What Support Services Are Available to International Students in Australia?
Studying overseas is an exciting chapter in anyone’s life as it’s a time full of new experiences. You’ll make new friends, learn new things and face new challenges. Of course, for international students, one of these challenges is adapting to a new environment and way of life. With so much change, it’s completely normal to feel like you need a little extra support.
Whether you’re looking for advice on how to manage academic stress, putting together a resume or you’re seeking financial support, there is a range of services that will suit your needs. Let’s take a look at the different forms of support you’ll find through your education provider.
As a student, one of the most important support services available to you is academic support. Your education provider will most likely have a team of dedicated student support officers, many of whom are usually students themselves. As a result, they have a great understanding of your learning environment and the difficulties you might be facing. They can provide peer mentoring and point you in the direction of social activities and group learning opportunities.
Additionally, your education provider may offer tutoring services. In most cases, these involve one-on-one sessions with a tutor who personalises their guidance to you. They can help you understand concepts you’re struggling with, create study plans and help you prepare for exams.
For instance, at the Sydney Institute of Business and Technology (SIBT), international students have access to a wide range of academic support services, including maths support, peer mentoring and pre-university support programs.
Whether you need help creating a resume or you’re preparing for a job interview, your education provider will be able to guide you through the process. Common employment support services include employment seminars, job fairs, career planning advice, networking tips, mock interview activities and resume-writing workshops. Some education providers will also be able to provide you with access to a job portal or job boards so you can explore current job opportunities.
Personal and wellbeing support
Counselling, mental health support, medical assistance and first aid are just some of the personal and wellbeing support services available to you as an international student. If you are ever feeling overwhelmed or stressed, you can seek mental health support via your education provider. For example, SIBT offers counselling services in which student counsellors listen to your concerns and provide tailored advice. They can help you with a wide range of topics, from learning a new language to LGTBQIA+ support.
Similarly, if you ever feel unwell or have been injured, your education provider will likely have trained medical professionals on campus. You will be able to find details specific to your education provider on its website or at its reception.
Student fees, debts and scholarships aren’t always easy to understand. Luckily, your institution will be able to help you make sense of your finances. They can help you understand how to pay your tuition fees and suggest other resources you can consult for additional financial support, such as grants and scholarships. In addition to recommending any relevant grants and scholarships, the financial support team may even help you with the application process to improve your chances of success.
Safety and security
Your safety is always your education provider’s highest priority. In general, campuses will have some form of 24-hour security, whether it’s video surveillance or a security team that performs regular patrols. Campus security teams are there to help if you notice suspicious behaviour, if you’ve lost personal belongings or if you have any other safety-related concerns. Some campus security teams also offer escort services to walk you home or to your car if you’re on campus late at night.
Disability support services make learning accessible for students with physical, developmental and/or learning disabilities. Some education providers, such as SIBT, have hearing loops fitted in their classrooms to accommodate students who are hearing impaired. Other examples of adjustments to make learning more accessible include assessment extensions, assistive technology and modified exam arrangements. Your education provider will likely have a team of staff members dedicated to making learning accessible for all students.
Read more: An International Student Guide to Living in Australia with a Disability
While you’re bound to make friends in your classes, you might find that joining a club or a student society offers an extra level of social support. Most education providers have committees that can guide you towards clubs or volunteering groups that suit your interests. You might even find that there are clubs made up of other students from your home country!
Clubs often host regular events to bring their members together, which is an excellent way to form new friendships and relieve any academic stress you might be feeling.