Starting your study journey is exciting and gives you a new sense of hope for your future. For international students arriving in Australia for the first time, there’s often a period of settling in. These are my tips on settling into Australian life for a positive study experience.
Australia is known as a culturally diverse nation. At any USQ campus, it is guaranteed you will find people from many other countries, continents, cultures, and ethnic groups. One basic step to settling into Australian life is to build new friendships by being open-minded towards people from other cultures. Being open to new people and their cultures essentially includes listening to other people’s perspectives and opinions. It also involves learning, understanding and adapting to the differences between cultures, even if they might sometimes conflict with your own views.
Did you know that a simple, ‘Hi, how are you?’ could help you step out of your comfort zone and feel valued and at home in Australia? First of all, you need to have the courage to start small talk. This can lead to building deeper friendships and connections. You could find new friends by simply putting on a smile and asking someone how they are. I sometimes get nervous talking to new people, but this subsides when I put on a smile. I believe a smiley face can help to make you look inviting and friendly – for me, everything starts with a smile! Believe me, this simple, friendly act has the possibility to lead to longer conversations with outcomes you might never have expected.
Being a volunteer provides another opportunity to develop your network in Australia, helping you to build relationships and friendships, as well as helping you to settle into your new home. I volunteered at the 2018 Toowoomba Languages and Cultural Festival and it was a very valuable experience for me. It gave me the opportunity to approach and form connections with people I may not otherwise have had the chance to meet.
If you are interested in maximising your chances of learning about people from different places, volunteering can achieve this for you. At the Toowoomba Languages and Cultural Festival there were volunteers and participants from all over the globe and, by participating as a volunteer myself, I got to know people from countries across the world – some I’d never even heard of before! I believe that volunteering is a fantastic opportunity to experience what your study city has to offer, build new friendships, and settle into the Australian way of life.
Not only does this have the advantage of meeting and making new friendships and getting to know new classmates but joining Meet-Up sessions allows you to study and revise your lectures. Students in these sessions are split into small groups to discuss what they’ve learnt and clarify any confusion. Students conduct discussions in a friendly and supportive environment, ensuring that they are actively learning lecture content, rather than being passive learners. Study success feels good, and when done with great people, is fun, engaging, and helps you to feel comfortable, settled and right at home.
I have found that attending various USQ events and activities is a great way to settle into USQ, and experience the uniquely Australian way of life. USQ organises a range of activities for students such as Market Day, student trips, and Ally Network Natters, just to name a few. I enjoy participating in these kinds of events to meet new people, engage with the USQ community and generally feel part of my new home and surroundings.
Joining USQ in Australia has been a life-changing experience. I have left all that was familiar and comfortable to me to pursue my study dreams. I have settled into Australia by being courageous and stepping out of my comfort zone to meet new people, starting conversations with a smile, volunteering, and attending USQ study sessions and events.
Ankit also moved to Australia to study at USQ. You can find out more about his experience and discover his tips for building multicultural relationships by reading his blog. To apply to study at USQ, visit the USQ international website.