International Student Survival Guide 101

International student survival guide 101

Welcome to UNSW! You are all here with sparkles in your eyes, unshed tears from leaving your family home and hearts full of dreams that you long to achieve.

Remember the time when one of your elder family members (in my case, my dad) sat you down and gave you the grave talk of how it’s going to be hard for you and that life is not a bed of roses? In case you don’t remember, read the last line again, since it’s all going to come true. But don’t give up yet, since what’s going to come next will help you during your stay.

Student Central and FM Assist

Make sure you visit these places. FM Assist will help you with travel passes, university related queries and getting your student ID card. Tip: Photos for the card are taken right there, so make sure you look your best. I’m speaking from experience since mine look like I rolled across the university lawn. Student Central knows everything about courses to take, changing courses, dropping, swapping etc. Both are located near the library lawn.

Memorise the university map

Well, don’t memorise it, but at least know where everything is located. You all have the schedule by now and your class locations – take a tour so that you don’t go rushing to the first day of class 15 minutes late since you were trying to find your class.

 You also need to know where the library is and, importantly, the food joints. There are plenty available all throughout the campus to satisfy your taste palates.

 Travel apps

Assuming all of you have your smartphones, download TripViewLite and TripGo. These two apps (free!) are very handy in getting you to your destination on time. They also list the train and bus numbers and the location of stations. Also, have your Internet charged as you will have to rely on GPS. Hail Google Maps!

 And this is very important. If you’re an international student, be weary of the Concession option on the ticketing booth. You might save a bit of money from it, but your luck might run out and you could end up in trouble with the transport police, who’ll slap you with a $200 fine for the wrong ticket. Don’t mess with them.

 myUNSW

Everything happens through myUNSW and your zmail (the university email service). Log into both of them every day to know what’s going on and what you need to do. By now you should have your address and phone number sorted, so have all those details updated ASAP. It’s mandatory to do so, so always change the details if you’ve changed your contact details.

 Working while studying

For many of you, this might not be a requirement. But for others who are thinking of doing part-time jobs while studying, I suggest you take a breather first. For those who are on a student visa, it will be quite hard to land a decent job due to your visa status and class timings. But you will eventually get one that will appease you. However, studies at UNSW are very demanding, so you will first need to learn how to survive the workload and strategise a study formula.

 Don’t forget, have fun!

New South Wales is a beautiful state. Check out the beaches (Bondi, baby!), clubs and markets and you will be amazed. The best thing is to have fun while studying since you will need to learn to rest your brain.

 Roundhouse is a good starting place. There’s always good music, good food and good company. You will find during O-Week that there are plenty of clubs to join. There are plenty of pages on Facebook as well – from buying and selling books to clubs and societies.

 You may find you have so many things to do, but just take it one day at a time and all will be fine. For any questions there is plenty of help around campus. Also, make sure that you read the latest updates on www.immi.gov.au. Since you’re under tight scrutiny, it’s always better to know the rules. It will be a tough ride, but make sure you hold onto your reins very tightly – you will be galloping your way to your graduation.

 All the best!

Faria Huq