Being an international student opens so many doors and gives you opportunities that you would not get back home.
You get to immerse yourself in a new culture, learn your career skills in a new country, explore a world different (sometimes completely) to what you know and so much more.
Something many most fondly remember from their time as an international student is the people they meet – these friendships can last a lifetime AND with friends all over the world there is always someone to visit when you travel!
That being said, you can feel out of your comfort zone in a new land and it isn’t always easy to find and make these friends.
Here are some tips to help you find friends in your new home away from home.
Don’t miss Orientation Week
You are one of MANY students that may not know anyone else at university so participate in as many Orientation Week activities as you can! There will be other international students who are a world away from home along with locals who are from other cities and have moved to the city and just as keen to make new friends as you are! This week is all about meeting new students and settling in so don’t be shy, introduce yourself!
Meet new students at Orientation Week!
Join a club or society
All universities have a range of clubs, societies and activities to suit everyone! You can get involved with sports, performing arts, public speaking, singing, volunteering and more. One of the benefits of joining a club or society is that you will instantly have something in common with your friends-to-be! You can usually sign up during orientation week but if you missed out you can visit the university website to find out more about joining!
Join a sports club – it’ll help you get fit, give you routine and new friends!
If English isn’t your first language, practice it with anyone and everyone! This will give you more confidence to approach new people and make it easier to find new friends. You can even teach your English-speaking friends some words and phrases in your first language so you’re both (sort of) multi-lingual!
Join the university’s social media pages to keep up to date with events and join student groups / pages. If it’s a group, you can chat with other members and you’ll be in the know about get-togethers, study sessions and more! You can even initiate them!
Sit next to someone in a lecture!
Approach your classmates
Don’t sit alone in a lecture just because you don’t know anyone – sit next to your classmates and chat to them about the course and the assessments (not while the lecturer is speaking of course!). You could try sitting next to someone new every now and then to help you get to know them and…
Start a study group
If you’ve ever watched Community, you’ll see that a study group can become your closest friends! (Because if it’s on TV it must be realistic, right?) Although the study group may be light on the study and heavy on the chatter at times!
Meet new friends in class and become study buddies!
You’re new to the city – explore it! Ask the locals to show you around and explore your new home city with fellow out-of-towners. Locals can show you the best places to eat, have a drink, shop and more! You’ll get to see the sites and get to know your new friends at the same time – win win!
You can make friends for life from all over the world!
Host a feast
The way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach – showcase your local cuisine and cooking skills by hosting a dinner! It’s common for another guest to put their hand up to host the next get together at one of these, so it’s a good way to start the ball rolling on fortnightly rotating dinner plans!
Everybody loves food!
Last but not least ‘shy’ is no longer in your vocabulary
Don’t be shy – make it your purpose to introduce yourself to others, put yourself out there and participate in activities that you’ve never done before.
They say that strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet so make that your motto with your fellow university students!
One of the most difficult parts of student life can be budgeting… as a full-time student, every dollar counts!
Here are some handy hints to stretch your money as far as possible!
It’s still good!
1.Reduced stickers are your best friend
That fresh loaf of bread at the supermarket with the Reduced sticker on it is just as good as the branded one in the bread aisle! Figure out when your local supermarket starts putting reduced stickers on the milk/bread/meat and you will save a fair amount of money on products that still have a few days of use in them. You can always freeze them for later if you don’t want to eat/drink it straight away!
2. Cheap Tuesdays
The cheap Tuesday phenomenon is widespread – from pizza places and pubs to the movies, establishments offer discounts, 2 for 1 deals and more!
Check your phone plans perks for movies too – some have affiliations with certain cinema chains and you can get tickets for almost half price – cheaper than your student discount.
A number of pizza chains have $5 pizzas* on a Tuesday… that could be lunch AND dinner for $2.50 a meal! Bargain!
*Not advisable every Tuesday – it’s not the healthiest option!
University events are a goldmine for free food!
3. University events
Keep an eye out for your university’s events – not only can you meet new people but you could score a free feed!
4. Borrow text books
Text books can be a HUGE expense at the beginning of each semester, but they don’t have to be! Borrow from the library to save hundreds of dollars on a book that you will either never look at again or be selling at the end of the course. If you do need to buy the books, consider purchasing second hand textbooks.
Many establishments offer discounts to students – be it for food, products clothing or entertainment. Keep your student card on you at all times to take advantage of every student discount you can find!
6. ‘Free’ tea
Every time you meet friends for coffee you’re probably forking out between $3 and $6 and this can add up quickly! Buy a box of tea bags and take them with you – A cup of hot water should be free and all you need to enjoy a beverage when you’re out! (You could be even more environmentally friendly and bring your own travel mug around!)
7. Apply for scholarships
While this is more about helping financially rather than saving money, a scholarship could make a world of difference! Universities have a lot of scholarships to offer, all you need to do is apply.
Buy rice in bulk!
8. Buy in bulk
Buy your toiletries and non-perishables in bulk. A big bag of rice or pasta will last a long time and you can cook up a giant batch and freeze it! Get a few friends together and buy household items in bulk and split the cost – this is where a friend with a Costco membership comes in handy!
Ramen and two minutes noodles aren’t always the best form of nutrition, but add an egg to make egg drop soup and you’ve got some protein with your tasty, cheap meal! Adding tofu and vegetables can also make the simple meal a whole lot heartier!
Education is one of the most important professions as teachers are responsible for molding the minds of the future generations!
At ACU, our teaching and education courses will see you graduate with an in-demand qualification from a range of diverse programs across early childhood, primary and secondary – including inclusive and disability education and leadership development.
ACU has a long history of producing quality graduate teachers. Our strong links with partner schools and sector organisations give a practical edge to our courses.
Hear from some of ACU’s students who are studying Education!
Davina Balaghee – Master of Teaching (Secondary).
I have been teaching in Mauritius and wanted to keep the same profession in Australia. I’m very passionate about teaching – I want to make a difference in students’ lives. I want to facilitate the learning of science since it is a complex subject. I believe, from my personal experiences, if you know your content and you know how to teach it using various strategies, then teaching is for you.
Studying Education at ACU… I’ve enjoyed all the fun activities done in class from group tasks to presentations and field works to dissections in science units. I have found many opportunities to participate in, for instance I was the science mentor for a science fair run by ‘MyScience program’, which definitely enriched my university experience.
The staff, were extremely kind, helpful and approachable. More importantly, I was awarded a certificate for excellent academic results by the Golden Key International Society from ACU, which is a great opportunity to receiving scholarships for further studies. I’m very grateful to my very dedicating lecturers, especially my science lecturers. I feel like I made the right choice about studying at ACU.
Teaching in Australia and Mauritius… I did my prac in three catholic schools (all boys, all girls and co-educational) and it was very informative and I have learnt a lot from them, in terms of teaching the NSW syllabus. I have done a Cambridge syllabus in Mauritius and it is quite different to the one in Australia. Initially I found it hard, but being very ambitious and a quick learner, I could manage. My supervising teachers were of great help.
In Australia, use of ICT is mandatory in teaching and many teachers make use of digital technologies which is a huge advantage as compared to Mauritius.
During my prac, I found it much easier to teach using ICT rather than using the traditional methods. Also, here, teaching is more student-centred rather than teacher-centred. Mauritius is gradually moving towards that.
Stefani Purnomo -Master of Education (Special Education)
Why do you want to be a teacher?
I love facilitating people to empower their potential and achieve their best, even though it sometimes can be a difficult job to do, but the results are usually worth the effort.
Studying education at ACU…
I have learnt that you have to be proactive. And from the lecturers, especially for my career as an educator, I’ve learnt that in order to make students learn more effectively, you need to model what you teach.
The lecturers are supportive and understanding about our diverse backgrounds. They tried their best to cater for the needs of all students. So the lecturers actually practice what they teach (because in my course, we learn a lot about inclusive education).
In my course, most of my classmates have been in the teaching field for a long time. It was very interesting listening to their teaching experiences, which gave me more concrete examples about the topic we were learning.
I’m volunteering at a special school nearby where I can get some experience in the education system. The biggest difference I could see in the school (which is in contrast to schools in my home country) is probably the non- “one-size-fits-all” system in which every student may receive different adjustments (in terms of tasks, instructions, etc.) according to their needs and be included in the learning process regardless of the disabilities or learning difficulties they have.
Hear from Nina from Sri Lanka who studies a Bachelor of Education (Primary)
and Dioniso from Timor-Leste studies a Master of Education
ACU International nursing student Yanan Wei was invited to join a Global Clinical Observership Program at the University of Miami in the USA in early 2016.
Yanan, Angela, Caitlyn, Chesney, Christine, Eleanor, Katherine and Stephanie.
The third year students learnt what it was like to work in a hospital and Yanan even witnessed open heart surgery.
Yanan shares her exchange experience:
Yanan at the Holtz Children’s Hospital
On this journey, I met seven fantastic Australian girls including the clinical educator, Geraldine Rebeiro.
I would like to take this opportunity to share my own experience with you, and hopefully it can inspire and motivate you to reach your own goals as well.
Our first day started with orientation in the University of Miami. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised with how massive their college campuses were. During the day, we visited the simulation rooms, clinical labs and both public and private hospitals for the following placement. I am here to introduce to you the University of Miami Hospital and The Holtz Children’s Hospital (under the Jackson Health).
The University of Miami Hospital is the only university-owned and operated teaching hospital in Florida. They have 560 beds and have their own private physicians working side by side with the UM faculty physicians to provide the most comprehensive care for patients.
The simulation study.
The Holtz Children’s Hospital is one of the largest children’s hospitals in the southeast of the United Sates. They are known worldwide for their team of paediatric specialists who are experienced in treating children with all types of needs – from routine care to life-saving procedures.
Now, I would like to start the story of our two days’ simulation study in the University of Miami. The University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies has over 60 years of history. They have set the standard of excellence as a pioneer in the healthcare education. As a world class center for healthcare education and scholarships, their curriculum integrates evidence based practice, cutting edge simulated learning and real world experience.
On the first day, we participated in simulation cases for emergency care with UM’s nursing practitioner students. The ‘patient’ was admitted to the ED. He had a gunshot injury and required urgent surgery to stop the bleeding. I was deeply impressed as the whole simulation looks amazingly real, my friends and I enjoyed this experience as we discussed it throughout the trip.
The simulation study went for the first two days
Apart from the two days spent on the simulation study, we spent the rest of our days in the hospital. Every day we went to different wards and observed and learned from our buddy nurses. My first rotation was in the pre-operative unit. In this rotation, I met my first American friend, Nurse Guerda.
She is a very kind and friendly lady who offered me an opportunity to observe a cardiac surgery, which was a Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). That was the first time I spent five hours in the operating theater and observed an open-heart surgery. I was impressed by everyone’s knowledge, clinical skills and team work.
Yanan with the staff in Miami
In that moment, I knew I made the right decision to be a nurse, to be a part of the nursing staff and the healthcare team one day.
Here, I also met my buddy nurses: the circulating nurse Mike and the scrub nurse Yani.
The next morning, I was located to the Interventional Radiology. I participated on some procedures like the balloon angioplasty, cholecystectomy, biopsy and nephrostomy. Once I put on my scrubs and walked into the operating room, the instant gratification of many procedures captivated me. During my break, I spent time with my buddy nurses and physicians. We discussed the cases and procedures and they kindly explained the cases and helped answer my questions.
The girls at Disneyland
Lastly, I want to share the most valuable thing I learned in this journey, which was friendship.
I am so pleased to have met seven amazing girls in this journey. Thank you to every single one of them: Angela, Caitlyn, Chesney, Christine, Eleanor, Katherine and Stephanie.
As an international student, this is the first trip I went to with domestic friends. In fact, we didn’t really know each other before the journey.
However, we started communicating through social media. Without a doubt, we got on very well throughout the trip.
In conclusion, I am so glad I joined in this short term oversea exchange program, this allows me make more friends and make my college life more fulfilling.
The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is the world’s most popular test for higher education and global migration. It tests four skills: listening, speaking reading and writing.
How is it scored?
The IELTS is reported on a 9-band scale. Scores range from 0 – did not attempt the test, to 9 – expert user with complete understanding of the English language. A score is given for each component of the test which is averaged to and rounded to give an overall band score.
Do I need an IELTS score to study at university?
For most universities in Australia – yes. If you want to study at an English-speaking university and your first language is not English, you will need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency to enrol in a course. At ACU, there are two ways of doing this. Students can provide evidence that they have successfully completed an assessable qualification where the medium of study was English, or they can provide evidence of their English proficiency in the form of IELTS, PTE, TOEFL or CAE.
What sections of the test are there?
Listening: Test-takers listen to four recordings of English speakers and then answer a series of questions. There are two monologues and two conversations. Assessors look for evidence of your ability to understand the main ideas and detailed factual information, the opinions and attitudes of speakers, the purpose of a comment and evidence of your ability to follow the development of ideas.
Reading: There are 40 questions in the reading section. You will be tested on a range of skills including gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognising writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose. There are three long pieces of text in the Academic test which are taken from books, magazines, journals and newspapers.
Writing: The writing section involves two tasks; topics are of general interest and responses must be in formal style.
In the first task you will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words.
In the second task you will need to write an essay in response to a problem, argument or a point of view.
Speaking: There are three parts to the speaking component of the test and your use of spoken English is recorded and assessed.
Part one involves general questions about yourself and familiar topics such as family, home, studies and interests and lasts about five minutes.
In part two you will be given a card that asks you to speak about a particular topic. You will have one minute to prepare and then you will speak about that topic for two minutes. The examiner then asks a few questions about that topic.
For the third part you will be asked more questions about the topic in part two and lasts about five minutes.
The IELTS is scored on a 9 band scale.
How long does the test take?
The IELTS takes two hours and 45 minutes. The Listening, Reading and Writing components of all IELTS tests are completed on the same day, with no breaks in between them, The Speaking component can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests.
The Listening section is 30 minutes, the Reading and Writing components are both an hour (60 minutes) each while the speaking section is between 11 and 14 minutes long.
How do I take the test?
There are more than 1100 test locations world-wide so you should be able to find one that’s close by! To take the IELTS, you must register and pay online or fill in a form to take to your nearest test centre. Once you’ve booked you will receive confirmation and the time and date of your test.
How long is my score valid?
Most institutions and organisations accept an IELTS score taken within two years.
How can I prepare for my IELTS Test?
Surround yourself with English! Read in English, listen to podcasts, watch TV shows in English, engage in conversation with English speakers and practice your speaking, reading, listening and writing skills.
ACU’s business programs have an international focus, preparing students for a global career.
The courses are developed in consultation with sector leaders and our academics are active in the business world, ensuring what students learn is up to date with industry needs.
Graduates will be able to advance their career through a postgraduate award that leads to enhanced professional recognition, or a higher degree by research, and potentially an academic or research future in their chosen field.
As part of the course, students undertake workplace-based, or industry-related research projects. This will extend their learning into practical investigation and analysis of relevance to their future career and professional interests.
Graduates will have a sound understanding of corporate governance, business ethics and their chosen specialisation which equips them to gain employment as a well-rounded, knowledgeable and skilled professionals.
Students complete 240 credit points comprised of core units, professional stream units, elective units or research units from their major plus 140 credit points from the Business Administration core units.
The Master of Commerce has a common first semester for all majors. Students are not committed to take any specific major at commencement of the course, but will be required to do so on completion of the first four units. Therefore, students have an opportunity to change their mind about their preferred major.
Human Resources Director
Social Marketing/e-Marketing Director
ACU’s industry-accredited courses mean graduates will be eligible for senior membership with the Australian Human Resources Institute as well as memberships with the Australian Computer Society and other peak bodies dependent on the subjects of study.
Can I apply if I don’t meet the academic requirements?
In special circumstances, applicants who do not meet the requirements of Bachelor Degree in a related discipline; or Bachelor degree in a different discipline and evidence of substantial industry experience; or Postgraduate award of at least four units but who have a sound and sufficient basis for application can apply directly to the Course Co-ordinator.
Applicants must provide a portfolio demonstrating that their knowledge, experience and skills are such that they are likely to succeed in the program.
“I was traveling around the world, at the same time I am a writer. To write about my opinion in Chinese, it’s necessarily to improve my English to communicate and write in both in English and Chinese, so when I saw this scholarship, it was absolutely suitable for me!” Amber says.
Amber says she found the scholarship opportunity when there was only a day left to apply, so she had to rush her application.
“I didn’t have enough time to edit my video, you had to upload a one minute video to introduce yourself.”
“For the online interview I was in a Hong Kong hostel with really weak Wi-Fi. I was planning to travel from Hong Kong to Beijing, North Korea, Mongolia, then hitchhike from Russia through to Europe,” Amber says.
“Then after one month they announced I got a ticket to study in Australia – I got the email just before I went to Mongolia for an 18 day tour without any signal, how lucky!
“I was so excited because I have never had a chance to study overseas.”
On Australia compared to home…
Taiwan is a small island, but we have same population as Australia. People are more relaxed here and spend a lot of time at outdoor events every weekend. I was living in the capital Taipei; normally we go to cinema or karaoke, night market – these are the main differences.
I have been here six years ago, on a working holiday when I was 19 and I am still amazed about eatable kangaroo meats!
New friends in Brisbane. Photo: Amber Liang
I am enjoying Brisbane! I am trying to do different things here, I go fishing in the kangaroo point and go climbing, or do some busking (henna tattoo) in King George Square. I also go to Stradbroke island or South Bank Beach and go to Sunday market on the weekend.
I like the ACU Brisbane Campus with a lot of natural plants, the swimming pool, big trees including the jacaranda trees here (sometimes I like to climb the tree) and crazy birds.
Amber enjoys climbing the trees in Brisbane
The EAP course is really helping me, the teachers and classmates are so nice. I am learning more than before.
When I am writing my sentences, the teacher makes sure my grammar is correct and it’s really helpful.
I think my English is not bad as I thought, so I will write more articles both in English and Chinese.
Amber says she is feeling more confident with her English skills
How would you describe ACU to your friends and family back home?
I will recommend ACU as it has the best nursing course and really, really, nice staff and the English class is awesome and better than others!
These opportunities are not just available to domestic students – international students can study the Core overseas as a part of their ACU experience too!
So it is possible to study your degree in Australia and a second country at ACU.
We spoke to two international students who studied The Core Curriculum in Beijing and Paris – and loved every minute of it!
Vinston studied The Core in Paris.
Bachelor of Commerce student Vinston Fungsi from Indonesia spent a few weeks in Paris, studying and sightseeing and says the experience changed his life.
Vinston says that one of the many reasons he chose to undertake The Core in Paris was the opportunity to share knowledge about his cultural background and learn more about communities around the world.
Vinston saw the sights while he studied The Core.
“I am extremely grateful to have completed a study abroad experience through ACU’s Core Curriculum UNCC300,” Vinston says.
“The program definitely made me aware of how far I am able to stretch myself out and change the way I think about the world and myself.”
He says by studying the Core in Paris, it allowed him to learn another language, become a better student, involve his family in the program and find a second family.
Vinston in Paris
“ACU placed me with amazing hosts and friends, allowing me to forge countless friendships with people from all over the world.
“These are just a few ways that being an international student studying abroad changed my life. The experiences I have and the bonds I form while living away from familiarity and far out of my comfort zone in a foreign country are unlike anything else I have ever experienced.”
“Study abroad gave me the opportunity to travel, and traveling has allowed me to form some of the best friendships in my life,” Vinston says.
Vinston says studying abroad allowed him to forge countless friendships with people from all over the world.
“My advice to everyone is ’just do it’ and embrace the experience you will have while you are there.”
Alvaro studied The Core in Beijing.
Biomedical Sciences student Alvaro Rezende from BraziI chose to study The Core in Beijing and learnt a lot about Chinese culture.
He says he loves traveling and exploring different cultures so he decided to combine his studies with travel.
Alvaro on The Great Wall of China
“I went to Beijing during our winter break (to escape from the cold). Shanghai was by far the best part of the trip and I got to know and to understand so much about China which was fascinating,” Alvaro says.
“I also made some really good friends who I will take with me for the rest of my life.”
Alvaro in Beijing
Alvaro says he was happy that ACU gave him the opportunity to develop his career by offering short study abroad programs.
“I would strongly encourage anyone to apply for the Beijing Core Program and enjoy this experience which will contribute to your future.”