Tips for the International Student: How to Stay Happy and Healthy While You Study Abroad

Tips for the International Student: How to Stay Happy and Healthy While You Study Abroad

While it may sound like a dream to study abroad, it can quickly turn into a nightmare if you’re not fully prepared for your new life in an unfamiliar culture. Let’s look at several ways in which international students can make things much easier on themselves.

To study abroad! The dream of many, and one that is realised by millions of people worldwide every year. Here in Australia there are close to one million international students studying and residing across the country during any given semester.

international student, study abroad, settle inn, st kilda, melbourne

Australia is a hugely popular destination for international students, as we lead the way on a global scale when it comes to education and reputation.

It’s a popular way to get educated, there’s no doubt about that, but why do so many people want to study abroad? Obviously it looks great on your resume, but it’s also a magnificent opportunity to grow yourself as a person, have a whole lot of fun, and make new friends while you do it. 

Yet, it’s not all one big party. Things can get serious if you don’t prepare yourself adequately, and take into consideration some heavily overlooked and undervalued aspects. 

Below we’ll discuss these aspects, and talk about things every international student can do to make their time studying abroad much more pleasant.

Socialise, Interact, Subscribe

You’ve got to get amongst it, anywhere you go, and especially here in Australia. Being social in the land Down Under is a big part of the culture and a great way to get accepted, and jumping into things feet first is a sure way to have a spectacular time. We get it, it’s hard sometimes, but taking a dare and really putting yourself out there can be the difference between a miserable experience and an unforgettable life-altering adventure.

Join a club at your school/university, introduce yourself to a classmate, sign up for a sporting team, participate in relevant social media groups/chats, or get yourself in touch with professional organisations like Settle Inn, as they can kick-start the whole process by immersing you amongst like-minded travellers and international students from your first day and onwards.

Understand the Culture, and its Rules

Moving to a new country and not having any idea about its most important cultural aspects and social boundaries is a sure way to get yourself in lots of trouble. Many things that are acceptable back home might not be tolerated in your new environment. Do some cultural detective work before you get on the plane, and don’t be afraid to ask about anything when you arrive. 

internationals student, study abroad, settle inn, st kilda, melbourne

People in Australia, especially Melbourne, are MAD about Australia Rules Football (AFL). If you come here, we suggest you get your head around quickly. It’s a GREAT game, and a brilliant way to spark up a conversation – with anyone!

(For instance, you can’t drink alcohol on the street here in Melbourne? Did you know that? In Japan it’s incredibly rude to eat or drink while walking in the street, Russians don’t take kindly to being smiled at in public, and in Norway it’s exceptionally rude to honk your horn at someone while driving. The list goes on!)

The best way around these cultural intricacies is to get informed, and fast. Again, socialising and interacting will go a long way towards getting yourself immersed and up to speed with a sometimes perplexing new set of cultural rules. 

If you are an international student in Melbourne, the experienced staff at Settle Inn will be happy to set you straight. Get in touch HERE.

Regularly Explore Your New Surroundings, and Beyond.

You are in a whole new place, so you’d be crazy to not see as much of it as you can while you are studying abroad. When you get time, between your new study and social commitments, make some space every week to get out and about and see something new. Do some research and see the sights that truly matter. It’s good for the soul, and even when the whole ‘holiday’ thing has worn off and you’ve had your head constantly in the books, you can regain some of that ‘first week’ vibe and get back to enjoying yourself like a backpacker again. 

When you get a little more immersed, and you’ve made friends, maybe plan some group trips outside your immediate area too? Your new friends will most probably be right up for a brilliant new adventure.

Never forget, Australia is a very BIG place, and as an international student you couldn’t possibly see it all, even in a year, so talk to someone at Settle Inn about the best, and safest, places for you and your new friends to explore.

Make Time for Study

This tip might seem exceptionally obvious, but you’d be surprised how many international students fail their units while studying abroad. Sometimes you get caught up in the fun side of things, and unwittingly fall behind scholastically. 

You can balance both out, it just takes a little planning and perseverance. Also, you don’t want to go back to your home country as a failure, because it will be your grades that define you long term, not the randoms you met at the local nightclub last Saturday. 

Calculate your study load within the first couple of weeks of being at your new school, and then set aside the required hours every night to hit the books. Be as diligent as if you were on a strict diet, or training for an event. Then, reward yourself for all your hard work by blowing off steam on the weekend. 

Furthermore, and to make things even more worthwhile, find a study-buddy, mentor, or study group that will push you through and make you accountable. 

Settle Inn has the perfect space for international students to study and socialise simultaneously, has mentors embedded, is right in the Heart of St Kilda, and has an amazing study lounge for you to hit the books. Enquire HERE.

Make Your Health a Priority

Both mental and physical health should be very high on your priority list during your stay. You must remember that as an international student you are a long way from home, and probably far removed from lots of the important things that made you happy, healthy, and relaxed in life. To cope, you’ll have to find new things, or develop new strategies to get by. 

Mentally, it’s easy to fall down when you study abroad, and you can get very, very homesick. In fact, it’s standard. It happens to every international student sooner or later. 

Best way around it is to immerse yourself amongst new friends, like-minded people, or welcoming groups and communities, while constantly keeping yourself occupied. Sitting around and brooding will only make things worse. 

Try some mindfulness, or even a bit of yoga and meditation, as this can really help you cope. 

Don’t forget to call your loved ones back home regularly too. A familiar voice heard on a weekly basis will really give you something to look forward to.

For exercise, join the local gym or a local sporting club (it’s also a great way to meet people), and make sure you get your workout/training schedule dialled in every week around your study. There’s also the options of running and working out at home, but do you really want to fly solo during what should be the most social time of your life? Probably not, but definitely a good option if you are often in a hurry. 

Food is a tough one for international students, as there’s not much chance you can eat the exact same way you as you did back home, and this in itself can be very upsetting. 

When studying abroad, make sure you really scope out your local markets, and see if you can come up with something similar to your usual food. If you are lucky, you might even find a stall/shop/restaurant that deals exclusively in food from your homeland. 

Also, try and stay clear of takeaway and order-in meals as much as possible, as this is a surefire way to get yourself mightily unhealthy, and fast. If you cook, you’ll assuredly need to break out this skill several times a week, and if you don’t, maybe it’s high time you learn? 

Lots of veggies, lots of fruit. Cut down the sugar. You know the drill! 

Get Some Expert Help

Here’s hoping you got something from the tips above, and also have a wonderful stay while studying abroad.

Whether you are an international student, a backpacker passing through, or even a brand new resident, you can actually get help with all the aspects mentioned above, and more. 

There’s professionals that help people, just like you, for a living. 

If you are in Melbourne Australia, the wonderful people at Settle Inn can help you with every single aspect of being new to Australia, and are always more than happy to do so. 

Welcoming, knowledgeable, and compassionate, the Settle Inn team (all from other countries themselves) have been where you are now, and can make your time here as an international student much easier experience than trying to work everything out on your own. 

Get in touch with Settle Inn HERE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *