International students - Integration Strategies
Being a British born Sikh, who migrated from the UK to Australia with my family, I was reflecting how challenging the transition was especially when it came to leaving our family and friends back in the UK, and even now couple of years on we all still experience a level of loneliness.
This got me thinking regarding how international students, (whose second language is English), cope with the transition to a new country, especially if they travel on their own and do have not have any family or friends at their final destination.
Therefore, it would be really useful to hear from individuals who have experienced this journey, in regards to:
1. What strategies did/or you implement when you are feeling lonely?
2. What support network, did/do you have available (ie Gurdwara, Temple, Mosque, Church, social networks etc?)
3. What was the most difficult part of your transition?
I am hoping that by sharing this information, it will support others and start a group conversation🙂
Many thanks in advance…
For me (years ago) it was a pure excitement. I fell in love with Australia from day one. Everything sort of felt right. I have always been curious about visiting new places and Australia has an abundance of them. I specifically admire people’s good nature, fantastic sense of humour, kindness and being respectful towards others. Of course, there are always going to be some exceptions but I don’t dwell on them too long. They happen everywhere.
So to answer your question: for me it was mainly the excitement of travelling, visiting new places and meeting new, culturally diverse people.
What a fantastic few questions!
I was born here so not much to share in that regard, but I used to run a program at my university for international or even interstate students. I'd try to do fun activities like bush walks or kayaking on the harbour, and I think it was pretty successful in helping students just have another social group, while doing an activity so they didn't feel pressured to make conversation for hours on end. Some people were more quiet because of the language barrier, but they would keep coming back so I suppose they must've gotten something out of it - I like to think that they felt included and welcome.
Anyway, I don't want to take up too much airtime from others with experiences - it was just something that brought back some nice memories for me 🙂
Good point Baljit, fully agree with you.
Actually state governments, local communities, religious organizations, non-for-profit organizations have varies programs supporting new migrants. They can be easily found by Google and most of them are free. We should encourage new migrants to attend these programs.
For example, soon I will start volunteering at CMY (Center for Multicultural Youth), as a mentor to new migrants with multicultural background, to provide on-going one on one adaptation support and advice.
Hello Baljit, thank you for posting on this forum and getting the conversation going on transitioning from a different country/diversity. Coming from a different country myself many a year back, it was hard in the beginning. What I did was visit my place of worship where I met and connected with a lot of people who made me feel welcome and wanted. It also gave me the confidence to go out in the community and meet with people from different diversities. Ric65
Hi Baljit, what a wonderful and thoughtful set of questions! When you have strong roots in your original country, it can be challenging to put down roots in a new place. I arrived many years ago as a university student coming from a SEA country.
1. When I feel lonely I try to make plans with my friends to hang out over the weekend. If everyone's busy, I will look at what community events are happening around my area or any Meetups that look interesting. If nothing's happening on that front too, I go to a busy market and people watch 🙂
2. My support network, in the beginning, was my housemates in the university housing. We were all International students so we kept each other company. I am not sure whether it was intentional or not, but the university housing I was in I shared with two other girls with similar ethnic backgrounds which also helped. There was always an option to talk to the university counselling service, but I didn't take it up. Later I meet more people who became my close friends and became my reason to stay after graduation. I used Social Media with close friends on a daily basis but when it comes to needing support, I prefer to chat face-to-face with someone.
3. Finding a job after graduation was tricky. I did immigrate under Skilled Migrant and my degree was listed under the Priority Migration Skill List but the process still took a long time. During this time I was in limbo of not being able to work but also still needing to afford living here. During this time I took up casual jobs that didn't require PR, I had help from my parents and live thrifty in a share house. Thankfully my friends were understanding of my financial situation and we did not hang out at expensive places.