Learn conversational English
Learn to speak conversational English before you leave home. The language used by regular people isn’t always the same as the language you learn in a classroom or from a textbook, like IELTS or TOEFL or PTE. The speech people use when they talk to one another casually (informally) is called conversational English, or colloquial English. There are slight differences in the sound and even words between say Australian English and American English. This is important : you not only need it to understand your lecturers and tutors, but you also need conversational English in your social and daily interactions.
You need to be comfortable with independent study and research. While good support is always available to you at your selected university, do not expect to be spoon-fed your course content : you will ultimately be responsible for your own learning. This may come as quite a shock to many international students who are used to more traditional teaching methods.
Independence is not limited to study – you will also be living away from home. So, prepare yourself by learning to do your own shopping and all the essential daily activities and chores. Living in shared accommodation is a popular way to live amongst students : to have a good experience and to create a good communal environment, you will need to participate in a variety of activities in the form of cleaning your own areas but also a potential cleaning roster with your housemates, keep your own immediate area (as well as the communal areas) neat and tidy, preparing your own meals but also sharing your home cooking style with your flatmates, etc.
At a minimum, investigate your accommodation options, and ideally try to arrange your accommodation before you leave your country to study, so when you arrive at your destination, you already have the peace of mind that you have a home to live in. Finding last-minute accommodation can be a real a challenge, especially since you are also trying to adapt to a new environment. Here are important factors to consider when selecting your accommodation :
access to public transport
Secure a source of income
Try to arrange a job as soon as you arrive in your destination. By undertaking part-time or casual work, you will not only earn income to help support you financially, but it will give you the opportunity to interact with others and expand your social circle. Depending on your destination, as an international student on a student visa, you are generally permitted to work up to 20 hours a week; for example, restocking shelves in a supermarket or in a hardware store. You can use a number of employment websites to assist you in finding work.
It is compulsory to have health insurance OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover) : along with your confirmation of enrolment, health insurance is a condition of obtaining your visa. Our counsellors can help you with this – we invite you to enquire.
Set up your finances and tax
If you do intend to work, you will have to register with the authorities to complete any tax lodgements.
You will also need to set up a bank account. It is possible to set up a bank account in your destination, before you leave your country. Our counsellors can help you with this – we invite you to enquire.