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If you are preparing to move to Australia for a study overseas program, there are several options for your stay. You can find temporary accommodations, get a roommate and an apartment or opt for homestay with a local family.

The latter option is often recommended for those worried they will miss home, who want to maintain a strong support structure, and who are eager to learn more about Australian culture. If you are among those interested in homestay, here are five tips to ensure you get the most out of the program during your visit.

Join Your Hosts for Meals and Events

When you choose your homestay program, there will be an option to include meals. It’s recommended that you do this so you can get to know the local dishes, spend some quality time with your host family, and have at least one block of time every day during which you relax with people you know.

Know the Rules Upfront

Communicate clearly with your host family at all times. This starts the moment you arrive in Australia. Make it clear you intend to follow the rules, but also make sure you fully understand what they are. Learn about issues like curfew, meal times, communication preferences, and what to do in the case of an emergency. You should also learn rules as they relate to pets, children, and access to different parts of the home.

Bring a Gift for Your Hosts

While not required by any means, bringing a gift is a great way to break the ice and get to know your host family. It allows you to share a bit about your culture, introduce yourself and your interests, and spark a conversation on day one. It’s also a polite way to introduce yourself to a family who will be taking you into their home for several weeks. It’s likely they will do the same for you.

Be Open Minded

You’re entering a new country with customs and culture you may not be familiar with. Regardless of your strength with the language, many things will be unfamiliar, at least a first. So be open minded, willing to try new things, and flexible. While your host family will certainly do everything they can to make you feel at home, that might mean something different than you are used to. Be willing to try new things and engage with your new host family throughout this time.

Be Respectful of Local Culture and Customs

If you communicate openly with your host family when you arrive, are open minded to the daily routine, and spend some time with them, this will be much easier. Take some time to observe and learn what the “norm” is in your new household. Whether it is a custom you are unfamiliar with or a religious observation, be respectful of what those things represent to your host family and how you can engage with them.

Studying overseas is one of the best ways to learn more about a new culture, engage with amazing people, and build memories that will stick with you the rest of your life. Follow the five steps above and your homestay will be a big part of those memories.

There are so many exciting aspects of studying overseas. The new places you get to see, the cultures you get to explore, and the new people you’ll meet – it’s an incredible experience. But, coming into a new country alone, it can be overwhelming. Especially when you don’t know anyone, it’s hard to know where to start in a completely new city.

To help meet people faster and make the most of your time in Australia, here are five tips to meet more people while studying overseas.

1. Stay with a Host Family or Roommate

The fastest way to start meeting people is to arrive with a built-in group of people to connect with. A host family makes this easier than almost any other situation. Locals who know the area and are used to helping international students acclimate can be of great assistance to you. Even if you don’t stay with a host family, consider booking an apartment or student housing with a roommate – another international student or a local Australian who you can ideally connect with as you get to know the area.

2. Join Organizations or Clubs

Your University likely has dozens of clubs, organizations, and groups that cover a spectrum of different interests. Whether it’s a sport you enjoy, a hobby, or a game you like to play, there is probably a local group for it. You can also find organizations for international students, including some for specific countries with a high representation in Sydney or Melbourne. These are great places to meet people who are in the same situation as yourself.

3. Go Out and Do Things Around Town

This is an easy one, but so many people put it off, afraid to go out alone and explore before they meet friends. Between classes, on weekends, or at the end of the day, go out and enjoy the city. Set a goal for yourself each week and make sure you visit at least one thing that’s new in Sydney, Melbourne or a surrounding suburb or tourist site. This will help make your trip truly memorable, and you’ll probably meet people along the way.

4. Go Outside Your Comfort Zone

A lot of things are going to be a little tough to do, especially if you are naturally shy or introverted. Talking to strangers in class, going to events or parties where you don’t know anyone, or engaging in groups you’ve never been to before – these are all big steps out of your comfort zone. But you’ve already taken a major leap by coming to Australia; why not take a few more steps and meet people that you can form lasting relationships with as part of your trip.

5. Look for Meetup Groups that Match Your Interests

In just about any country, meetup.com is a fantastic resource to connect with people and share common interests. Search for a hobby, interest, or other topic you’re interested in on meetup.com and there will almost certainly be a meetup group you can join. If there isn’t, consider starting one. Like people always flock together, and what better way to enjoy a hobby than to share it with people in a new country.

There are so many things to do in so many places in Sydney, Melbourne, or wherever you might be staying in Australia, that all it takes is a little bit of a push for yourself and you’ll meet more people than you can imagine. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience – be sure to share it with as many people as possible.

Traveling overseas is exciting. There’s so much to see and do, and yet when also studying overseas, time can slip away faster than you might expect. That’s why timing your arrival is so important.

If you plan on studying overseas in Australia or any other country a significant distant from home, it’s best to get there a little early. Give yourself a few extra days or even weeks during which you can get situated, learn the area, and be ready for classes. Here are five specific reasons to arrive early and what you’ll gain by doing so.

Settle in with Your Host Family and Adjust to the Area

Arriving a bit early gives you much needed time to get to know your host family, settle into your new room, learn the rules, and explore the immediate area. Where is the grocery store? The bank? The library? These are things you’ll be glad you already know when you’re deep into a busy class schedule.

Adjust to Local Time

If you’re staying in the same time zone, this is less of an issue, but if you are traveling from far away, especially across four or more hours, you’ll need a bit of time to adjust. The farther you are traveling from; the more time your body will need to adjust. A 12-hour difference, for example, can result in upwards of a week adjusting fully to the new schedule. The last thing you want is to fight jet lag and insomnia when you are starting classes in a new country.

Attend University Orientation or Group Events

Orientation events often occur a week or two before classes officially start. By attending, you will not only learn the basics of your new university, but you may meet some new friends. Especially at universities with large international student populations in Sydney and Melbourne, these events can be immensely helpful in settling in, learning more about your new university, and meeting a handful of people you can connect with as you get started.

Handle All Remaining Logistics

There are always business details to handle when traveling overseas. For students who will be in Australia for several months, this might include setting up a bank account, buying a new cell phone, getting a local or student ID card, finalizing your health insurance, or enrolling for classes – if any of these things need to be done, give yourself plenty of time on days before the term starts so you can be ready to just focus on studying.

Have Fun!

Here’s an easy one – have fun! The reason you’re excited to be in Australia is that it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and will be a lot of fun. But if you don’t give yourself enough time to have fun and spend your first few weeks running for errand to errand between classes, you can burn out fast. Make sure you build in enough time to explore your surroundings, enjoy the setting of a new country, and meet as many people as you can – these are the things that will stick with you forever as unforgettable memories of your time here.

It’s one of the most exciting things you can do in university – spend part of a year overseas learning about a new culture and exploring a new part of the world. If you are preparing to make such a move or would like to learn more about how studying overseas will impact your life, here are 10 perfect reasons to not only consider it, but consider it in Australia.

 

Good Experience for Your CV

 

At the top of the list is experience. The time you spend in Australia is great for your future job prospects, not only because it gives you new perspective on the world, but because of the unique experience it provides and the way it stretches your education. If you can excel in a new country, you become a more attractive hire.

 

Discover New and Exciting Things About Other Cultures

 

This applies to studying in any country. The time you spend there will allow you to learn more about the cultures of that country, engaging with new people, building relationships, and trying new things well outside of your comfort zone back home.

 

Practice English as a Second Language

 

If you are learning or want to learn English, what better way to practice and develop your skills than to spend 6 months living and studying in Australia? Through both time at school and pure immersion in the culture, your language skills will develop rapidly.

 

Become Independent and Self-Reliant

 

Time overseas drives people to become better at many things, chief of which is looking out for themselves and taking initiative. Getting a part time job, going grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning, and exploring a new city in a new country – these are life changing experiences that will help you become more self-reliant in the future.

 

Learn About Yourself and What You Want in Life

 

For many university students, a big question is “what will I do next?”. How are you going to take your education and experiences and apply them to a career? Studying overseas can not only give you new perspective, but open you to new possibilities of what you can do after graduating.

 

Explore Exciting New Things in Australia

 

Australia is one of the most exciting countries to visit in the world. Not only are Sydney and Melbourne ranked among the top 5 cities in the world for international students – the surrounding areas offer countless attractions, historical sites, and cultural opportunities for those visiting, even for a short time.

 

See a New Culture through the Eyes of a Citizen

 

Living in a foreign country for even a few months is very different from visiting on holiday. The time you spend there, eating at restaurants, meeting people, and visiting cultural sites is as a resident. You’ll see the culture through their eyes.

 

Learn New Ways to Think About Your Studies

 

Studying at an Australian university is almost certainly different from studying at one in your home country. From the environment to the professors, you’ll be seeing your subject matter in a completely different way than you did back home. You never know what you will learn when perspective changes.

 

Make Incredible New Friends

 

One of the greatest parts of studying overseas is all the amazing people you meet during the process. From the host family you stay with to the colleagues and friends you connect with in classes or through a part time job – the opportunity to create new relationships is wide open.

 

Explore Job Opportunities Away from Home

 

Not only can you get a part time job while studying overseas in Australia; you can learn more about your job opportunities overseas in general post-graduation. Whether you want to explore staying in Australia for several years or another country, living in Australia for a term can really open your eyes to the options that are out there.

The New Year is almost upon us – in just a few short days, 2016 will be here and for many students, that means a new term and a new opportunity to explore Australia during an overseas study trip. If you are currently in Australia as an international student or if you are planning to visit the country soon, here are five things you should start thinking about now as you plan your year.

 

Prepare for the Prices

 

Australia’s prices are routinely higher than many of the nations from which international students come. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to have fun while visiting, but be ready for a lot of the things on your to do list to be somewhat pricey.

 

Do your research, plan your budget, and maybe even consider getting a part-time job while visiting to help pay for your activities.

It’s a Big Country

 

This is a big country – so big in fact that it’s unlikely you’ll be able to do everything on your to do list if you’re only here for a few months. So make sure to plan your activities accordingly. Make a decision between Sydney and Melbourne as to where you will stay and look for activities nearby.

 

With the geography to cover, the time you’ll be spending on your studies, and the cost, it won’t necessarily be possible to do everything on your list.

Learn More than the Movies Teach

 

There are plenty of images of Australians and the life they lead floating around in popular culture. Some are exaggerations and some are just stories. To avoid confusion or feeling out of place, spend some time studying up on what Australian life is actually like day to day.

 

Learn the states, the communities near where you are staying, some of the common slang and phrases used, and upcoming holidays – a bit of light study will go a long way toward making you feel more comfortable.

Know Your School

 

For many international students, the moment you receive that acceptance letter is the last moment you really think about the University you’ll be attending until you arrive. But spend some time getting to know it before you arrive.

 

Familiarize yourself with the grading system used, the layout of the campus, and the reputation of the university. See if there are any international student groups as well (most major Universities in Sydney and Melbourne have several) and decide what you will do when you arrive and start your semester.

Get to Know Your Host Family

 

Even before you leave for Australia, spend some time getting to know the host family you will be staying with. Letters or email are a great way to start the communication with them as soon as you receive confirmation on who you’ll be staying with.

 

Send photos, share your hobbies and goals for the trip, and ask lots of questions about them and their family so you know how best to fit in with this new family. You’ll feel much closer when you arrive if you have done so.

 

Your trip to Australia will be a once in a lifetime experience. Take the time to get to know the country, the school you’ll be attending, and the family with which you will be staying and you’ll be able to appreciate it that much more.

The glitz and glamour of an overseas study trip can blind you to the fact that you are still at university and still have classes that require the bulk of your time so you can maintain the best possible grades. If you fall behind in your classes, it can have serious repercussions long term. So it’s important to stay ahead, but not at the expense of the opportunity to explore a new country. To help you do both, here are some study trips for your time overseas.

Put Classes First and Foremost

As you would back home, put emphasis on your classes before anything else. Set aside that time every day, even if you don’t have classes, for study. Be sure you are in class and on time for every session and get to know the professor early so that if there is a problem you can communicate with him or her what those problems are. Absences can count against your grade in some situations, but more than that, you’re missing the opportunity to get the most out of your education.

Join Campus Organisations

Most universities have numerous organisations and clubs designed to help students socialize and explore outside interests. Take advantage of this fact and join as many groups as you feel comfortable maintaining while in class. This will help you socialize and meet other local students as well as learning more about the area.

Connect with Study Partners

For each of your classes if possible find at least one other person with whom you can connect after classes. This person will help you stay caught up on your notes if you do have to miss class for some reason and will also help you to connect with classmates early and make friends. Home sickness is inevitable when studying overseas – the sooner you make friends, the less likely this will become a problem.

Utilize International Student Support and Organisations

Most campuses have advisors as well as support groups for international students in general and those from specific regions or countries. Seek out these groups early and communicate with their organisers. It may be you never feel the need for their help, but if you start to have a hard time or are feeling homesick, it can be immensely helpful to have a group of likeminded international students and advisors nearby with whom you can talk.

Lean On Your Host Family

If you are staying with a host family, don’t be afraid to lean on them for support when you need it. Study time may become harder to find as the lure of a new city looms large. There are so many exciting things to do when staying in Sydney or Melbourne – a host family can help you to stay focused by providing guidance on what to see and when, and offering a caring, quiet environment in which to study.

If you are preparing to study overseas or if you are already in Australia and looking for the best way to get the most out of your situation, connect with Global Experience. We work with students from around the globe and can help you to stay ahead in classes and enjoy your time in Australia.

It’s one of the most exciting moments of your life – that last step before you get on the plane for your overseas study trip in Australia. It’s coming up soon and probably the only thing you can think of is what you’ll do when you get there.

Before you get to the airport, though, and well before you start planning your weekends in Sydney or Melbourne, there are a few things you should do back home. Here are five things to make sure you have checked off your to do list before your trip.

Figure Out a Low Cost Calling Option

Calling home will get expensive if you bring your mobile phone without preparation. There are several options to avoid this problem, though. You can buy a local disposable cell phone, use Skype and other online calling options, or buy a calling card with low international calling rates. Research this now, rather than when it’s potentially costly.

Map Out All Possible Travel Plans

Before you land on the other side, make sure you have a clear path laid out for transportation in your new city. If you are staying with a host family, communicate with them early and often for airport pickup. If not or if they will not be picking you up, figure out which busses or trains you’ll be using.

Get Copies of the Most Important Documents

There are several documents you should have copies of before you embark on your trip. Your birth certificate, proof of health insurance, the calling card you’re bringing (if you have one), and the informational pages of your passport should all be with you. In fact, it’s good to have several copies of each, some left at home and some with you when overseas.

Look Up Electronics in Your New Home

Will your adapters and electronics work in your new home? Every country has different standards for power adapters and other materials. There is some overlap, but it’s good to know in advance rather than risking that your power runs out or you cause damage to your devices.

Review All Course Credits in Advance

Getting accepted into an overseas university is immensely exciting, but don’t let the thrill of the acceptance affect your academic plans. Make sure the courses available to you will count for credit back home and that you will be accelerating your degree. If you plan on finishing your degree in Australia, this is less of an issue, but may still affect your ability to get a job back home depending on the nature of the education you are getting and career you are pursuing. Simply put, make sure you speak with an advisor.

Have Fun!

Preparations will be over before you know it and you’ll be ready to step on that airplane and embark on the trip of a lifetime. Enjoy that moment and be ready for everything it has to offer.

If you are still in the planning phase and are interested in learning more about homestay or student support services in Sydney or Melbourne, contact Global Experience and learn how we can help.

As a student considering staying in Australia for several months to study, there are a number of things you’ll want to consider – from the University at which you will study to the location where you want to live and the stuff you want to do for fun. That’s a lot to take in for a single trip, and yet taking these extra steps will ensure you have that much better of a time on your trip.

How to Start Thinking About Your Trip

Step one is to prepare mentally for your trip. With cities like Melbourne and Sydney consistently ranked among the most liveable in the world and the best destinations for International students, there are a lot of things to like about either but part of your decision will depend on your personality and the type of place you feel you will be most successful.

Here are some things to think about further for that trip:

  • Will You Stay Alone or with a Family – Homestay is a great option when staying in Sydney or Melbourne but it’s not your only option. Which will better suit your expectations from such a trip and make you comfortable.
  • How Long Will You Stay – Are you expecting to be in Australia for 3 months? Six months? A year? The duration will impact and be impacted by a number of factors but make sure you have a clear cut plan in place for what your trip will look like.
  • Is This Purely Educational or Half and Half – As a student your primary goal is to study and learn as much as you can while in Australia, but there are other things to consider. Will you have a job while you visit? Will you set aside time for sightseeing and travel within the country? Do you plan to return home for holidays? This all affects the trip as well as your budget.

By thinking about these things and answering the questions above, you can ensure that the process will be much smoother when you are prepared for your time overseas.

Preparing for a Trip to Australia

After you’ve thought through the process, the next step is to consider what it will take to make your dream trip a reality. There are a lot of logistical steps here to keep in mind including:

  • Visa and Passport – Get the paperwork needed to go on your trip and ensure it is for a student and that you have all the paperwork needed for the University at which you will be studying.
  • Go to the Doctor – Get copies of your medical records, sufficient prescriptions for the trip, and any other documentation needed to get you through your trip.
  • Get Insurance – Check to see what the insurance you have covers while overseas and if needed, purchase supplemental health insurance, as well as travel and accident insurance for your time overseas.
  • Learn More About Your Destination – Part of the fun of your trip will be exploring and getting to know Australia, but take some time in advance as well to learn what you can about your destination. If you are staying with a host family, you’ll have a major benefit here as well.

There are a lot of other factors to keep in mind and prepare for when you get ready for this trip. Allow plenty of time from when you confirm to the departure to go through and make sure you have covered them all. This will be one of the best trips of your life – make sure you are fully prepared for it before you set off.

There are many reasons you might want to study overseas, and there are quite a few benefits to doing so. But how do you know when the right time to take the plunge really is? While there are many different factors to take into account when making the decision about when to plan your time in another country, the best time to go really is the time that’s best for you, both in terms of your personal development and your professional goals.

When You’re Ready

If you know you want to study overseas, but the thought of being so far away from home for so long is too overwhelming, it’s probably best to give yourself some time, especially if you’re just starting University and leaving home for the first time. Your first couple of years can be essential to helping you successfully transition into adulthood, and it may be better not to rush into a huge undertaking like study overseas.

Planning around Schoolwork

Another reason to wait until you’re well-established in University is that it gives you a chance to plan your trip around the coursework required for your degree. This is why most people end up completing their overseas study program during their third or final years, and it makes a lot of sense to stick with this model in most cases.

There are also usually certain classes you’ll be required to take before you leave for a semester or year overseas, and it’s easier to make sure you’ve taken them in time if you wait until your last years.

Your Goals

If you’re really anxious to get out there and experience the world, though, there are ways to do study overseas sooner, and a lot depends on your career goals and specific program of study. More and more now, you can choose a program that caters to people with your interests and ambitions, and if you can make that fit your schedule earlier, all the better.

While it’s true that the experiences you have in your time away will impact your worldview and very likely enable you to bring more insight to the classes you take in the future, it’s best to take on something like this only when you’re not stressed by too many other outside pressures.

For all of these reasons, the third year remains the most popular option for study overseas. It’s also when most Universities are set up to accommodate these types of trips, so you’ll have the most support and can arrange to have the least burdensome course load at the same time. All of which can add up to make your study overseas experience that much more amazing and inspiring.

A gap year is considered a rite of passage for young people all over the world. In general, the term refers to an extended holiday where you travel and experience different cultures – often during the year between high school and college or the year between college and entering the workforce. If you’re thinking of taking a gap year, consider these tips and ideas.

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