Study in Australia

Support Services for International Students: Building Community Away from Home

Discover essential support services for international students in Australia. Learn how to thrive academically and socially while studying abroad.

Published on: Jun 3, 2024

 

Australia has been a popular destination for many international freshmen, not just because of its exceptional education system but also because of its demographic and structured system that has always been influential in their lives. However, the journey to fulfil academic commitments is a roadway designed by both positive as well as hustle in the path towards achieving desired goals. To overcome these hustles the need to have access to support services is mandatory. There are services designed to help students feel an essence of home in a country like Australia, by providing them with resources and assistance they need to thrive academically and socially living abroad.

With the help of this blog, we will help you in exploring the diverse types of support services available while you study in Australia for a specific point of time, and provide tips on how to make the most of these resources. Join us through the journey and navigate the social and academic landscapes effectively.
 

Importance of Support Service for International Students


Support services are basically a helping hand when you want to stay in Australia on easy terms. This bridges the gap between students and their new surroundings. An international student may feel zoned out or distant from the community and therefore these services help them to participate and socialise not just for academic terms but also to build strong connections for career prospects. The main purpose relies on ensuring that an international student feels welcomed and supported, contributing significantly to their overall success and well-being.
 

Let us understand the challenges faced by students living abroad:


1. Cultural adjustments: Adjusting to a completely different environment can be pressurising for students as it involves a complete change in customs, norms, and daily practices. This may lead to a sense of disorientation and cultural shock. Therefore, to understand these can get support such as an orientation program, language teaching and cultural programs.

2. Language barriers: Not everyone is efficient in speaking English, some non-natives might find extreme difficulties in comprehending the language. Even if you have a good command of the host country’s language, academic jargon, colloquial expressions, and different accents can be good reasons to make it difficult in the environment. 

3. Homesickness: This is a challenge which is faced by most of the students here in Australia. Being far from family and friends can lead to feeling devastated and lonely making the student feel down. Homesickness is felt mainly at the times of holidays and special occasions. 

This emotional strain can be compounded by the stress of adjusting to a new environment and can negatively impact their mental health and academic performance.

4. New academic system: Yes it is indeed another challenge where students feel pressured to adapt to new academic norms and systems. The new education system with different teaching methods. Assessment styles and academic expectations require some time for adaptation. This overwhelming pressure to perform well and justify the significant investment in their education can add to their stress levels.

5. Financial constraints: Since this can be your first time moving out, having no plan for managing expenses can be another concern. The inability to work full time due to visa restrictions can limit the income, making it challenging to cover all their expenses. 

Understanding these challenges is the way you can address them by implementing essential steps. Henceforth, the universities or the government itself provides services to reduce the chances of these challenges and contribute to easy living in Australia.
 

Types of Support services for International students in the Australian academic sphere


There are support services which are available within the institution's premises which are there to answer your queries and direct you to the services you need. You can view these various services if planning to move to Australia. Here is an overview of a few of the support services available:

1. Orientation Programs

Orientation programs are organised by the university members before the initiation of the new semester with the new admission-seeking students, it gives them the chance to understand and view the university standards within a specific point of time, including an initial introduction to the campus, the surrounding community, and the cultural norms of the host country. Typical activities include campus tours, informational sessions on academic expectations and resources, and social events designed to foster connections among new students. 

You get access to information including:

(i) Healthcare services

(ii) Safety protocols

(iii) Local transportation options

(iv) Library tours

(v) social activities

(vi) introduction to services and facilities

(vii) opportunities to meet academic and other university staff and student representatives.

2. Academic Support Services

The students are usually non-natives, who come over to seek education in Australia, therefore these services are available to help them understand the standardised structure and curriculum of the university. These services often include tutoring, writing centres, and study groups that provide personalised assistance and peer support. If you feel unsure about the course selection, document requirements, career planning and more, you can seek help from these sources. There are workshops on study skills and time management, which equip students with strategies to handle their coursework effectively. By utilising these resources, international students can overcome academic challenges, improve their performance, and achieve their educational goals.

3. Career Services and Professional Development

Students who need support for their career advancement need to have a hand over these services. This helps students in navigating jobs (internships, part-time, training, etc) and professional development. The services available are through career counselling, job search assistance, workshops and seminars, Fair Work Australia, etc. Internship placements and job fairs connect students with potential employers in Australia, who have significant work experience. Workshops on resume writing, interview skills, and networking equip students with the tools they need to succeed in the job market. Building professional connections through these services can open doors to career opportunities and long-term success.

4. Social Integration and Cultural Exchange

These services are a gateway for students to open up to other students across diverse fields of study, develop connections, and deal with challenges on their academic journey. These social services spread across language and cultural support, student clubs and societies, and multicultural community groups. Collectively these contribute towards developing new friendships and engaging in campus life. These activities help students feel connected, reduce feelings of isolation, and enhance their overall university experience.

5. Mental Health and Well-being Services

Homesickness is a real thing, which with other factors can hamper the minds of the students. There are several steps integrated by schools and universities to support students with mental health and well-being concerns. Integration of counselling sessions provides a safe space for students to discuss their concerns and receive professional support. The other ways to consider the well-being of students is through organising workshops on stress management and self-care, teaching valuable coping strategies and promoting healthy lifestyles. These attributes are crucial to be addressed as a student might get drained under emotional and psychological pressure, leading to impacting academic performance.

The service providers other than universities are:

(i) Beyond Blue

(ii) Lifeline

(iii) Midspot

(iv) Black Dog Institute

6. Housing and Accommodation Support

There are two ways through which you can receive these services; either through on-campus housing facilities or through private accommodation providers. On-campus housing options offer convenience and a built-in community, while off-campus housing resources help students find suitable accommodations in the local area. You will get assisted by  Housing advisors to assist you with the search process, lease agreements, and resolving housing issues. Community-building activities in student residences foster a sense of belonging and provide opportunities for social interaction and support.

7. Financial Assistance and Budgeting Advice

An international student faces more challenges than a domestic student in managing financial challenges. These challenges include tuition fees, living costs, travel expenses, and more. This support is made available through scholarships, grants, and financial aid can significantly reduce financial burdens.  Services offering budgeting advice and financial planning workshops teach students how to manage their finances effectively. Resources for finding part-time work provide additional income opportunities, helping students cover their expenses and achieve financial stability.

These are a few of the support services for international students in Australia. All these are just to make their living comparatively easier than it could have been without them. Further, we are listing a few of the support service providers, which can be significant in fostering a comfortable life.
 

Here are some of the key providers:


1. Study in Australia (Australian Government)

The official Australian Government website for international students, Study in Australia provides information about studying and living in Australia. It helps a student in making informed decisions about the courses, understanding visa requirements, and finding accommodation. 

2. Education and Training (Australian Government Department of Education)

This department has a framework to follow known as the ESOS framework, to support and protect international students. They offer guidance on legal rights, academic standards, and support services available at educational institutions.

3. Australian Education International (AEI)

AEI provides information and advice to international students and offers resources on educational opportunities, student welfare, and adapting to life in Australia.

4. Universities' International Offices

Most of the universities in Australia have offices that provide extensive support services to international students taking admitted to their universities. These offices offer orientation programs, academic support, language assistance, and help with accommodation and visas. 

Notable universities include:

(i) University of Melbourne International Office

(ii) University of Sydney International Student Office

(iii) Australian National University (ANU) Global Programs

(iv) Monash University International Students Services

5. Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA)

TEQSA ensures that international students receive high-quality education and support. They provide information on accredited institutions and courses, as well as resources on student rights and protections.

6. Private Organizations and Agencies

Apart from public support, some several private organisations and agencies specialise in providing support services to international students. These include:

(i) IDP Education

(ii) International Student Support Services (ISSS)

(iii) Student Services Australia
 

Conclusion


In summary, the blog provides details on the student support services that differ from orientation programs and housing assistance to career counselling and peer mentorship, we will cover the essential aspects that help international students navigate their new academic and social landscapes effectively.

Read more:

1. How Tough Is It to Get a Job in Australia for International Students
2. Understand Australian Job Market Trends for International Students
3. Top Universities In Australia For International Students

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