Settling in Australia
Welcome to Australia!
Moving to a new country is likely to be one of the best things you’ll ever do. That is not to say however, that there will not be difficult times and challenges ahead. It is important that you are kind to yourself. Everyone goes through a period of adjustment while getting used to their new environment. It is normal to feel a sense of culture shock and homesickness.
Some symptoms of culture shock include:
- feelings of cultural isolation
- missing family and friends
- panic and anxiety
- loss of appetite/overeating
- feeling confused, depressed and disorientated.
Most students new to Australia experience at least some of these symptoms which can feel conflicting when it’s also a time of such excitement and expectation. We understand you feel responsible to be happy in your new life while also feeling sad, overwhelmed and frustrated.
It’s important to remember you are not alone and there is a lot of support at Deakin College to help you deal with whatever you are feeling. There are many great resources to help you navigate difficulties adjusting so you can make the most of your new life on campus.
Remember this phase is just that; only a phase. It will pass and you will see that it’s also a huge time of personal growth. But this takes time.
There are plenty of things you can do to help yourself adjust to your new life in Melbourne. Try some of these:
Learn More About Australia and Its Customs
Many things about Australia will feel foreign and strange but the more you explore its culture the more you will understand its people. Australians tend to be very friendly so don’t be afraid to ask questions. This will also be a great way to improve your English skills and meet new people.
There’s so much to do in Melbourne and Geelong. Explore all your new life has to offer both on and off campus. Go on excursions, to museums. Find a good local café and try new foods.
Reach out and Get to Know People
Starting life in a new country can be a lonely time if you don’t know many people on campus. If you’re feeling shy and you’re not sure how to start making friends remember that everyone starts campus life feeling awkward and scared. Reach out and be proactive. Initiate conversations. Start a study group. Getting involved with clubs and participating in social events and activities can be another great way to meet other people who are in the same position as you.
You will meet many people from different cultures and backgrounds who are all going through the same experience. Try to stay open minded to new situations and experiences. It will take time but you will find your tribe.
Take Care of Yourself
It may sound silly but with all this change you are facing, it’s often easy to forget the simple things such as getting enough sleep and eating well. Often feelings of sadness and anxiety seem worse if you are run down and tired.
It is important during this time that you eat a balanced diet, get regular exercise and to try and sleep well.
There are gyms and sporting facilities on all Deakin College Campuses as well as beautiful places to walk or run. Make sure to get outside and stay active.
Keep a Sense of Home
Just because you are now living in Australia, doesn’t man you need to leave home behind completely. Make sure you keep some of the rituals and habits you had at home. This may be as simple as eating your favourite meal from home once a week, or sharing some of your cultural rituals and stories with your new friends.
It will also help to communicate with your friends and family back at home. They will want to know about your new life, the challenges you are facing and all the new experiences you are having. Staying connected will help if you are feeling lonely.
Your Rights and Responsibilities
As an international student, you are responsible for meeting your visa conditions and following Australian laws. There are many laws to protect you during your time in Australia and most of these laws also apply equally to Australian citizens, residents and other temporary visa holders.
International students in Australia are protected by the Education Services for Overseas Students Act (ESOS Act). ESOS provides consumer protection for international students on a student visa, aims to enhance the quality of the student experience and protects the student visa program.
Find out more about ESOS and what it means for you.
Get to Know the Resources on Campus
Deakin College understands what new students to Australia go through and there are many support resources in place to help. It’s vital during this time you make sure you are aware of all the support that is available to you on campus.
The Medical Centre and Counsellors both offer good support if you need somebody to talk to and some help creating some strategies to deal with what you are going through. There are also many study groups, mentoring programs and academic support systems which can help if you are struggling with your new work load.