There are many benefits of studying abroad but it also comes with few challenges as an international student.
In this article, we’re going to discuss about the Top 11 challenges you might face as an international student in Australia and strategies on how to overcome them
We divide these challenges into three main categories:
- Study related challenges
- Work related challenges
- Life related challenges
What's in this guide ?
- Studies related challenges
- 1. Differences between education system
- 2. Understanding lectures or lecturers
- Work related challenges
- 3 .Finding work
- 4. Difference between workplace cultures
- 5. Exploitation at the workplace
- Life related challenges
- 6. Finding Accommodation
- 7. Sharing house with others
- 8. Australian etiquette and rules
- 9. Finding a Work-life balance
- 10. Feeling Home Sick
- 11. Settling in Australia
1. Differences between education system
When you are planning to study in any other country, it’s common that you will see some differences between the education system of the country and your home country.
This can create some sort of challenges for you as an international student in a new country.
So the challenges could be regarding understanding your homework, your assessment, exams understanding the concepts, the referencing or plagiarism.
If you are facing challenges in regards to your studies there is help available. Most of the universities or institutions in Australia have a really good support system available for those students who are finding it difficult to study the course or having a learning difficulty.
So if you are facing any difficulty in regards to your studies we suggest you to contact the support office from your educational institute. They can arrange additional help like tutorials or one on one sessions with study buddies that can help you to understand the concepts better.
We also suggest you to make sure that you attend all your lectures and tutorials without skipping them, so you understand the concepts better.
2. Understanding lectures or lecturers
Sometime it can be very difficult for an international students to understand their lecturers or trainers or tutors because of the language barrier or different accent.
Some students can get frustrated with that they don’t understand the concepts and study well so they plan to change their courses after a while.
After the lecture or the tutorial is over, go and speak to your lecturer or trainer or tutor. You can basically thank them for the lecture or the tutorial that you just attended and then ask them general questions regarding your studies. Usually, lecturers and tutors are very friendly in nature.
It is a good idea to speak to your lecturer or tutor regarding the industry you are studying in and it’s a good starting point for you to start networking with the right people in your industry.
Usually your lecturers or tutors are professionals in the industry in Australia so you can make your first contact in industry by approaching them.
3 .Finding work
Finding work in Australia as an international student is a really difficult task and many international students face the same difficulty regarding finding work.
The best way to find the first work in Australia is through referrals. Referral is way of getting a recommendation by a friend or peer at their current or previous place of employment.
If you have someone who is already working in any industry and if they can refer you to the job, it is much easier to get a job. Our suggestion is to try to reach out to the people you already know in Australia and seek out some help from them.
If you don’t know anyone, then you would need to start networking with other people and try to find a job through referrals.
There are actually plenty of other ways of getting job as well. Check this video on 9 ways of finding work in Australia as an international student
4. Difference between workplace cultures
The other challenges you could face in regards to your work life is the difference in the work culture.
Obviously, the work culture in your country could be quite different to the one here in Australia. The way Australians like to work, schedule, etiquette and expectations might be different.
Again, understanding the language of your co-workers of your managers or even customers can be challenging for you at the beginning, especially if you don’t speak English well.
In regards to adjustment to the work culture and language, it will take few weeks and months but you will be able to get hold of the things and start understanding accent and language once you here for a while.
You can take short English course, watch English movies or share a house with native English speakers to improve your English skills.
You can also ask for help from your work colleagues or supervisors if you are not understanding something at work.
5. Exploitation at the workplace
Unfortunately, some international students do face exploitation at work in Australia. Although, it is illegal to exploit any worker in Australia but some businesses tend to exploit international students because of their visa limitations.
To deal with this sort of situation, we suggest you to check Fairwork Australia’s website. It is important that you understand your work rights even before you start working.
If you face exploitation at work, make sure to reach out to FairWork Australia as soon as possible as there is help available for international students.
You can read this article on how to avoid exploitation at work in Australia.
6. Finding Accommodation
Like finding a job, finding accommodation can be also bit challenging especially if you are planning to look for a cheaper accommodation.
To save money on rental costs, many international students choose to share accommodation with other people.
You can look for shared accommodation on various platforms like Gumtree, Facebook groups, flatmates etc.
7. Sharing house with others
Sometimes sharing a house with other people can be really difficult, especially if they don’t have same understanding like you. Obviously, every human being is different and everyone lives their life differently.
Some of the challenges could be regarding their cleaning style or the cooking style or partying in the house or the common areas usage issues.
To avoid that, we suggest you to communicate effectively and make rules from the beginning, so everyone knows what to do, what not to do from the start.
We also suggest to check this video on how to be a good housemate in a shared accommodation:
8. Australian etiquette and rules
Understanding the rules, regulations, systems, general manners, etiquette and Australian way of living life can be challenging to adapt for some students.
You will come across and work or live with local Australians. Dealing with them means you have to understand the accent or slang and sometime it can be a bit challenging to understand that.
We strongly recommend you to understand these rules, regulations and systems because the fines here are phenomenally high. If you breach any sort of law here you could be getting a huge penalty for that.
If you are not sure about the rules and regulations here in Australia, we suggest you to attend orientation that is provided by your educational institute. Usually they cover information regarding life in Australia in those orientation sessions.
If they don’t cover that in the orientation session, then you should also look for some information on their website or government websites or on our website as well.
9. Finding a Work-life balance
Another challenge that many international students face is to manage the study work life balance.
As a student, you will not only be studying but you will have to juggle between a part-time work and socialising with other people and managing all these three things at one time can be really really tough.
In order to overcome this situation, we suggest you to make a weekly planner or a to-do list that will help you to keep track of the things.
It will also help you to focus on the things that you need to complete each week. There are many apps available these days for productivity. P.S (We really love Notion.so for managing our time).
So, whether it is regarding meeting friends or your studies or work, you will know all the deadlines and every important thing to keep track and make plans for them. Period!
10. Feeling Home Sick
Homesickness is another common issue among international students. You will be away from your family and friends back home and most likely you’re going to miss them which is very common thing for any human being.
To overcome homesickness, we suggest you to make sure you stay in touch with your family and friends back home. Call them regularly and update them about your personal life here, how’s your life going and ask them as well what’s happening in their life.
Send them photos regularly and ask them to do the same. Social media is certainly a great way to keep connected with friends and family back home.
Again, there are plenty of other apps available to keep in touch with your family back home.
11. Settling in Australia
Last but not the least, one of the biggest challenge that many international students face in Australia is regarding settling here.
After studying here for a while, many international students love Australia so much that they want to settle here for good and want to call Australia as their home.
Although we know that the primary aim of the student visa is just to study here but some students become eligible to apply their permanent residency after their studies through Australia’s skill select program.
In regards to overcoming this challenge, we suggest you to make sure to choose your course by consulting with a registered migration agent who can help you with your future careers plans in regards to your study and settling in Australia.
We hope you find this information regarding 11 challenges that international students face here in Australia and some strategies on how to overcome them as well.
If you are an international student, we would love to hear from you on what sort of challenges are you facing or faced previously. Looking forward to your comments below.