Studying abroad provides exciting opportunities to experience life in a different country and to create memories that will last a lifetime.
Adapting to a new cultural environment may involve learning new social customs, experiencing a different climate, eating different foods and establishing new friendships and support networks. For some students, speaking and writing in English full-time is a new and positive learning experience. Adjusting to anything new takes time and it is normal for students to feel stressed, overwhelmed or homesick during the first few weeks of the semester. The strategies listed below may be helpful to you as you adjust to living on the Sunshine Coast and studying at USC.
Familiarise yourself with your local neighbourhood and the University campus.
Spend time outside and observe people around you. Some students tell us this can be helpful when trying to understand social practiced and habits. Don't be afraid to ask questions if there are things you don't understand.
Make an effort to meet people and become involved in activities either on campus or within the wider community. Developing friendships and joining groups is a great way to experience and learn about the Australian way of life.
Use the English language as much as possible. Read the local newspapers and watch television to further develop your understanding of how the language is used in the Australian culture. Ask the staff at International Student Services about the support available to you to assist with academic writing and language skills development.
If your cultural background is very different from the Australian way of life, it is inevitable that you will make a mistake or two. It helps to be able to laugh about these situations, to remind yourself that it takes time to understand different social, cultural or educational practices and that it's OK to make mistakes!
Send photos of where you live, places you visit and people you meet, so that friends and loved ones can share your experiences.
Find some physical activity that you enjoy. Exercise is an effective way to reduce stress and balance mood. Ensure that you eat healthily and get enough sleep.
Find a healthy balance between study and leisure activities. Placing too much pressure on yourself to achieve can lead to high levels of stress, anxiety and other health problems. It is very important to allow your mind and body the opportunity to relax on a regular basis.
- Get involved in some of the on-campus activities or join a student club or society.
- Join in the tourist/sight-seeing off-campus activities organised by USC Student Guild.
Information about on-campus activities, clubs and societies is available at Activities and events.
Five students from five different continents tell us how they adapted to a brand new culture when they first came to study abroad.
Studying abroad: culture shock YouTube video
- Support for international students outlines a range of support options
- Make an appointment with the Student Wellbeing Counselling Service to discuss any personal problems you may be experiencing.
- Talk to your tutor or lecturer about any assessment or course work concerns.
- Access our Academic Writing and Study Skills programs.
- Access the Uni Club and USC Student Guild for Tenancy and accommodation support.
- Check out the great range of sporting activities offered by USC Sport. The USC gym is located on the ground floor of the Health and Sport Centre (beside the Sports Stadium). Details of membership fees, sporting and fitness activities can be found at USC Sport.
- Get helpful tips on creating a balanced lifestyle, reducing stress and other Health and Wellbeing resources.
- Make an appointment to talk with one of the counsellors if you are experiencing ongoing symptoms of homesickness, stress, anxiety or depression. Contact Counselling services for an appointment.