Culture //

Challenges abound for international students

Angel Zhao on transport, accommodation, and English as a Second Language.

Image via williamson, Flickr.

For thousands of international students who come to Australia from all over the world, it’s crucial that they make the right decision in choosing which university will provide them with the best education.

University rankings, historical reputation, on-campus facilities, student accommodation, student support services and so forth are all factors for students to consider. For international students who make up over 30 per cent and 26 per cent of the student population at USYD and UNSW respectively, student accommodation is especially important to consider because of the many expenses related to living overseas.

How far they live from campus affects their use of transportation. Alongside monthly living expenditures and involvement on campus with clubs and societies, travelling becomes another burden of expense for international students. The NSW Tertiary Student Concession Card is issued exclusively to students who are Australian citizens and permanent residents. The recently promulgated policy for International students only applies to MyMulti 2 and 3 tickets.

Sydney University and UNSW both offer ‘affordable’ housing that targets domestic and international students on an average rent that varies from $271 to $425, depending on the types of the apartments. Among those highly fastidious conditions on applications for different on-campus accommodation, University Village is the most compatible, flexible, relatively affordable accommodation for international students at both universities.

 According to statistics on both university accommodation websites, UNSW Village is slightly cheaper than Sydney University Village, as UNSW Village offers seven and eight bedroom apartments for $244 per week. In contrast, Sydney University Village only offers up to five bedroom apartments for $271.5 weekly. While Sydney University Village provides 50GB Wi-Fi for free, UNSW Village charges for Wi-Fi from $14.95 to $159.95.

After making up their minds on picking the right university, and completing IELTS exams, the most exciting yet daunting part takes place. As an English as a Second Language student, conquering the language barrier becomes our ultimate goal. For instance, it is extremely intimidating be the only ESL student in the same tutorial room with twenty other Australian or native English speaking students.

These are all immensely challenging experiences for international students who, after a complex decision-making process, choose to come to Australian universities.