When I was asked to write a blog post for Griffith University’s Explore Blog, I honestly wasn’t sure I was up to the challenge. I really don’t write much and although I have a degree in public relations and a diploma in marketing, I haven’t really had a chance to put my skills to work.
So I’ll ask you to imagine this scenario first; You’re freshly graduated from a 3-year program at a local Canadian college. You start working a full time customer service job (just for now, to make money, I’ll start looking soon, what are you my mom?) and you decide to take the advice given to you by all your previous teachers and apply to study at Griffith. A few months go by, you honestly figured you didn’t have the marks to get accepted anyway, and you don’t hear anything. Then you check back in with your education agency and to your ABSOLUTE shock, you’ve been accepted and the Uni wants you to start in the coming semester. You’re ecstatic, over the moon, your mom’s crying and you can’t wait to go.
So then you go. You pack up what you can in three suitcases, travel for two days and land in this more-foreign-than-it-seemed-at-the-time country, Australia. You probably weren’t expecting the culture shock, since people here speak English, eat pretty much the same things Canadians do and the only major difference is that they drive on the left side of the road, right?
But as you settle in you find that everything is different. You figure out how their money works, how taxes are included in the prices of everything – which, can I just say, is so much better – and you start to really feel the homesickness coming on. For the first couple of months, everything is new. Things aren’t going well and you’re suddenly regretting every decision in your life up to this point.
But that’s when you discover that the University offers counselling services, financial advice and international student activities like you wouldn’t believe. You start applying yourself to your studies, taking advantage of the incredible weather, travel a little and the next thing you know it’s been 16 months and you have to go home.
So, dear reader, if you’re a future student, I’ve made up a short list of a few things I think would help you if you decide to make the leap across the pond and start your adventure at Griffith University.
- Take advantage of all your resources at Griffith. Griffith offers so much help for international students, the counselling services are fantastic, the Griffith Mates and the International Advisors will help with just about anything you need help with.
- Wear sunblock. Just do it. Right from the start, I’m serious.
- Make every day count. Your time will go by so fast, get out as much as you can. Go on trips, make friends, get involved.
- Utilise your lecturers. Get some academic advice and help, and make connections for internships and just for the future, you never know.
- Buy a keep cup and use it to take coffee from home. Coffees are like, triple the amount of a small Timmies in Aus.
- Budgeting is key. This is really for any student, but shop the specials, meal prep and save as much as you can. Excel spreadsheets are your best friend.
- Get out and enjoy being outside. Learn to surf, go hiking, swim in the ocean. It’s one of the most beautiful countries on earth, take advantage as often as you can.
My time in Australia was life changing, and I really mean that. I grew so much as a person, made amazing friends and memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I highly – HIGHLY – recommend taking advantage of any opportunity you have to study at Griffith. I left with a degree, academic distinction and tears in my eyes. Oh, and a wicked sunburn.