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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.