When you first arrive in a new country, social connection is really important. While you are adjusting to your new environment, new connections can even help boost your health and wellbeing.
Follow our tips on how to feel more connected and get the most out of your Australian study experience.
Tertiary institutions in Australia host orientation programs for new students, before the first week of classes.
This is your starting point for connecting with your student community. It’s a great chance to meet other students who are also about to start their studies, and to familiarise yourself with campus and how to get there from home.
Orientation programs can involve campus tours and talks, and even social events like quiz nights and ‘speed friending’. This means you’ll be able to meet your Australian and international student peers before the academic year even starts – so sign up for all the available activities and get out there!
Your education provider may also offer events for students throughout teaching weeks and even during study breaks. These could include movie nights, conversation clubs, careers nights, multi-cultural festivals, academic or employment skills sessions, guest lectures, networking and more.
Education providers also often arrange events specifically for international students. Your provider will usually let you know what’s coming up via your official student email account, but it’s worth looking out for posters and other advertisements for events around campus.
Student unions are run by students, for students. Their main objective is to advocate for students and make sure that the university environment is inclusive and supportive.
Your student association or council may have a calendar of events of their own, so become a member and see what they have planned. Joining up is also a great way to make new friends and build your on campus community.
You should also find out if your provider has an international student association or society.... You might even want to get involved in organising their events!
Clubs and societies are a fantastic place to meet other students who share your interests. From chess to hockey to philosophy, there’s often club for a wide range of hobbies and interests. You can even apply to start a new club if you can’t find one that suits.
Informal gatherings held by clubs and societies provide a relaxed opportunity to meet new friends outside the classroom and form lifelong connections.
Face-to-face classes are one of the most direct ways to meet student peers. Make sure you’re ready to contribute to class discussions or group assignments by doing any assigned readings beforehand.
Even before a lecture, tutorial or class starts, you can say hi to classmates waiting outside and start a casual conversation. Ask them what they’re studying, how they’re finding the course or the university, or what they like to do on the weekend.
Being friendly and taking the initiative in social situations is one of the best ways to become a central member of your student community. You might even be lucky enough to meet someone from your part of the world!
Many education and training providers around Australia enable you to register your interest for a national, two-week virtual program called the Study Australia Industry Experience Program (SAIEP). The program connects small, diverse teams of Australian and international students to employers in Australia and overseas. It's a great way to apply your learning while gaining valuable real-world experience, and building your industry network.
Read up on advice from other international students in Australia on how to made the most of your experiences.
Finally, make sure you contact any available support services near you if you are feeling lonely or isolated while studying in Australia. There are so many people here to help you, who want you to have the best time possible.