November 17 is International Students Day, which is all about celebrating multiculturalism. Discovering a new country and being away from home can be an exciting adventure, but it can also involve a lot of stress and new experiences that can be quite daunting. To help international students adjust to a new environment, we're going to take a look at some of the biggest issues that may arise when moving to a different country to study.

If you're struggling with any of the issues below, know that it's normal, and if you're wanting to seek support, Sonder is here for you 24/7.

Adapting to a new culture

Adjusting to a completely new culture can be difficult. The lifestyle, language, food, and clothing may be different from what you're used to at home. But, it takes time to adjust to a new environment and talking with other international students and swapping experiences can help you to feel less alone.

Making friends as an international student

It can be hard to put yourself out there when you're in a new place, especially when it comes to making friends and meeting new people. By seeking out groups or clubs through your university journey, you're sure to meet like-minded people who you'll click with. A simple hello to the person beside you when you're in a lecture can be a good start or meeting people through volunteer activities can be another way to make friends.


Homesickness can be tough to deal with and missing your family and friends back home is something you shouldn't be ashamed about. Join some clubs or connect with some people from your home country who are also studying abroad and speak in your own language to help you feel less alone. Making sure you phone home regularly is also important so you know that your family and friends are only a call away.

Financial difficulties

Having financial troubles can really put a dampener on your international educational experience. It's not cheap to study in Australia, especially when you have to consider things like tuition fees, rent, and the cost of groceries nowadays. You can always pick up a part-time job where you can work for 20 hours a week while studying to help you out. Juggling a job while studying can be tricky at times, so it's best to have a schedule and boundaries around working and studying.

Academic expectations

When studying in a new country and in a new language, it's common to sometimes feel like you're falling behind. After all, you're jumping out of your comfort zone and expanding your mind, so it's no wonder it will take some time for your brain to adjust to learning something new. Go easy on yourself and it can help if you talk to your lecturer or join a study group to help you ease into your workload.

If you find you're continuing to struggle for a longer period of time, it's best to reach out for support. Contact one of our Sonder team members who can offer advice 24/7.

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If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Information sourced from: PFEC Global and Study Melbourne

Image credit: Helena Lopes on Unsplash

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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