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First Time Students and Orientation Week

Arriving at university or college for the first time can be intimidating. For many it may mean living away from your parents, which on its own is daunting enough. Questions like: Can I make good grades or How to fit in might run wild through your head.  Don't panic, you are not alone.

New Academic Expectations

Each country has its own educational system with its expectations and academic requirements. Australia also has its own way of doing things, which can be very different from what you are used to in your home country.

Teaching in Australian universities is heavily based on interaction during lectures and tutorials. You can expect to be asked questions, rather than simply sitting there taking notes. Prepare yourself for discussion and open debates in class.

Basically, the academic gurus in Australia want:

  • Students to become critical thinkers who know: how to analyse problems and evaluate arguments, how to locate whatever information they need, and how to develop and present arguments in different ways
  • Students to adopt an open attitude to the development of knowledge
  • Students who can organise their work effectively - with limited guidance from lecturers and tutors
  • Students who are prepared for a lifetime of retraining and rethinking, for a lifetime of learning universities do not teach students everything they needed to know!

New Kid on the Block

The University or College will be loaded with people from various backgrounds: nationalities, religion, cultural, all which lead to a diverse range of opinions. Be prepared for some culture shocks. But if you dig hard, you may find similar interest among you. Hey, the kid sitting next to you may become your best mate after all!
To help you fit in more easily...

  • Don't be shy: introduce yourself, smile and be confident. 
  • Be yourself.  
  • Don't hang around in just one group or you will miss the chance to get to know others. Meet as many people as you can.
  • A good way to meet potential friends is by joining the clubs and societies run by your university or college.
  • If you want to make friends with an Australian, you just need to have a sense of humour and be open minded. Australians are crazy about their sports - engage in some type of sport such as soccer, cricket or netball.

While e-Mate has provided you with some general tips, you can get more details during your O (Orientation) Week. Most universities will be running this program during the first one or two weeks. It is especially designed to introduce new students to life in Australia in general and at university before the academic year begins. It usually includes a wide variety of events including campus tours, information seminars and market stalls. It is also a good opportunity for you to befriend with other students while enjoying a free welcome lunch. You will find that launching into your first semester is much easier if you have been involved in the O-Week.

So check out when your university's O-Week will be held and don't miss out. Ask one of ACIC counsellors if you have any doubt about the dates.

Best wishes to the start of the new semester!