Studying overseas is a great experience, but it can be difficult to adjust to a new environment and living away from your family and friends. Luckily, you will find that most institutions offer a variety of student support services to help you get through your studies.
If you’re not sure about the types of support services your institution offers, read on as we describe some of the most common services on campus and how you can use them during your course.
Academic assistance: You should be able to find an academic assistance office or ‘study skills unit’ on most campuses. Here, you can get advice on just about everything to do with your studies, including effective essay writing skills, academic referencing and tips for exam preparation. You may also be able to attend workshops to help you with specific studies, such as mathematics and chemistry. Remember that academic assistance isn’t just for those who are experiencing difficulty with their studies — you may just want to get some helpful advice to perfect your work.
English language assistance: If you are from a non-English-speaking background, ask your institution about English language services. You can expect to find most of the academic assistance services described above specifically tailored to students whose first language is not English. You may even be able to access English conversation classes with other students or an English tutor who speaks your language.
Careers office: The careers office is the place to visit if you’re looking for work, whether this is an internship or a placement required in your course, a part-time job to help you pay for your weekend travels or graduate positions at the conclusion of your studies. While careers staff won’t necessarily find you a job, they will show you how to search for jobs and assist with developing a résumé and interview skills.Many institutions also operate a job noticeboard, usually online, where local businesses advertise jobs suitable for students.
Counselling: Most institutions have counsellors on campus to help students with academic and personal problems. The great thing is that these services are easily accessible to all students. Some institutions, particularly those that offer counselling or psychology courses, may even operate a counselling clinic on campus.
Peer support and mentoring: If you’re having trouble adjusting to study or just need someone to talk to, look out for peer support and mentoring programs run by your institution. They may be able to pair you up with a final-year student in your course, a fellow international student reaching the end of their studies or even a group of similar students. Depending on your institution, social gatherings and sightseeing activities may also be organised to help you settle in and make friends.
If you need more information about the types of support services on offer at your campus, have a look on your institution’s website or visit the student services office. They can give you a full list of the services available and point you in the right direction if you need help.