Psychological issues as a new international student.

I try to be perfect, but it goes the opposite way. This is not my first time studying abroad, but academic pressure’s still an issue. I can’t finish the required reading, I get lost in my class because of language barriers and I feel afraid that I can’t get good marks. I do have good friends who I live and share meals with. I feel lucky, but sometimes I want to be alone. I’m hoping to find an internship, but it is not easy for me.

It sounds like this is not the experience you were wishing for and it has started to impact on how you feel. It is very common that students’ expectations of themselves and study are different to their actual experience. When our experience and our expectations differ it leads to stress. Adjusting your expectations to be realistic is the first step to reducing stress.

Even if you have studied abroad before, settling in to a new environment can be a difficult transition. Maybe the learning requirements are different from your last experience. It is understandable that even if you have studied before, you may still encounter new things. Remember not to compare this experience with learning in your first language or with other people studying alongside you. Language fluency can also be an obstacle to you expressing your true potential.  Academic Skills provides numerous resources to support you in improving your study strategies and your English skills. Melbourne Careers can also help with finding an internship.

I am glad to hear you have good friends. That’s already a great achievement on your “international student adjustment checklist”! When we feel down, we tend to isolate ourselves which can contribute to feeling even more down. On the other hand it is normal to want to spend time alone – you just need to find the right balance for you. Don’t hesitate to reach out for emotional support and ask for help with your studies. Sharing your experience with someone that went through something similar can also bring relief. UMSU can provide good opportunities to socialise with other international students.

If you don’t see any improvement in your mood, or if you find yourself too stressed or preoccupied with your academic performance, don’t hesitate to talk to one of our counsellors at CAPS.


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