Sometimes you need a bit of inspiration and the right words of encouragement to motivate yourself. You might need to hear the right advice from experts who know best; from people who’ve experienced what you’re feeling.
And where better to look for advice than to the speakers of TED? Here, experienced and knowledgeable speakers cover topics of any and all varieties — to help us engage and understand more about the world around us.
For international students, there a lot of TED and TEDx talks that can feel specific to them but we’ve picked out five that we think that every international student needs to see.
Why study abroad?
While this talk may be just preaching to the choir for some, for prospective international students who are thinking of coming to Australia or studying elsewhere in the world, this is the TEDx talk for you.
Marina Meijer was a former international student who now works as an education consultant to many young people thinking of travelling abroad. She says that she has gained a larger appreciation for the world and what it offers as a former international student and reminds young people that travelling abroad isn’t just getting your degree or what school you study at but what you experience a long the way.
For her studying abroad isn’t ‘really’ about studying but simply about being abroad or ‘experiential learning’ as she puts it. So for her, she recommends that ALL international students do the following:
- Dive into new experiences and adventures by challenging yourself
- Make new friends that don’t look like you, friends that can bring you out of your comfort zone
- Follow your heart and make the right choices for you, whether in academia, in work or personally
Connecting the dots: Build, don’t break relationships!
All international students want friends but what we hear quite often is that it can be quite hard to find them. This goes beyond wanting to be friends with locals, sometimes it can be difficult to even connect with those from your own country if they operate on a different wavelength than you.
This TEDx Talk provides students with a means of identifying what kind of person they are and how they communicate with others. It introduces the “Dots” concept which breaks it down simply as this: we all fall into four different types of communicative categories.
Red dots identify themselves as being rationalists (they are fact-based individuals), yellow dots are pictorialists (honesty and image is everything to them), purple dots are visionists (they are often the loudest in the room) and blue dots are sensationalists (individuals who who are quite sensitive but ultimately very friendly).
By understanding who you are and how you engage with others, it can help for you to address which parts of your communicating need improving and where you can do better at.
How to speak so that people want to listen
Once you know what you’re like in conversations with others, how do you actually ensure that people want to listen to you and that you are being heard? This video identifies the seven deadly sins of listening and conversations — gossiping, judging, negativity, complaining, excuses, lying and dogmatism — and suggests that people look at approaching their conversations and listening habits by implementing the HAIL system.
HAIL stands for Honesty, Authenticiy, Integrity and Love and by putting these values to good use, not only will people want to listen to what you have to say next but you will in turn be able to think positively about conversations you hear the next time you’re out and about trying to make friends.
These techniques can also be used for when you’re presenting in class for an assignment or simply trying to get on with others in a group assignment!
Re-defining work-life balance so it works for you
Everyone will experience the struggle to effectively balance work and life. And while this be exclusive to the international student experience, it’s still important to know how you can change the way in which you approach your work and spare time.
While this video mostly covers employed work, parts of this video can also be applied to academic study as well. The speaker here encourages people to redefine the way in which they relax and the way they look at free time and work. It encourages people to find what works for them, thus changing the way we perceive success.
A stress-free life leads to a better quality in life, after all.
Changing the way we treat stress
Speaking of stress, this video looks how we can actually make stress our friend, rather than our enemy. The speaker explains that for years she had considered stress the enemy, and had been telling many others that too. But when she came across research which found that it wasn’t stress that resulted in death for some, but the belief that stress would kill them, it forced the speaker, psychologist Kelly McGonigal, to reframe her attitude towards stress.
By adopting a healthier and positive mentality towards stress, thinking of it not as a psychological phenomena that causes you harm but rather instead heightens your ability to perform when something urgent comes your way, it drastically changes the way you feel about you look at your life.
So the next time you have an exam or several assignments falling on the same day or week, don’t look at the work before you as something that’s going to negatively affect your physical and mental wellbeing but rather as “my body helping me rise to this challenge”.
This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.