Settling in Australia - 10 practical tips

10 practical things you can do

1. Allow yourself time to settle in.

Get to know Sydney, your local neighbourhood, your University campus and be sure to familiarise yourself with the International Orientation page.

2. Watch, listen and learn.

Spend time outside your accommodation and observe how people around you interact with each other. Check out information on Living in Australia to get more tips.

3. Work on your English.

Use English as much as possible. Try reading the newspaper and watching TV to get a good idea of how English is used in Australian culture. Taking every opportunity to speak with Australian students is also really helpful. The more practice you get the more confident you'll be.

Western Sydney University offers International students free access to Star pronunciation, an online course based on your first language - find out and get started more at UWS Careers.

4. Get involved.

Make an effort to meet people and get involved in activities on campus or the wider community. Try and be open to new experiences by joining groups and making friends. Developing a social group is the best way to learn about Australian culture and will mean you have a more enjoyable time living and studying in Australia. You could volunteer in a community group or try out one of these ideas to get you started:

5. Be aware of your safety.

Make sure you're aware of unsafe places and know how to minimise risks. Plan what you want to do and how you plan to do it before hand so you're prepared.

On campus, Campus Safety & Security is available 24 hours a day, every day. There are emergency contact points, security cameras and regular security patrols on every campus. Please also read the tips for International student safety.

6. Keep your sense of fun!

Remember, it's ok to make mistakes. When you live in a new culture it's common to have situations where you may feel you've made a mistake. Australian students are also likely to make mistakes because they don't understand your culture. The best thing to do in those situations is to acknowledge it and laugh about it - usually offence is not intended!

7. Maintain contact with family and friends at home.

Being in a different country may feel lonely at times so it's important to stay in touch with the people who care about you at home. Use email, Skype, the phone or social media to talk. Send photos of where you live, places that you visit and the people you meet - sharing your experiences makes it easier for them to support you and your studies.

You might also find that maintaining some of the routines and rituals of your home country, like celebrating national events or religious customs is helpful.

8. Take the pressure down.

Having a healthy balance between study, work and leisure activities is really important. Putting too much pressure on yourself to succeed can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety and can lead to other mental health and wellbeing problems. Having a good balance and healthy lifestyle actually improves academic performance. Find out more about achieving a healthy balance at the Mental Health and Wellbeing site.

9. Exercise, rest and eat well.

A healthy lifestyle is important for stress management and good academic performance. There are gyms(opens in new window) on most campuses that have discounted rates for students.

10. Find out what services are available.

It's ok to ask for help when you need it. There are services at the University  and in the community to help you.
  • For advice on visa matters when changing your enrolment, financial assistance, help with University policies and procedures and referral to other services contact the Welfare service.
  • Talk to your tutor or lecturer about any concerns you have with work or assessments for your units or consider peer-assisted study in the PASS program.
  • Check out the free workshops available that can help you with your academic and life skills.
  • Find out about internship and other employment opportunities through Careers.
  • Check out the range of student support including Welfare, Counselling and Disabilities services at the Services and Facilities webpage.