5 Challenges That Expat Students Face in Australia

By SimoneSmith, 22 December, 2015


It’s exciting to set off for Australia to continue your education. If you’ve visited before, you already know about all the wonderful things that Oz has to offer. You’ll be quick to notice that living there as a student is a lot different from vacationing. You’ll be trying to adapt to your new life and keep up with your educational obligations at the same time. Until you find your groove, things will probably be overwhelming. Considering things beforehand can help make your transition easier.


1. Different Standards


You know how to write a research paper back home. Most likely, the standards across your country are the same. You’ve grown up with them in your school system and they’ve been drilled into your head. Now, it’s time to forget most of the things you know. Attitudes and expectations from your educators will be different. Talk to some Australian students and compare notes. Have an idea of what you’re going to have to do differently.


2. Weather Changes


Australia certainly has some unique weather. In fact, Aussies are incredibly prone to skin cancer due to the Australian sun. You may not be able to dress the way you used to at home. If you aren’t already a sunblock fanatic, it’s time to become one. If you’re coming from the other hemisphere, the seasons are going to be confusing. Having a hot, sunny Christmas and experiencing the coolest temperatures during what you’ve known as the summer months your whole life may come as a shock.


3. Making Friends


You’re leaving all your friends back home, but that doesn’t mean you should be lonely the whole time you’re in Australia. You’re going to be walking into a social environment where many people have already established their most meaningful friendships, and you aren’t going to have a lot of nostalgic things in common with people. Learning to embrace Australian culture can help you meet others. It’s not like it’s a completely different world, but they do have different social customs.


4. Feeding Yourself


You’ve spent years eating foods that are beloved where you come from, and the Australian diet is different. They don’t have a lot of the same fast food chains you grew up with, and the restaurant menus look a lot different. Even the grocery store is a unique experience – many markets offer kangaroo meat, and you’ve probably never tasted that before. If you’re not sure what you’re supposed to do, stick with the healthy staples you relied on back home and slowly incorporate new dishes that are unique to the area. You’ll start getting used to the differences, and you can avoid the weight gain usually associated with starting college.


5. Getting Money


If you aren’t coming pre-prepared and don’t have money to live on in the long term, you’re going to have to find a job. A new country, a new job, and a new school all at once can be scary. That’s a lot to get used to at once, and you can stress yourself out trying to hit all those marks at the same time. Make sure you’re set up with a plan before you go, and don’t forget to account for emergency or unforeseen expenses.




Just remember to take one thing at a time. You’re not going to fully embrace your new life overnight. It’s a steady process, and you shouldn’t bite off more than you can chew. Practice patience, remain optimistic, and be the best student you can be.


The following has been submitted by Simone Smith - an expat and a blogger writing for Online Courses Australia, leading education specialists offering a plethora of interesting courses.