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The Education Destination : The Education Destination
Support services for international students When you arrive in Australia, you can access a wide range of support services to help you settle in to your new institution and community, writes Margaret-Ann Williams. Studying in Australia brings many rewarding, enjoyable experiences, and also many challenges – a different country, culture and climate, new teachers and friends, perhaps even a new language. Australia has welcomed students from other countries for many decades so its institutions and schools know exactly how to help students make the most of their time in Australia. They also know the best ways to handle any diffi culties students may face, especially in the early days. Homesickness, for instance, often strikes students in the first months after arrival. The support begins before you even arrive Support for international students begins from the moment you start considering options for studying abroad. Excellent websites maintained by university and government agencies show you what to expect if you choose Australia. The websites describe both the educational system as a whole and individual universities, colleges and schools. They also explain how to apply for visas, how to enrol and how to fi nd a place to live. Once you have been accepted into a course, you can contact your institution’s international counsellor. Each large institution has an offi ce dedicated to helping international students. Smaller colleges and schools have a dedicated international counsellor. Australia is a world leader in support services for international students. 86 Australia is a world leader in support services for international students – including intensive help in those fi rst months when students may feel lonely and vulnerable. You can trust your institution to provide useful services. Australian institutions must support their international students by law under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act. Before you arrive, your institution can assist with your email queries on accommodation, health cover, money matters and administrative paperwork. And when you do land in Australia, your institution can organise someone to meet you as you step off the plane. Practical, on-arrival information Many institutions provide on-arrival information sessions that cover practical instructions and cultural advice for studying and living in Australia. Letaip, an African student attending a South Australian university, says the introductory program was ‘wonderful – and it makes it easy for newly arrived students to settle in’. At the beginning of each year, universities hold Orientation Week (O-Week) which welcomes all new students and features introductory lectures, guided tours and events showcasing the activities on campus. O-Week is your chance to fi nd out everything about your university from the library system to the sports club to the best place to eat. Social events, entertainment and barbeques are in full swing so you can meet other students. Some students say they have made friends for life during O-Week. INSTITUTIONS AND COURSES
Australia The Education Destination 2010