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How to make the most of your time overseas as an international student

Trinity College Foundation Studies

Fri Dec 19 2014

International students

HAVING fun and being responsible with your time is just as important as hitting the books and studying. Trinty College Foundation Studies students Grace Tan, Liew Annie, Caroline Liu give their tips on how you can effectively maximise your time as an international student.

Away from their parents, many international students when coming to study in a new country are suddenly exposed to a new found sense of freedom and independence (YAY!), as well as responsibility (NO!).

Year in and year out, students try to juggle their social lives with their academic ones but most of the time find it hard to balance.

Recently, we asked students at Trinity College Foundation Studies how they spent their days enjoying their time away from schoolwork and revision.

One student, Aung Kyi Myat, said, “I had a lot of fun times in psychology class and [hanging] out with friends. I didn’t study enough when I was there. If I could go back I would study more.”

Meanwhile, other students were more diligent with their studies, dedicating their time and efforts to become model students. That said, while schoolwork is certainly important,  focusing exclusively on it will more than likely result in a less than exciting social life and a burnt out state of mind.

So to avoid overworking and exhausting yourself, and being able to maintain a social life, what can you do to maximise your time as an overseas student?

Draw up a timetable for your day


We know you’ve heard this before but trust us, it works!

Sarah Comyn, a literature teacher at Trinity College, advises students to have a good study plan to ensure enough time for all the subjects they need to cover.

That way, you’re getting a little bit of all your work done each day and hopefully by the end of the week, you’ll have finished 3 assignments!

When all the work’s done, you can finally reward yourself by snacking out or simply just being able to have more time to hang out with your friends! Don’t forget that ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’, so leave some time for de-stressing in your daily timetable as well.

Keep a to-do list

Keeping a to-do list is also helpful in keeping you organised and is motivational in pushing you to tick tasks off your list.

With a list, you can also keep track of all your work and once they’re done you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve accomplished all the goals you set out to complete on it.

Limit your social outings

Sure, you might want to hang out with your friends and enjoy being outside for a while but keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to.

While your social life will help remedy boredom and fatigue from overstudying, it’s also not your only priority! Keep hangouts to a maximum of one or two gatherings a week so that you don’t go to class like a zombie the next day!

For those of you that don’t like to go out that often, make sure you do meet up with friends once in a while, even if it’s for a study date. Priti Mukherjee, a Trinity College EAP teacher, recommends, “They’ve got to focus on studies, concentrate on work, like in class and lectures and go home, have time to study but also have time to relax and do different things.”

Friends can also help you through tough times and you can rely on them to help you with work you mightn’t understand!

Get adequate sleep

You know that saying, ‘sleep is for the weak’? They got it wrong.

A lack of sleep decreases alertness and concentration and can also slow down your metabolism. What’s the point of going to class or any social outings if you’re not paying attention and look like a hot mess?

Give it a try


Remember that you’re in a new country full of wonderful possibilities and opportunities! See an ice cream flavour you’ve never tried before? Give it a try! Never learnt how to ride a bike back home? Give it a try! Learn a new language if you feel like it!

Melbourne is a cultural hub of different nationalities and ethnicities so check out the city and all it offers -you may find something you like!

Stay connected

Photo: Gerard van Schip via Flickr

Photo: Gerard van Schip via Flickr

It’s okay to miss home once in a while. As an international student, you are entitled to miss all the things you love and not know how to deal with it.

Remember to connect to the people who you love back home. Keep those people close to you, because they’re the people who’ll bring you through the good and bad times!

Give time to yourself

In the hustle and bustle of balancing both your social and study life, don’t forget to give time to yourself.

To all the overachievers out there, you’ve got to admit there’s a point in time where you wanna flip all the tables. Take a breather! Go to the park, feel the sun on your skin, and the grass under you and just watch the clouds go by.

Time waits for nobody, unfortunately, so be sure to make the most of your time overseas studying because it’s the only one you’ll get! Make friends, try new things, study hard and don’t forget to play just as hard!