Studying overseas offers great opportunities, but it also means leaving behind your home, your family, your friends, your comfort zone.
With all the effort of moving out and settling into a new place, how do you get the most out of your university experience? How do you, not only survive, but actually enjoy your time at university?
- Study tip: Start your assessments early
Giving yourself plenty of time to do assessments is an important habit to start getting into from your first year. You don’t want to go down the path of submitting your assignments late and incurring penalties. University is different from high school and college, and so too are the assessment structures: they’re stricter! So keep that in mind and start your assessments in advance. This includes not waiting until the last minute to choose a topic, clarifying any questions you have about it, and identifying the resources you need to complete it.
If this sounds daunting, there’s no need to worry as the ANU offers a lot of resources to help you, such as the Academic Skills and Learning Centre, which offers writing support. CASS has also launched a new Peer Assisted Learning mentor program, which can help you more generally with your assignments and studies.
- Join and get yourself active in student societies!
Getting involved in student societies is one of the best ways to make friends at university. Making friends through student societies is easy as you are sharing an experience with people who already have a common interest. Being a committee member of a society also helps to keep you busy as societies hold events, and lets you build valuable organisational experience.
Being involved in student societies is a great way to show people that you are involved in the community and outside of your university, which will be a great asset for the future.
- Interact with your convenors and tutors
Convenors and tutors are an important part of the learning process at university, so make sure to get the most out of them by engaging with them. This can be after a lecture, after a tutorial, during their consultation session, or if you see them around.
Interacting with your convenors and tutors not only improves your engagement with the materials, but it also makes yourself known to them and puts a face to the name. Getting to know them means they can let you know about events that are relevant to your interests and studies, enhance your knowledge about certain topics, network with other academics, and provide references.
- Try your hand at a casual job
Feel like your university and society commitments are not enough to keep you busy? Take advantage of the 20-hour work limit on your student visa and apply for a casual job!
This can be done anywhere: on-campus, at a restaurant, at a cafe, at a festival; absolutely anywhere. Other than the relatively high hourly wages (Australia is ranked very well in terms of countries with casual worker rates), the experience and the skills that you gain are priceless. Casual jobs can also help with improving your conversational English skills and getting to know more about everyday Australians and their culture, as you would usually be placed in a casual setting where conversations are more likely to flow naturally.
- Finally, enjoy yourself and travel around Australia!
As an international student, you only get a limited time period to spend in Australia, so why not make the most of it by travelling this big country/micro-continent? As Australia is not separated by sea – with the exception of Tasmania – it is extraordinarily easy to travel this country by car.
As you would probably know by now, the major city closest to Canberra is vibrant Sydney, which only takes 3 hours to travel to by car. You can even head to the beach, to the NSW South Coast where warm and sunny beaches are only two hours away. If you want to get the most of your time in Australia, travelling around the country is one of the most interactive ways to understand its culture and heritage.
Keep these tips in mind and you will be enjoying your studies at the ANU in no time!