of great assistance to you. Even if you don’t stay with a host family, consider booking an apartment or student housing with a roommate – another international student or a local Australian who you can ideally connect with as you get to know the area.

2. Join Organizations or Clubs

Your University likely has dozens of clubs, organizations, and groups that cover a spectrum of different interests. Whether it’s a sport you enjoy, a hobby, or a game you like to play, there is probably a local group for it. You can also find organizations for international students, including some for specific countries with a high representation in Sydney or Melbourne. These are great places to meet people who are in the same situation as yourself.

3. Go Out and Do Things Around Town

This is an easy one, but so many people put it off, afraid to go out alone and explore before they meet friends. Between classes, on weekends, or at the end of the day, go out and enjoy the city. Set a goal for yourself each week and make sure you visit at least one thing that’s new in Sydney, Melbourne or a surrounding suburb or tourist site. This will help make your trip truly memorable, and you’ll probably meet people along the way.

4. Go Outside Your Comfort Zone

A lot of things are going to be a little tough to do, especially if you are naturally shy or introverted. Talking to strangers in class, going to events or parties where you don’t know anyone, or engaging in groups you’ve never been to before – these are all big steps out of your comfort zone. But you’ve already taken a major leap by coming to Australia; why not take a few more steps and meet people that you can form lasting relationships with as part of your trip.

5. Look for Meetup Groups that Match Your Interests

In just about any country, is a fantastic resource to connect with people and share common interests. Search for a hobby, interest, or other topic you’re interested in on and there will almost certainly be a meetup group you can join. If there isn’t, consider starting one. Like people always flock together, and what better way to enjoy a hobby than to share it with people in a new country.

There are so many things to do in so many places in Sydney, Melbourne, or wherever you might be staying in Australia, that all it takes is a little bit of a push for yourself and you’ll meet more people than you can imagine. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience – be sure to share it with as many people as possible.

Traveling overseas is exciting. There’s so much to see and do, and yet when also studying overseas, time can slip away faster than you might expect. That’s why timing your arrival is so important.

If you plan on studying overseas in Australia or any other country a significant distant from home, it’s best to get there a little early. Give yourself a few extra days or even weeks during which you can get situated, learn the area, and be ready for classes. Here are five specific reasons to arrive early and what you’ll gain by doing so.

Settle in with Your Host Family and Adjust to the Area

Arriving a bit early gives you much needed time to get to know your host family, settle into your new room, learn the rules, and explore the immediate area. Where is the grocery store? The bank? The library? These are things you’ll be glad you already know when you’re deep into a busy class schedule.

Adjust to Local Time

If you’re staying in the same time zone, this is less of an issue, but if you are traveling from far away, especially across four or more hours, you’ll need a bit of time to adjust. The farther you are traveling from; the more time your body will need to adjust. A 12-hour difference, for example, can result in upwards of a week adjusting fully to the new schedule. The last thing you want is to fight jet lag and insomnia when you are starting classes in a new country.

Attend University Orientation or Group Events

Orientation events often occur a week or two before classes officially start. By attending, you will not only learn the basics of your new university, but you may meet some new friends. Especially at universities with large international student populations in Sydney and Melbourne, these events can be immensely helpful in settling in, learning more about your new university, and meeting a handful of people you can connect with as you get started.

Handle All Remaining Logistics

There are always business details to handle when traveling overseas. For students who will be in Australia for several months, this might include setting up a bank account, buying a new cell phone, getting a local or student ID card, finalizing your health insurance, or enrolling for classes – if any of these things need to be done, give yourself plenty of time on days before the term starts so you can be ready to just focus on studying.

Have Fun!

Here’s an easy one – have fun! The reason you’re excited to be in Australia is that it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and will be a lot of fun. But if you don’t give yourself enough time to have fun and spend your first few weeks running for errand to errand between classes, you can burn out fast. Make sure you build in enough time to explore your surroundings, enjoy the setting of a new country, and meet as many people as you can – these are the things that will stick with you forever as unforgettable memories of your time here.

It’s one of the most exciting things you can do in university – spend part of a year overseas learning about a new culture and exploring a new part of the world. If you are preparing to make such a move or would like to learn more about how studying overseas will impact your life, here are 10 perfect reasons to not only consider it, but consider it in Australia.


Good Experience for Your CV


At the top of the list is experience. The time you spend in Australia is great for your future job prospects, not only because it gives you new perspective on the world, but because of the unique experience it provides and the way it stretches your education. If you can excel in a new country, you become a more attractive hire.


Discover New and Exciting Things About Other Cultures


This applies to studying in any country. The time you spend there will allow you to learn more about the cultures of that country, engaging with new people, building relationships, and trying new things well outside of your comfort zone back home.


Practice English as a Second Language


If you are learning or want to learn English, what better way to practice and develop your skills than to spend 6 months living and studying in Australia? Through both time at school and pure immersion in the culture, your language skills will develop rapidly.


Become Independent and Self-Reliant


Time overseas drives people to become better at many things, chief of which is looking out for themselves and taking initiative. Getting a part time job, going grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning, and exploring a new city in a new country – these are life changing experiences that will help you become more self-reliant in the future.


Learn About Yourself and What You Want in Life


For many university students, a big question is “what will I do next?”. How are you going to take your education and experiences and apply them to a career? Studying overseas can not only give you new perspective, but open you to new possibilities of what you can do after graduating.


Explore Exciting New Things in Australia


Australia is one of the most exciting countries to visit in the world. Not only are Sydney and Melbourne ranked among the top 5 cities in the world for international students – the surrounding areas offer countless attractions, historical sites, and cultural opportunities for those visiting, even for a short time.


See a New Culture through the Eyes of a Citizen


Living in a foreign country for even a few months is very different from visiting on holiday. The time you spend there, eating at restaurants, meeting people, and visiting cultural sites is as a resident. You’ll see the culture through their eyes.


Learn New Ways to Think About Your Studies


Studying at an Australian university is almost certainly different from studying at one in your home country. From the environment to the professors, you’ll be seeing your subject matter in a completely different way than you did back home. You never know what you will learn when perspective changes.


Make Incredible New Friends


One of the greatest parts of studying overseas is all the amazing people you meet during the process. From the host family you stay with to the colleagues and friends you connect with in classes or through a part time job – the opportunity to create new relationships is wide open.


Explore Job Opportunities Away from Home


Not only can you get a part time job while studying overseas in Australia; you can learn more about your job opportunities overseas in general post-graduation. Whether you want to explore staying in Australia for several years or another country, living in Australia for a term can really open your eyes to the options that are out there.

One of the biggest challenges faced by international students in Australia is time management. There is so much to do (and so much you want to do) that time can quickly get away from you when it comes to schoolwork or a part time job. To help you stay on top of your schedule and ensure nothing falls by the wayside, here are five tips for better time management.


Understand The MUST Dos


Before doing anything else, make a list of every task on your list that you MUST do. This includes anything that absolutely needs to be done on a daily basis. If you have a part time job include this. Include any University deadlines such as a paper or an upcoming exam. The time you set aside for studying and for attending classes should be on this list too. For now, just create a list of these items so you have it set aside.


Create a Schedule or Calendar for Life


With the items you know you NEED to do mapped out, create a schedule for life – this can be an app on your phone, a written calendar, a planner, or any other tool that works well for you and your needs.


For now, input all of the must do items into your calendar, block out classes, work hours, and anything else you know you’ll be doing each week. You should also set aside ample time for sleep (7-8 hours a night is vital to ensure optimal performance in your studies).

Block Out Realistic Study Time


Life happens. There will be times when you have the opportunity to attend something new and exciting – after all you’re visiting a new country for the first time and will only be here for so long. However, make sure you aren’t so flexible that you run out of time to actually study.


You should expect to spend between 30-40 hours a week on university studies to maintain good grades and perform as well as you would like. That means roughly 15 hours a week in lectures and another 15-20 studying on your own. Block out as much of this time in advance as you can to ensure it doesn’t get tossed aside for something more fun.


Managing Procrastination is an Art


Procrastination can kill all of the work you just did and put off the most important tasks on your to do list until the last second. Find the circumstances that lead to your best study sessions – for some people this may be time with friends at a coffee shop while others need complete silence at the library or in their room.


Find the place and time that works best for you and devote yourself to spending as much of that time as possible focusing on your studies. There are times you’ll fall behind – try to minimize them as much as possible.


Take Care of Yourself – It’s a Smart Investment


Finally, and this is probably the most important item on this list, take care of yourself. The average university student gains 15 pounds in the first two years, not only because of a less than stellar diet, but because things like sleep and exercise fall by the wayside as well.


Focus on yourself and treat your body well and you will be rewarded for it in your studies. It might not seem like it makes sense now, but if you study less now so you can exercise and eat a good meal, you’ll do better in your exams.


Learn more about how you can perform strongly in your classes and enjoy your time without falling behind as an international student in Australia by following us on Facebook or Twitter where we post new content every day.


The New Year is almost upon us – in just a few short days, 2016 will be here and for many students, that means a new term and a new opportunity to explore Australia during an overseas study trip. If you are currently in Australia as an international student or if you are planning to visit the country soon, here are five things you should start thinking about now as you plan your year.


Prepare for the Prices


Australia’s prices are routinely higher than many of the nations from which international students come. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to have fun while visiting, but be ready for a lot of the things on your to do list to be somewhat pricey.


Do your research, plan your budget, and maybe even consider getting a part-time job while visiting to help pay for your activities.

It’s a Big Country


This is a big country – so big in fact that it’s unlikely you’ll be able to do everything on your to do list if you’re only here for a few months. So make sure to plan your activities accordingly. Make a decision between Sydney and Melbourne as to where you will stay and look for activities nearby.


With the geography to cover, the time you’ll be spending on your studies, and the cost, it won’t necessarily be possible to do everything on your list.

Learn More than the Movies Teach


There are plenty of images of Australians and the life they lead floating around in popular culture. Some are exaggerations and some are just stories. To avoid confusion or feeling out of place, spend some time studying up on what Australian life is actually like day to day.


Learn the states, the communities near where you are staying, some of the common slang and phrases used, and upcoming holidays – a bit of light study will go a long way toward making you feel more comfortable.

Know Your School


For many international students, the moment you receive that acceptance letter is the last moment you really think about the University you’ll be attending until you arrive. But spend some time getting to know it before you arrive.


Familiarize yourself with the grading system used, the layout of the campus, and the reputation of the university. See if there are any international student groups as well (most major Universities in Sydney and Melbourne have several) and decide what you will do when you arrive and start your semester.

Get to Know Your Host Family


Even before you leave for Australia, spend some time getting to know the host family you will be staying with. Letters or email are a great way to start the communication with them as soon as you receive confirmation on who you’ll be staying with.


Send photos, share your hobbies and goals for the trip, and ask lots of questions about them and their family so you know how best to fit in with this new family. You’ll feel much closer when you arrive if you have done so.


Your trip to Australia will be a once in a lifetime experience. Take the time to get to know the country, the school you’ll be attending, and the family with which you will be staying and you’ll be able to appreciate it that much more.

Happy Holidays from Global Experience

From the entire team at Global Experience, we want to wish each every host family, student, and member of the community Happy Holidays. This year has been a spectacular one for everyone on the team with new opportunities, recognition beyond what we could have ever expected or hoped for, and the opportunity to work with so many more families and members of our community.


For everyone out there who has worked with us or is interested in learning more about our work with the international student community, here’s to a fantastic 2016. Be sure to take a look at our blog posts each week and join us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn where we frequently post new and interesting information for everyone in the community – whether you are a student or host family.


Join us in our discussions of what it means to be in Australia, whether you are originally from here or just visiting for a few months. More importantly, join us in showing the world why this is one of the places so many students from around the world choose to come for their time overseas.


To everyone out there, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Holidays – here’s to a spectacular 2016.