Uni life can be complicated at first, so this site will help make it a little easier to navigate your first semester at Monash. The weeks listed here represent the twelve teaching weeks of semester. Just start scrolling to browse topics to see important deadlines to help you manage your studies each week. 

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Survival tips

Coming to a new country to study is an exciting time - you'll make lots of new friends and share all sorts of wonderful experiences. It can also be a bit stressful, especially if you're living away from your family for the first time. Services may not work the same way they do at home. People may not behave quite as you expect. And, if English is not your first language, conversations can sometimes be confusing.

To help you adjust to your new life, we'd like to give you a glimpse of what to expect during your time at Monash. We'll offer handy hints about Aussie culture, suggest how you can connect to the Monash community, and who to contact if you need information or advice. We'll also point out some Melbourne attractions you might like to explore and provide useful information about looking after your personal wellbeing.

Aussie culture

Navigating an unfamiliar culture can sometimes be challenging. Although Australia is a culturally diverse nation, many of its social customs reflect its British heritage. You might notice, for example, that Australians express their feelings differently from the way people in your own culture do. With time, however, you'll become more comfortable with these cultural differences and understand better how to respond to them, while preserving your own social values.

Social customs

When meeting someone for the first time, try talking about topics such as the weather, study, popular culture and hobbies. Generally, you'd only talk about personal relationships, politics and religion with friends (although you may find public debate about such topics widely covered in the media).

Handshakes are commonly used to greet each other or say goodbye, especially among men. Women may display greater physical contact by hugging and greeting each other or with a kiss on the cheek. You'll also see couples show affection in public - hugging, kissing and holding hands.

Australians tend to be informal. They'll often use first (given) names even with respected elders. To be safe, use a title, such as ‘Ms', ‘Dr' or ‘Professor', before a family name (surname) until you're invited to call such a person by their first name.

The dress code at university reflects the relaxed nature of Australians as people dress casually and comfortably. During the warm summer months, it's acceptable for both men and women to wear shorts and singlets.

We have a series of videos about intercultural communication, with some great examples of how you can practise and speak to people at Monash.

Equal opportunity

In Australia, all adults are entitled to the same rights, status and opportunities. Australian law protects people from discrimination based on gender, race, colour, national or ethnic origin, nationality, and religious or political beliefs, among other characteristics. Everyone should expect to be treated with the same respect.

The strange way Aussies talk

One of the most confusing things about Australians is how they speak English. Not only do they have their own particular accent, they use lots of idioms and abbreviations. This can sometimes make them hard to understand.

Essential Aussie slang for international students

If you're struggling, Monash offers some great workshops to help you with conversational English. Check out your options on Improve your English.

Get connected

When you first arrive at Monash, every other new student is trying to settle in, just like you - remember, you're not alone! And there are plenty of people and services on campus to help you.


Talk to others who look lost - you might make a new friend and then you can explore the campus together. Go to Monash Sport to sign up for the gym, pool or social sport competitions. Join your student association, or a student club or society. You can even volunteer to help out at Monash. All great ways to meet people with similar interests.

You might also like to consider joining a non-residential college at the Clayton, Caulfield or Peninsula campus - this will give you access to all sorts of social, sporting, academic and cultural programs. Or visit the international student association office or lounge on your campus to find out about social events and information sessions throughout the year.


The my.monash portal will be your lifeline. Once you've set up your uni account, you can access your student email, Google calendar, important dates, notices, your timetable and much more.

Also, you might like to get online and take part in discussion groups with other Monash students (e.g. Google+ and the New to Monash Facebook group.

You can also check out Campus Life to discover all sorts of opportunities, events and activities around Monash.

Where to get information

If you've got a question or need more information, there will always be someone at Monash who can help you. Here are a few options.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Most questions you have will probably have been asked by other students. You can search frequently asked questions for answers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Most topics are covered, from ID cards, enrolment, fees, financial assistance, where to get course advice and much more. If you don't find what you're looking for, you can also send in your own question and our friendly team will provide you with an answer, usually within one business day.

Monash Connect

Our student service centre, Monash Connect, can help you with just about anything at Monash, or direct you to the appropriate service. Our friendly staff can be contacted by phone on +61 3 9903 1247 or visit us at a Monash Connect on your campus.

Monash Abroad (study abroad and exchange students)

Monash Abroad offers support and services to study abroad, international exchange, and intercampus exchange students who've come to Monash for only one or two semesters. For help, phone +61 3 9905 1551 or email monash.abroad@monash.edu.

Student Finance (sponsored students)

If you've got questions about your sponsorship (e.g. from the Australian Government or an overseas government department), contact Monash Connect even though Student Finance manages such sponsorships.

Student Finance (students receiving foreign financial aid)

Phone +61 3 9905 8665 or email foreign.finaid@monash.edu for information about your student financial aid or loan.

Disability Support Services

If you have a disability or an ongoing medical or mental health condition that impacts your studies, you can register with Disability Support Services. This gives you access to a range of support services, such as note takers, library assistance, provision of material in alternative formats, and alternative arrangements for assessments.

Your personal wellbeing

Make sure you're aware of potential risks when you're off campus. Like all major cities, Melbourne can present dangers. Use common sense advice to stay safe. And, of course, always stay alert. Dial 000 in an emergency.

On campus, if you become concerned about your own or someone else's safety, notice something suspicious, or would just like some advice, Monash Security Services can assist you 24/7.

How to get medical attention

In Australia, you do not have to go to a hospital to see a doctor. You can see a doctor (also known as a GP or general practitioner) in their private practice, on campus University Health Services or at a medical centre. In most cases, you'll need to make an appointment. Some or all of the doctor's fee will be reimbursed by your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

We also have healthcare professionals from many different cultural backgrounds, so you may be able to see a doctor who speaks your first language. You can request this free service when you make your appointment.

In an emergency, most Australians rely on the public hospital system. You'll be asked to pay an upfront fee between $400 and $700 before being treated in an emergency department of a hospital.

To get medicine prescribed by your doctor, you need to take your prescription to a chemist (pharmacy). You'll show the chemist your OSHC card and then wait a short time for the medicine to be prepared.

Where to seek legal assistance

The laws in Australia may differ from those in your home country. You can get legal assistance by hiring a lawyer. To find out how to choose a lawyer, go to Law Institute of Victoria.

You can also seek assistance from Victoria Legal Aid or the Law Institute of Victoria, or one of our many community legal centres, such as the Monash Oakleigh Legal Service (MOLS). MOLS offers free legal advice and assistance on a variety of legal matters, such as motor vehicle accidents, matrimonial and family matters, police prosecutions, debt, tenancy and neighbour disputes, contracts and social welfare.

Religious services for various faiths

Student groups or campus-based chaplains hold a variety of religious services and programs throughout the year. These include regular opportunities for worship and meditation, confidential pastoral counselling for spiritual, religious and personal issues, and study groups and workshops on scripture, faith and personal growth.

Our multifaith chaplains strive to develop spirituality in students and staff, and regularly liaise with all spiritual groups on campus. The chaplains can help put you in touch with your own spirituality and, if you wish, they'll connect you with other community-based faith groups and organisations.

International handbooks

We understand that, coming from another country, you may have specific social, cultural and religious needs. To address those needs in the context of university life, we've put together two handbooks:

destination monash cover

Destination Monash

A comprehensive handbook for international students starting at Monash.

View Destination Monash
(pdf, 1.25 mb)

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Salaam Monash

A handbook for new Muslim students about our available support facilities.

View Salaam Monash
(pdf, 7.91 mb)

Destination Monash is also available as an e-book.

You can download Salaam Monash in Bahasa Indonesian (pdf, 7.92 mb) or Arabic (pdf, 7.83 mb), or as an e-book in English.

Melbourne ranked world's most liveable city

For the seventh year running, Melbourne has been voted the most liveable city in the world. Soak up its multicultural atmosphere, its winding laneways and quirky street art. Discover the various major cultural and sporting events hosted throughout the year, and the diverse food and fabulous coffee that Melburnians are so proud of. You'll find everything Melbourne has to offer within 45 kilometres of our four major campuses.

For more details about what's happening on and off campus, go to Life in Melbourne.

If you don't feel like venturing off campus, you can find plenty of entertainment, places to shop, and eateries on campus. Got some special dietary requirements? Find exactly what you need at Monash Eat Drink Shop.