06 Sep 2019

The Struggles of Being An International Student in Australia

International students around the globe all face similar daily struggles: what is this public holiday and how am I supposed to respond to it? Am I supposed to eat this? Is that girl dancing or suffering severe spasms? How am I ever going to get through this paperwork?!

Don’t worry folks- here at SITS, we understand the struggles of International students, and to prove it, here is a list of 30 struggles only International students will understand:

1.Being so jetlagged for the first two weeks of classes that you actually feel and look like a zombie.

Get yourself some concealer and coffee, you’re going to need it!

2.Being so alone on campus during the holidays that the highlight of your day is chatting to the barista at the coffee shop.

3. Converting everything from Australian dollars to your home currency, and feeling either terribly poor or dangerously rich, depending on where you're from.

4. Pronouncing words completely different to everyone else around you.

4. Then having to deal with idiots who insist that your way isn't just different, it's wrong.

It’s almost impossible to avoid these people.

6. Getting the “OMG, you speak English so well!” and having to explain you grew up speaking the language…

At first you’ll be like, “Um, what?” Then you’ll realise many Australians don’t know a lot about how the rest of the world works. Of course not every International student has a great command of the English language, but for someone who does, it’s insulting being congratulated for speaking a language that you’ve grown up speaking. It’s even more awkward telling them this. However, if the person you’re talking to is extremely belittling, it can be fun to share this information.

7.Never quite knowing which I.D you should take with you when you go out.

At some point, you'll find yourself out at a club with your friends, your passport hanging in your back pocket, and the whole night you’re stressing because you’re certain it's going to fall out and get you deported. Solution: buy a big bag.

8.Not realising how much stuff you need to buy when you first move in. Then taking a very long and very expensive trip to Kmart.

The amount of stuff that you have to buy all of a sudden dawns on you during the first week, when your Australian dorm buddies or house mates have triple the amount of luggage that you do. You realise, “Wow, I must be a minimalist,” and then you spend a lot of money and time at Kmart.

9. Being very overwhelmed and shocked by the humongous food-portion sizes when you first arrive.

You’ll find yourself looking at your plate thinking, ‘There is no way in hell I can eat all of this!’ Especially if you visit Lazy Moes. You’ve been warned.

10. And then, after a few months of living in the country, you’re able to demolish an entire portion AND order dessert.

11. Having gaps in your pop culture knowledge, and resorting to the ‘smile-and-nod’ tactic to pretend you know what's being talked about.

Of course I’ve listened to "Ignition (Remix)" like a thousand times. Omg, ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ is my favourite movie too! Yeah, Chris Lilley is hilarious.

12. Having to explain why you moved away ten million times through every year of your studies.

You’ll tell yourself, ‘This is the last time I’m repeating this’ over and over again.

13. Going weeks without talking to your parents because they’re never awake when you are! God damn time zones!

14. The shock of realizing that your version of Australia was based on a whole lot of stereotypes.

No, Australians do not have pet kangaroos and they don’t eat Vegemite with every meal.

15. Accidentally using slang from your home country when talking to your Aussie friends and everyone looks at you like you're crazy.

16. Having to answer to a completely different name because no one can pronounce yours.

“Huh? Are you talking to me? Oh… Right… Yep that’s me.”

17. Missing native cuisine so much that you’re totally willing to trade your left kidney for someone who cooks like your Mum

You’ll miss home cooked meals more than you think. Over indulge while you can!

18. Having this constant fear in the back of your mind that every tiny infraction will result in you being deported.

19. Getting so excited when you meet someone from your home country that you need a few minutes alone in a very dark room to calm down.

20. Dealing with all of the paperwork. So much damn paperwork

21. Finding yourself maniacally scrambling to the International students' office to get all of it signed in time.

22. Trying to deal with your new, strange, hybrid accent…

Trying to hide your new, strange, hybrid accent from your parents and friends from home will be the ultimate challenge.

23. When people try to tell you that they know how you feel and you try to hide your resentment.

24. Trying to comfort your friends when they get homesick and they only live a few hours away from their family.

You know who people shouldn’t cry their homesick to? An International student. Especially an International student that has to travel for days in order to be with their family. You’ll probably casually joke, “Yeah, I know how you feel.” But deep inside, you’re really thinking “What is this person even talking about? YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ARE IN THE SAME TIME ZONE!” (Insert eye-roll).

25. The disgust that you feel when you realise you’re the ‘token’ foreign friend.

‘Just love me for who I am, god damn it!’

26. Dealing with the fact that so many potential employers seem allergic to the words "visa" and "sponsorship."

You will most likely go for a copious amount of job interviews and realise half way through that the employer interviewing you isn’t even considering hiring you anymore, after they hear the words “visa” and “sponsorship”. However, don’t lose faith, keep applying for every job that you can and hopefully someone will recognise your true potential and strong work ethic.

27. The incessant buzzing of your phone, thanks to WhatsApp, BBM, and Viber.

28. The fact that your friends across the world are awake when you're trying to sleep.

29. Telling people where you're from and then having to deal with their questions and misconceptions.

"How is your English so good? Did you have a computer? Wait, you had Wi-Fi and cable?!"

30. The fear that at the end of this beautiful and crazy ride studying abroad, you'll have to pack up and leave.
We hope you enjoyed our blog on the daily struggles faced by International students. Stay tuned for more hilarious and relatable blogs!

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