Accepting your offer and enrolling are just the first step in being ready for uni. Before you start, find out what else you need to know to have the best possible start at Western Sydney University.
Knowing the important uni dates is crucial to succeeding as a student. Make sure you know what's coming up and what you need to do to prepare.
Uni is about more than classes, study and assessments. There are tonnes of ways to get involved and enrich your student experience at Western Sydney University.
The University provides a wide range of services that are free for students to access. Services include skills workshops, disability assistance, counselling and welfare support. There's also a student advocate, campus safety and security and online services including eCounselling (for answers about personal and study issues) and 'The Desk' (a tool box for success and wellbeing) that you can access.
Westen Sydney University Careers can help you with getting work, work experience and your long term career goals.
The Multifaith Chaplaincy service provides facilities to meet and pray, an opportunity to mix with other students from the same religious background, as well as spiritual guidance.
Starting university study has many unknowns and setting goals of the things you want to achieve can help keep you motivated and give you a sense of certainty. Make sure your goals are achievable and meet all your needs (including your study and non-study life).
An example of a short term goal is to set up a comfortable study area, free of distractions. A medium term goal might be achieving a credit or better in your first year of study. A long term goal might be achieving your career goals.
Learn new skills and aim to become more self sufficient. Whether you live at home, with friends or on your own, university is an opportunity to become more self sufficient and independent. Be open to learning new skills like cooking, cleaning, public speaking, computer programs, hobbies and sports. There's some really good advice in the NSW government's Consumer Guide, the guide is written for international students but the information is helpful for everyone.
Western Sydney University has five main campuses in different areas of Western Sydney. These are vibrant areas with a range of recreational and entertainment options. Check the local news paper or the local council's website to find out what's happening in the community.
Living and studying in Australia can be very expensive. The costs for food, transport, accommodation and socialising can easily get out of control. Be aware of how much money you have, how much you can spend per week/month/session and plan how to get the most value for your money. It's also beneficial looking into money saving tips like taking your lunch from home, using carpooling, living in student residences or share accommodation. The money matters webpage has some great ways to stay on top of your budget and money saving tips. If you want to know more about budgeting or are experiencing financial difficulties contact the Student Welfare Service.
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 Speech Active, an online course based on your first language - find out and get started more at our Careers site.
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:
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 beforehand 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.
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!
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.
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.
It's ok to ask for help when you need it. There are services at the University and in the community to help you.