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Meet an International Student Advisor – Ryan Keen

Griffith have a team of International Student Advisors based at the Nathan and Gold Coast campuses for International students to visit for personal support, advice and information on issues that can affect your life in Australia (or studying at Griffith).

We interviewed Ryan Keen, one of our Gold Coast International Student Advisors with some common questions we are asked by students.

  • How long have you worked as an International Student Advisor and how did you get started at Griffith?

My partner and I came to the Gold Coast in 1997 for a 12 month contract after travelling and living in Darwin and the Northern Territory. The plan was to keep moving south but we loved it so much we never left! Griffith University has been home to me ever since, and I have been part of Griffith International and the Student Advisory team since 1999. International student support has changed significantly in scope since those early years but the heart remains the same – tailored individual and holistic support for our international students and collaboration and connection with the wider Griffith community. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us, now more than ever, that we are all connected and really brought home for me why I remain passionate about this role and international education.

  • How can you assist students with their studies?

When you first start your studies, it can be daunting as there is a lot to learn. Sometimes the fear of getting it wrong can prevent students from getting off to a good start. Your International Student Advisors can help you understand how Griffith systems work, academic expectations and where to get help and support.

We can help you with the basics, like understanding your course profiles, effective time management and making a study plan for the trimester. You also have access to extensive online resources and study tools, English language support, academic skills support, mentoring and more.

The key to being successful at Griffith is to be active and curious. Focus on the learning and get expert help when you need it. It’s really interesting that in life, we routinely ask for information and help – if your car breaks down, you take it to a mechanic to find out what’s wrong and to get it fixed. University study is the same – if something isn’t working for you or you don’t understand, look for information and support, and ask for help!

  • How can you assist students with financial difficulties?

Throughout your studies you may need short-term financial help with the cost of your education or living expenses. If you are having financial difficulty that impacts your ability to study or pay tuition fees, you should definitely speak with an International Student Advisor. There is a range of financial support options, including interest-free loans, one off-bursaries as well as budgeting advice and workshops also available through the Student Financial Support team.

  • Are you able to help me with locating other Griffith services I may need?

Absolutely. We work closely with the many support services within Griffith to ensure that you are getting tailored, individual support to suit your needs and circumstances. Griffith offers academic, English language, and library/IT support for your studies as well as access to personal support services such as health services, counselling, employment and career development and more. You can find all the support services listed on the Student Support page in your myGriffith portal.

If you are not sure what support you might need, or you think you may need something not listed, please make an appointment to speak with an International Student Advisor.

  • What should we see you for regularly? How often can we visit you?

We provide a great deal of information to you both online and upfront in your International Orientation Teams community, your myGriffith portal and by student email to get you started.

We know it can be overwhelming at times and we encourage you to contact us with your questions especially in these early weeks. Seek help early and often!

There’s no limit to how often you can access us, but we do tailor that support to meet your needs. You should definitely talk to us if you are worried about your studies, are unwell, thinking of taking a break from studies or reducing your study load.

  • How can I book in to see you, is it only in person or are online appointments available in Trimester 2 2020?

Booking an appointment with an International Student Advisor online is easy. Visit our International Student Advisory webpage to book.

The team are currently offering confidential phone appointments (or video if you prefer) so that you can stay connected and supported while studying online. As students return to campus, you will be able to access face to face appointments.

You can also email us your queries if you prefer – send us your query via ASK US.

  • What are the most common things a student will visit an International Student Advisor for?

There are definitely common themes around getting started at Griffith and settling in. We often work with students on how to effectively study and find study support, making friends and connections at Griffith, understanding student visa conditions and any number of general welfare and personal issues affecting study and wellbeing.

There really isn’t anything you can’t ask us about – if you have any problems or concerns and you are not sure who you should speak with, talk to us. If we can’t assist, we help you find the right person or area that can.  We are here to support you from Orientation right through to graduation and beyond and I look forward to meeting you soon, virtually or otherwise!


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