Do You Think you are ready for your stay in Australia as a student? Nida Tahseen offers a first-hand account of what to expect of Australia as a student and the dos and don’ts of life down under
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or the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been ‘NO’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something,” Steve  Jobs, Founder of Apple. Somewhere deep down in our hearts, we all have a dream. For most people, it stays alive in its core, but on the surface it starts to die with every passing day. Whatever the case is, one thing is sure that over a certain period of time and age in our lives, some amount of confusion creeps in and our minds gets clouded. The truth is that our environment influences us all the time subconsciously. This happens due to continuous conditioning from the society and people around us over a long period of time. We start to forget what we want what really makes us happy. We start chasing things we do not really want but just  because everybody else is chasing

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some type of goal, our natural behavior starts to copy majority of people. Since we are not fine-tuned with what we really want and what we are doing, frustration and failure kicks in. This is exactly where I do not wish to see any international student in Australia. To uncover the real YOU, you must first be ready t o act in complete honesty with yourself. Talk to the person in  the mirror and ask these questions What kind of individual am I?, What are my beliefs and value system?, What motivates me?, What are my strengths? What do I really want to learn from Australia? Once you know what your strengths, character, value system, dreams and exact outcomes are, your journey as an international student in Australia will become quite interesting. But once you have made a decision to come to Australia, it is crucial to have financial considerations because they play a huge role in your daily lifestyle and mental health. You must carry out all the research in figuring out your financial implications in Australia as an international student. Your recurring expenses may include food, rent, telephone, transport, utility bills and leisure. There is one more cost, which takes up a big part of the budget for most students – the course fee. For your chosen course, the fee can go anywhere from AUD$ 10,000 to AUD$ 90,000 for the whole duration though the cost highly depends on the educational institution you choose. I see thousands of international

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The truth is that our environment influences us all the time sub consciously and this happens due to the continuous conditioning from society and people around us over a long period of time

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students making compromises on their priorities, lifestyle, health and unfortunately happiness in pursuit of making money to pay for their studies. Generally, you are not allowed to work more than 40 hours fortnightly on a student visa unless you are on holidays. Considering this fact, it is extremely hard to pay off your course fee all by yourself. If possible, applying for an educational loan in your home country is a great idea to fund your studies in Australia or apply to universities that offer scholarships to international students. There are few universities that offer scholarship at undergraduate or graduate level. Most of the scholarships are for postgraduate research like Endeavor Awards, Australia Award Scholarships, International Postgraduate Research Scholarships and then scholarships from different universities and their respective departments. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide are the most livable cities for Pakistani students because these cities have relatively higher percentage of international students particularly from South Asia. They are multicultural and offers a

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wide range of cuisines. But, we have to accept that feeling homesick is perfectly natural and being in Australia or in any western country for the first time can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Emotional ups and downs are bound to happen. There are a few actions you can take to stay strong and emotionally stable. Be prepared to face and embrace the change, read stories and research about the people who had moved to Australia in the past and have now established themselves, last but not least, express yourself, share your thoughts with others. Let me share a few tips that I practice to feel at home in Australia. I participate and attend community festivals and functions, this is will new connections and friends. Visit as many places as you can and explore the popular destinations and  landmarks. Other than that there are plenty of  places with free and discounted entry  prices that you can go to including parks, museums, eateries, art galleries, flea markets etc.  Another truth is that when you master the English language or become more fluent in speaking the local language, you start feeling a sense of belonging in your adopted country. So embrace the change, avoid staying indoors all the time, read more books, try different cuisines, tune into local radio to get acquainted with culture and lifestyle, involve yourself in university clubs, student activities and extracurricular groups at your university, educate yourself beyond curriculum. And finally, don’t give up, your journey has only begun.