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Off campus student group sits smiling outdoors

5 tips for settling into student life

By Amber Roche, Student Counsellor at Edith Cowan College

As an international students away from your family and friends, it’s common that you may feel homesick. This is a normal feeling in response to a new and unfamiliar environment.

When you’re feeling homesick, it’s often tempting to stay inside alone rather than go out, but this can actually make you feel worse. The best way to overcome it is to try and immerse yourself in university life and Australian culture. The following helpful tips will help you to feel more at home and adjust to life in Perth.

1. Attend Orientation

We can’t wait to welcome you to ECC, and have a full program of Orientation activities to help you settle in. You’ll find out lots of important information about ECC, you will have an opportunity to explore campus and meet the friendly staff and of course meet new friends.

2. Go sightseeing

The best way to deal with homesickness is to keep yourself busy. Go sightseeing, make new friends and engage in social activities you enjoy. Try to visit as many places as you can. Take in the culture, so you can adapt easily. Start with the most well-known tourist locations Perth has some wonderful places to explore. Keep a bucket list of all the places you’d like to visit while you’re in Perth. This will give you something to look forward to and help keep you motivated.

3. Try something new

Moving away from home is a big change. It’s a big step towards independence and it’s normal to feel pangs of homesickness. Living away from home means stepping out of your comfort zone. The more you expand your comfort zone the easier it will be. Try out things that you have always wanted to but never had the courage before. Set yourself and weekly challenge list, try out new foods, places or things, go talk with that person in your class who looks friendly!

4. Communicate with friends and family back home

When you’re feeling homesick sometimes a phone call or Skype chat with a loved one back home may be all you need. When you’re adapting to a new environment talking with your loved ones can help. If you share your thoughts and feelings, then people will be able to find ways to help you settle in and feel less anxious. Set reasonable limits on the communication if you’re constantly in touch, it can be harder to focus on what’s happening here and you might feel like you’re missing out on things back home. Write postcards and letters, or find small Australian souvenirs to send home to friends. This will help you discover things that you’re excited to share. Remember why you came here in the first place and focus on your goals.

5. Start making friends

Moving to another country is a big step! You may not have any friends or relatives already here but don’t worry – that will all change pretty quickly, as there are lots of opportunities to meet new people and form new connections. Before trimester starts, spend time with your housemates, neighbours or local community groups, and keep an eye out on our Facebook pages for opportunities to make friends. Your new friends will be invaluable in helping you to settle in. Once the trimester begins, keep an eye out for events throughout the term or why not go ahead and organise some meetups yourself! Last but not least, make the most of your faculty welcomes during Orientation Week. All of your classmates will be there, so strike up some conversations! The student services team are always here to help you and the student counsellor is always there for a private confidential chat. Above all enjoy your time here in Australia and at ECC!

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