Living abroad

After choosing a course, there are many things to consider when making the move to a new country; visa, insurance, financial support, accommodation and work opportunities. Although it may seem overwhelming, don’t you worry! Globe dock’s counsellors are dedicated to supporting you throughout your journey.

Visa and Immigration

Our experienced counselors will guide you through the visa application process and help you prepare the necessary documents for your submission.

What to pack

Being organized when you are packing will save you a lot of time and hassle in your new country. Globedock counselors will advise you on what you will need to pack in respect to the country you will be attending your school to help you become more efficient and prepared.

Managing Money

There are several ways in which you can save money as an international student. Being an international student will help you become independent and help you gain the skills of leading an independent life and how to properly manage your money to survive. you may know a few about how to manage your money but, if you feel like you need an advice Globedock is always ready to provide assistance.

Networking and Socializing

Building good relationships with people you meet while studying overseas can actually be a huge advantage when it comes time for job hunting. You may have heard the saying, “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” Having a great network of friends and acquaintances can help you put your best foot forward.

Here are a few tips for successful networking:

Start with your own network

The people you already know in school can be a tool for expanding your connections. Start creating meaningful relationships with your classmates, teachers, club mates, and peers. If you find yourself struggling to meet different people, a simple act of introducing yourself to the person sitting next to you in class can help improve your confidence. This might require you to step out of your comfort zone, so take it slowly to begin with. You can also try moving around during the semester and taking different seats in the classroom.

Build good relationships with your professors

Your professors, teachers and tutors are very likely to have great industry connections. With years of experience under their belt, they know the ins and outs of a particular area that could be of interest to you. They can also provide access to networking events, first-hand information about internship opportunities, or career updates in the line of work you want to pursue. Your lecturers are a great source of advice and guidance, so make sure you take advantage of their assistance.

Participate in networking events

Networking events, seminars and workshops are excellent opportunities to widen your connections, so keep an eye out for any invitations and announcements from your institution’s student career center. First encounters are normally awkward and embarrassing but with continuous participation, speaking with strangers will, in time, become easy and natural.

Professional functions are also great places to find influential people who you can interact with. Industry conferences sometimes have discounted student rates, that will generally still give you access to social and networking functions. Remember, it is not every day you get the opportunity to connect with experts and leaders in your field of study.

Take advantage of social media

The easiest way to start networking is through social media. Networking sites like LinkedIn and Twitter are great platforms to connect with professionals in a more casual way. So be proactive and take the initiative to engage with organizations and industry leaders in your chosen field, as they are likely to share trends and updates that might be useful to the path you wish to take. Be on the lookout as well for any networking functions, job openings and career events on your news-feed.

Develop your soft skills

As well as a great academic record, employers will often be interested in your ‘soft skills’, which are the skills involved with how you interact with other people.

Here are some handy ways you can build your soft skills outside the classroom:

Internships

There are certain skills that can only be learned through experience, and one of the best ways to acquire them is through internships. Whether it’s part time or full time, sometimes universities can’t always help you build workforce skills such as time management, conflict resolution and teamwork.

Non-profit organisations

Have you ever thought of working for a nonprofit organisation? Volunteering your time for free may not sound appealing for everyone, but by helping a worthy cause you can actually widen your horizons and broaden your skill set as well. Volunteering helps you adapt to people who are different from you, build your confidence, and improve your leadership skills. Don’t miss out on volunteer activities, as they can sometimes be the perfect opportunity to explore the world around you and meet new people – plus the experience will look great on your resume!

Clubs and societies

Whether you’re a freshman or a graduating student, getting involved in clubs and societies is a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and improve your skills in a specific area of interest. Joining clubs will also keep you busy and occupied, and in turn, will help you develop a more structured schedule to allow you to focus on your priorities and build your time management skills.

Workshops and seminars

Many institutions and professional organisations run workshops, seminars and other skill building opportunities for university students at little to no cost. Participating in these activities can be beneficial in learning new ideas, trying new tools, or sharpening your skills. The interactions can also help you become a better listener, smarter problem solver, and more open minded to other’s opinions.

In a nutshell, attending voluntary workshops and seminars is a fantastic way to make new connections and be seen as an expert in your area of study.

Did you ever wonder what you need to be a global competitor?

Here are some quick tips:

Identify your career goals

Take the time to make a plan. Get help to work out what you want and how you can achieve your career goals. Make an appointment with a careers counsellor at your school or university; attend career planning workshops and industry specific sessions. Start early and get your plan together in first year so you can make the most of the services and opportunities available at your institution to fine-tune your skills.

Get engaged in activities like internships

Employers are looking for students who engage in their local community and can demonstrate skills such as: initiative, teamwork and communication skills. You can build and demonstrate these skills through part-time or casual work, volunteering, getting involved with clubs and societies, internships and work placements.

Work experience and volunteering also gives you with the opportunity to meet and interact with a diverse range of people who become part of your social and professional network and could become potential referees in the future.

Build your personality

personality traits and interpersonal skills required of employees to succeed in almost any job. In recent years, they have become more and more important to a successful professional career. They include skills like teamwork and collaboration, adaptability, empathy and communication skills.

Improve your Language

Improving your language skills takes time and practice. Practice is also important not only to improve, but to maintain your existing English skills. If you find that you are mostly speaking your native language, consider finding an English conversation class or buddy program where you can find a safe and comfortable environment to talk in English.

Increase your knowledge in your chosen discipline

Individual research and study can help you develop your full potential, which may also help open doors once you have finished your studies. This doesn’t have to be costly, though. You can start by giving up some time on your school holidays or semester breaks and participating in some extra reading and preparation for your upcoming courses. Anything from extra reading at the library, to watching online tutorials, or even applying for summer internships could help you gain an edge in your chosen industry.

Be part of workshops and seminars

Attending these events gives you access to the best practices across the globe that you can use to boost your career prospects.

What To Pack

Being organised when you are packing will save you a lot of time and hassle in your new country. It is also good to know what you need to bring from home, or what you can buy in your new town.

Before you even drag out the suitcase, let’s review this checklist…

Have you ticked all seven boxes? Ok, great. Now let’s get packing.

Some things are best left at home, so to avoid wasting your money or issues with customs, make sure you don’t pack any of the following:

Study tips

Study smarter, not harder 

Everyone approaches studying in their own way. There is no ‘one golden rule’ to help you achieve the best results – it all comes down to what works best for YOU.

Rather than just study harder, make sure to study smarter. Take a moment and consider how you can control your environment to form good habits and be an effective studier – this will save you a lot of stress and time.

Location, Location, Location

While some research has shown that cafés provide a recipe for successful studying (ambient noise, temperature and lighting etc. – not to mention the caffeine), this does not apply to every café or every individual.

If you are one of the many people that find the hustle and bustle of cafés distracting, consider your local library, which provides a free space that is quiet and comfortable.

Studying at home is another popular option, but sometimes this can more inhibiting than you realise. Often there are many distractions and you may not have an appropriate study desk. You want to be comfortable, but not too comfortable (soft couch, or in bed) that you become drowsy or fall asleep.

Noise. If so, how much?

Some studies have found that silence is golden when attempting difficult tasks, but others argue that a little background noise can actually be a good thing.

Ambient noise at around 70 decibels (such as exists in cafes) has been shown to be very effective for creative thinking, however anything much higher than that (if you are in a loud café or right next to the coffee grinder) can actually raise blood pressure and increase stress, reducing your ability to absorb information.Some people study while listening to music, however you may find (like many others) that any vocals become distracting. Try and find something that won’t side-track your mind; here are some examples of what to listen to.

Neo-classical; Nils Frahm, Max Richter, Olafur Arnalds

Jazz; Chet Baker, Dave Brubeck, Jimmy Smith, Duke Jordan,

Modern; Mogwai, BADBADNOTGOOD, Nightmares on Wax

Time of the day

This is an endless debate with no objective winner. Some experts recommend studying new material in the morning and using the afternoon/night to integrate new knowledge into what we already know – it still comes down to what works best for you.

MORNING

  • You have more energy.
  • There are more location options.
  • Easier to contact others if you have questions.
  • Natural light is better for your eyes and concentration.
  • There are more distractions.

NIGHT

  • Peaceful and quiet.
  • Night can increase your creative effectiveness – you do see concepts differently at night.
  • Less places available to study, but of those available they are often deserted.
  • Some research suggests that night-owls are smarter that early risers.

Duration of study

Taking breaks are important with any study routine. Social scientists have provided an exact equation for effective studying – 52 minutes study, then a 17 minute break. While this may seem a little bit silly, the key take away point is that taking breaks is not a form of slacking off, but genuinely makes the time you are studying more beneficial.

Long periods of study can result in reduced concentration and drowsiness. Break up your study with some physical activity and you’ll notice an improvement in your ability to retain information.

Solo or in a group

Depending on the subject, studying in a group has been shown to be very beneficial. You can motivate each other, ask and answer questions and create an enjoyable space that doesn’t feel like such a chore.

Group studying can, however, encourage distractions. You may intend on studying one particular subject and get lost discussing plans for the weekend. It’s a good idea to find the right people and a balance between alone time and group sessions.

In the end, it is about finding the routine that works best for you. Take the time before you sit down, to understand the best environment for you. Discover the right environment for you and you’ll quickly get those study juices flowing.

This article originally appeared on Insider Guides.

Job seeking tips

Top tips for finding a job after university

Being an international student comes with a heavy price tag, which is why most students balance work alongside their studies. There are also some huge advantages to working while you study. Students with part-time and casual jobs get a host of experiences they won’t get sitting in a classroom.

Here are some tips for finding part-time or casual work:

Restrictions on work or hours

Make sure you check your visa conditions and be clear on the number of hours you can work during semester and semester breaks. Also, think about how you are going to balance work and study and make sure you are not working too much and impacting on your grades!

Know your rights

Research minimum wages in your area and make sure you are clear on employee entitlements. This might include things such as leave, breaks and rest periods and health and safety.

Create a plan

Try and avoid sitting back and instead create a plan for your application efforts. Ask around and keep your eyes open for local companies that hire casuals. This might include fast food restaurants, department stores, clothing stores and cafes. Try creating a list of at least five to ten target companies and take a look on their websites for any advertised positions.

Tap into your networks

You may not have quite the same network of friends and family as you have back home, but try asking housemates, other students in your class or even international student social networks and forums for advice on opportunities for paid work.

Stop using generic resume formats

Using generic resumes which list down your courses, your bachelor’s degree, and your summer jobs will not help you stand out. Try to make as strong of a statement as possible by using a unique or personalised resume format. This way, employers will not be bored when considering your application and it will stand out from the other applicants. Have a go at writing a resume directed at your possible employer, and one they will enjoy reading.

Approach employers in person with your resume

Small businesses generally expect people to approach them directly in person, via phone or through email. If you’re looking for a job in hospitality or retail, it’s best to directly approach employers in your local area. Take along your resume and be prepared to talk about your skills, experience and availability. Keep an eye out for cafes and shops that have signs in their windows advertising for staff.

Tip: think carefully about the best time to take your resume to hospitality and retail stores. You want the manager to have time to have a chat with you. Don’t go during the lunchtime rush!

Apply directly to large companies via their websites

Larger organisations who employ part-time and casual staff in a range of roles tend to use online application systems. Recruitment information can be tricky to find – if there’s no tab on the website for ‘careers’ ‘jobs’ or ‘employment’, look for an ‘about us’ tab on the site map. Sometimes opportunities even sit under a ‘news’ tab.

Follow up your application

Remember, it is not enough to send out your resumes and wait for a message or phone call from employers. Try and follow up every application with an email or a call to ensure that they know how interested you really are. Make sure, however, that you don’t follow up to the point where you bother a potential employer.

Take job interviews seriously

Aim to be as professional as possible during job interviews. Research the company you will be applying for and dress accordingly during interviews. Try to arrive early and prepare simple, but concise, answers to possible common questions like, “how do you deal with difficult customers”?

Managing stress

Don’t suffer in silence

When you’re studying abroad, it’s normal to feel a little stressed or homesick once in a while. Sometimes, you might feel you need a bit of extra help – and that’s okay.

Some of the common areas that can cause some anxiety include:

  • Academic demands
  • Pressure balancing work and study commitments
  • Financial difficulties
  • Relationship problems

Compared with domestic students, research has identified international students as being at higher risk due to extra challenges and stresses faced when living abroad, away from home.

With that in mind – let’s discuss mental health!

Common stressors faced by international students

In research conducted by Forbes-Mewett & Sawyer in Australia, international students were interviewed about the most common transitional stresses they faced while adjusting to life in their study home and many of these apply to all our study destinations:

Culture shock & off-campus living pressures:

Upon arrival, international students face ‘culture shock’ and a string of new responsibilities – including navigating language barriers, searching for accommodation, finding housemates, paying rent, learning to manage a household – not to mention studying!

Students also reported initial worries about English language barriers when making friends, voicing opinions during group assignments and/or utilising professional health-care services (due to fears about miscommunication).

Financial & academic pressures:

In addition to the financial pressures of budgeting and handling household finances, international students must adjust to unfamiliar academic environments, study styles and course-structures.

Some students – especially those receiving financial support from home – reported feeling intense pressures to succeed or achieve academically whilst studying abroad. Students who reported feeling their academic work was ‘below expectation’ experienced higher levels of anxiety and depression resulting in poorer academic performance.

Managing stress and homesickness

Some students may experience homesickness a few days after arriving at their new home and for others it may take a few weeks. Feeling homesick is common and may involve the experience of the following:

  • low mood
  • anxiousness
  • feeling unmotivated
  • feeling you don’t belong
  • generally feeling unwell
  • pre-occupation with thoughts of home
  • nothing feels familiar
  • feeling like your new life does not meet your expectations
  • feeling alone and lonely.

If you are feeling homesick or stressed, here are some tips to manage these normal and common emotions:

Stay socially connected in your study country

Build your local support network or swap stories with other international students sharing similar experiences. Use social networking sites/apps like Meet Up to find international student groups, or people in your city who share similar hobbies.

Reach out to friends, family and/or personal support networks

Talk with someone close and trusted. Still, try not to contact home too often – you’ll want to focus on your current experiences as an international student too.

Try:

  • Scheduling weekly/monthly Skype sessions with family or friends
  • Traveling and sending postcards back home
  • Writing emails or letters
  • Switching off social media for a while
  • Be open to new experiences

Get to know your new city

Make an effort to get to know your new surroundings and what’s happening in your new city. Familiarizing yourself can lessen feelings of everything feeling strange and new and it helps you feel connected to your new life. If you were involved in a club/church/group back home, then find out what your new neighbourhood has to offer.

Do a little research about where you’re living and find a few places you absolutely have to explore –- the ten best coffee shops in the city, the favorite locations for local street artists or all the different places you can go hiking. Make a list of these places or activities and challenge yourself to do/see all of them before you leave.

Exercise regularly, eat healthy and look after yourself

Exercise improves both physical and mental health – so stretch your legs. Eat nutritional meals. Rest well.

Talk to others about how you’re feeling

You might feel a lot of pressure to be positive about your whole international study experience, especially if you had high expectations when you arrived, or feel the need to put on a happy face when you talk to folks back at home, but there’s no shame in being homesick. It happens to almost everyone.

Seek help from a professional if you feel that you need additional support to work through your stress. A range of individuals and organisations provide support for people experiencing mental health concerns.

Find internships

Simple tips to help you find an internship

Internships are temporary work placements in workplaces and educational institutions. Internships can be paid or unpaid and the duration can vary from a week to a full academic year.

Some of the benefits of undertaking an internship can include:

  • Contributing to your education through course credits.
  • Helping to improve your English.
  • Helping you develop a network of professional contacts, which could be useful for future references.
  • Learning new work skills and practices.

Cutting through the tough graduate job market can be quite challenging for many international students. Paid or unpaid, that’s why internships are important in giving you real world experience in the industry you want to work.

To help your chances of success, here are some simple tips that can help you land that dream placement:

Check your visa

There are several student and work visas that allow international students to intern.

Different conditions may apply, including:

  • how many hours a day/week you can intern
  • whether you can earn money as an intern.

Check the conditions of your visa before undertaking any internship placement.

Speak with your university or school

Every institution has different policies when it comes to internships. You may want to consult your international student support staff for available opportunities in the institution. Chances are they have the resources which you may not be able to access on your own to help steer you in the right direction.

Explore and weigh your options

There is a myriad of internship opportunities for international students. Take your time, assess your options, and choose what’s best for you. In addition, figure out whether it will be better to go through the internship process on your own or use an internship placement agency.

Contact organisations of interest

If there’s a certain company that you are interested in working for, search their website to see if they offer internship programs to foreign students. If you can’t find any information, contact the organisation directly through email and express your interest in future openings. You can also check online portals dedicated to helping overseas students who are seeking internship jobs.

Know your field of interest

Although there are lots of internships available in a wide range of industries (i.e. business, IT and engineering), it is still important to examine your interests, field of study, and other potential internship areas. Be open-minded and think broadly about positions where you can use your skills. You never know, it may lead to a new career path you’d not previously explored.

Create a resume

Now that you have compiled a list of companies and fields of interest where you will likely apply for an internship, it’s time to build your resume. Make sure your resume highlights your core competencies and achievements and that it is relevant to the position you want to pursue.

Need further information about getting an internship?

If you are ready for an internship, we can get you internship ready. Speak to one of the IDP team today.

Managing Money

Setting up a local bank account

To avoid international bank charges, it often makes sense for you to set up a bank account in your new country. Bank account charges and benefits vary, so it is important to read the fine print. Your IDP counsellor can offer you advice on leading bank accounts in your destination and give you tips on how to make sure you are set up with a reputable and cost effective option that allows you to send and receive money internationally.

Being smart with your money

One of the top struggles of students (especially international students) is saving money and trying not to spend too much. Being a student that is living and studying away from home, you should try and save as much money as possible as study abroad can be an expensive process. Having money means you are able to enjoy benefits like going out, shopping and travelling more.

There are several ways that you can save money as an international student. You may already know a few of these tips, but most of them are definitely worth keeping in mind as they will be able to help you if you’re struggling with money.

Prepare your meals at home

Cooking food at home is a simple task that can help you save money. It can be smarter to cook your own food at your place instead of frequently eating out or ordering food to be delivered. Instead of using your budget to eat out, you can visit a market near you on a weekly basis and buy fresh ingredients at a cheap price. You may be able to cut down your food budget by 30 – 50% by avoiding eating take-away food. By saving the money you would have spent on eating out, you may be able to prepare and cook enough for several meals and use that money for more important things in your abroad experience.

As a student, you may not have time to always cook, so a smart option is to choose to cook in large quantities and keep extra meals in the fridge for reheating when you need to. This way, you don’t have to cook every day. While cooking and preparing your own meals at home may be time-consuming and tiring, it can help you save more money and is usually a much healthier option.

Take advantage of your student status

Using your student card may make you available for discounts not only for transportation but also for restaurants, shops, movie tickets and tourism events. You just need to organise to receive your student card at the beginning of your first study abroad semester so you’re available for these discounts as soon as you start semester. Transportation discounts will also help you save hundreds of dollars yearly! There are some websites dedicated to offering student vouchers and discounts, so make sure you check them out. Sometimes they even point you towards birthday rewards!

Choose social activities wisely

This means that you should be careful with doing things that might add up to a lot of money in the long-run. If you always hang around friends who love to go out, eat out and go shopping whenever they feel like it, you may end up blowing your budget before the end of your trip. Don’t be ashamed to say no to certain social events, or suggest a more affordable alternative. If you explain to people that you are on a travelling budget, they will usually understand that you cannot always spend a lot of money.

Let your city entertain you

When you are in a new country, there are hundreds of fun and exciting places that you can visit that don’t cost too much. You can always look up places on the internet that are free or cheap to visit. For example, there are museums and exhibits that are open to everyone. You can also always check online for promos and deals that you will be able to enjoy at discounted prices.

Being able to save up money is a great thing, but you also have to keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with rewarding yourself every once in a while for all the hard work you have put into saving. It isn’t the “end of the world” to spend money every now and then, especially as a reward to yourself for studying hard. You just should remember to keep it under control and always try to have money saved up for emergencies and other future expenses.