Pre-Departure session – Australia
If you are going on a semester-long program like exchange, intercampus exchange and study abroad you are required to attend a Monash Abroad pre-departure session. The sessions take place during SWOT-VAC week, usually in May/June (for students going abroad in semester 2) and October/November (for students going abroad in semester 1) at the Clayton campus.
The session is a great opportunity to meet future travel buddies who will be studying overseas at the same time as you, all while enjoying delicious pizza. During the session we assist you in your preparations by giving advice on topics such as enrolment, cultural adjustment and how to get your travel scholarship. There will also be a panel of Monash Abroad alumni to give you insider advice about being a student overseas. Check the Monash Abroad booking system to register and for updates.
Monash Abroad has created an additional opportunity to get to know other students going abroad, regional Meetups. Meetups bring people together that have something in common - such as knitting, wine-loving, or studying overseas in Germany – who otherwise wouldn’t meet, in a common location to meet and chat about their interests.
The Meetups are a chance for you to meet students studying in the same country as you to chat about travel, what to pack, weather and accommodation. These Meetups are just for students, so save your Monash-specific questions about acceptance, enrolment, and scholarships for the pre-departure session. They are very informal, so bring coffee and an outgoing spirit, and be ready to make friends.
“Like” the Monash Abroad Facebook page to find out details such as when and where the Meetups will be held.
Preparing to go
Getting your travel scholarship
We know that the first question that is on your mind is “When will I get my travel scholarship?”. Before you contact your coordinator with this question, be sure that you have completed the following tasks:
- Received your host university acceptance (and send it to your coordinator if it came directly to you)
- Submitted your acknowledgement of conditions form (usually submitted at the pre-departure session)
- Enrolled in exchange/study abroad units at your faculty
After you have done all of the above, you will get your grant about four weeks before your program start date (not your travel date). Everyone’s program starts at a different time, so you may get your scholarship at a different time than your friends.
Remember, your travel scholarship will include complimentary travel insurance, so you will not need to purchase it even if you travel before or after your program.
You can continue to receive Centrelink payments while you are overseas, you should contact your faculty exchange advisor to request a letter of support.
We know that many of you go overseas to travel and have an in-depth experience of the local culture, but don’t forget that your studies should be your number one priority. Many of you will have academic issues that come up, so be sure to attend to them promptly.
If you arrive at your host university and the units you had approved are no longer available, you will need to get the new units you want to enrol in approved by your faculty. These approvals must be forwarded to your Monash Abroad coordinator.
You must take a full-time load overseas (18 – 24 credit points), if you are unable to do so you must return to your home Monash campus as you will be in breach of program requirements and potentially host country visa conditions. You are not able to take distance education units while overseas.
If you withdraw you must inform your faculty and Monash Abroad with your reason for withdrawing. If you wish to extend your program contact your Monash Abroad coordinator for extension instructions.
Health, safety and security
Don’t take your safety for granted while you are overseas. There are a few things you can do before you leave to make sure you are happy and healthy while you are away. Check out our safety page for travel advice, health preparations, safety at Monash and much more.
Being an ambassador
Remember, you are representing Monash University and Australia while you are overseas so it is important that you are an excellent ambassador. Your successes and struggles directly affect Monash’s ability to send future students to exchange partners and create faculty overseas study opportunities. This may seem like an ambiguous concept so here are tips about how to be an excellent global ambassador:
- Respecting financial obligations of your host university/country
- Fulfil academic responsibilities
- Understanding the social norms of your host culture (including the drinking culture)
- Volunteering to represent Monash and Australia on your host campus
Offering advice to students wishing to study overseas.
Look out for culture shock
Even though you may have travelled, and even lived, overseas before, cultural adjustment is an inevitable part of your experience. It may disguise itself as frustration or annoyance and can happen the day you arrive or three weeks into your program, but it can be harnessed into a positive opportunity to grow and learn from the local culture.
Before you go research aspects of your host country such as climate, public transportation, accommodation types and cost of living so when you arrive overseas you will know what to expect.
Here are a few tips to help you combat culture shock if it creeps up on you:
- Get an informant – make friends with a local as they can be your cultural ‘tour guide’
- Get a same culture buddy – it’s OK to have Aussie friends overseas, as you are going through similar experiences
- Be a tourist – when you are feeling down, make a point of leaving the house and discovering something new
- Do something familiar – comforts of home from time to time can make you feel better
- Journal (and then blog) – if you are feeling really down try writing your feelings down in a journal before blogging and potentially offending your new local pals
Contact Monash Abroad or your local study abroad office – many of us have lived overseas before and have experience with getting through the culture shock blues.
Pre-departure session – Malaysia
Monash Malaysia holds three pre-departure sessions for students going overseas. There is one session for students going to a Monash Australian campus, another session for students going to the Monash South Africa campus and a final session for students going to exchange partners.
At these sessions you will learn important information that is specific to your destination such as how to apply for visas, how to organise accommodation, travel advice and how to budget. The Monash Abroad coordinator at the Malaysian campus will send you details about these sessions.
Pre-departure session – South Africa
Monash South Africa holds an intimate pre-departure session for students going overseas on semester-long programs. The session includes a presentation about how to prepare such as changes in academic details, budgeting for your time overseas and travelling tips.
After the presentations you will have an opportunity to ask all the questions that are on your mind. The Monash Abroad coordinator at South Africa will send you details about this session.