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Overcoming Challenges in Your Study Abroad

In 2015, Australia had at least 650,000 international students, with the numbers continuing to increase. It is perfectly normal for these students to face some challenges while studying abroad and is sometimes painful to be away from home and not have access to the same citizen protections and entitlements as the average citizen in Australia.

Apart from these challenges, there are other areas affecting both the education and life of international students: finance, language barriers, visa problems, culture shock and homesickness to name a few.

With international students facing these inevitable hurdles in their study abroad, we thought we would share some tips on how to deal with these problems effectively.

Finance

Financial pressure is one of the biggest problems overseas students have to face, particularly for those who can’t qualify for financial assistance and have to cover their tuition costs alone.  Make sure you have evaluated your financial abilities and plans for your study abroad before you leave your country.

Language barriers

Even if English is your second language, or you have been studying it for a while, learning to understand native English speakers can be a challenge. Depending on where you are studying, you may find it difficult to understand the dialect. Also, the style of speech and jargon can sometimes differ from one region or state to another. 

While socialising may seem hard at first, it is probably the best way to overcome the language barrier. Your school is the perfect place to start making friends. The more you use English when communicating with your friends, the easier it will be for you to understand their dialect.  

Visa problems

Only if you enroll in a registered course on a full-time basis and can pass the visa requirements and conditions in Australia will you be granted a student visa. Once in Australia, your right to remain in the country depends on several factors, including the expiry of your visa, and whether you are maintaining your student immigration status.

To avoid having problems with your visa, make sure you follow all the rules of your student status. If you plan on changing your course or institution, be sure to speak with your IDP education counsellor so that you can be guided on what to do. 

Culture shock

Australia is a very multicultural country; you can find people from different cultures and nations living together here. Still, the “land down under” has its distinct culture that may be different from your own. As with any foreign culture, some foreign students can find a culture change confronting at times. 

If you are in this situation, try to keep calm and take things easy. Accept the cultural differences and keep an open mind. Eventually, you’ll learn to adapt to the changes and be able to integrate yourself into the Australian way of living. 

Homesickness

Leaving your family behind to study abroad can be both difficult and painful. Although this challenge is hard to deal with, consider your new friends as part of your family. It pays to speak to someone in confidence about how you are really feeling. If this doesn’t help, you can book an appointment for a counselling service for international students in your institution to help you.

Other problems

So… you’ve met new people, joined clubs, accustomed yourself to the new life, studied hard, and done will in your exams? If you still find yourself unhappy in any way, reach out for help. Don’t struggle alone; you can contact your university’s counselling service for assistance.

It’s important to remember that help is always available in Australia in times of crisis through non-profit organisations outside of your institution, such as Lifeline. Just dial 13 11 14 and seek help if you are struggling with the change. Alternatively, contact your city’s IDP Education branch if you require any assistance.

 

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