Before you leave, there are some things to consider and plan in preparation of travelling, living and studying overseas.
We know that many of you go overseas to travel and have an in-depth experience of the local culture, but your studies should be your number one priority. You may face academic issues that come up while you're overseas, so be sure to attend to them promptly. Some examples include:
- 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.
- Ensure that you fulfil the study load requirements for your program: for example, you must study a full-time load per semester (equivalent to 18 – 24 Monash credit points) for a semester-length overseas program such as exchange. If you are unable to fulfil these study load requirements, 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 from your overseas program: you must inform your faculty and Monash Abroad with your reason for withdrawing.
- If you wish to extend your program while you are overseas: contact your Monash Abroad coordinator for extension instructions.
Pre-departure sessions and advising for semester-length programs
Health, safety and security
Your health and safety is of the highest importance. There are a few things you can do before you leave to make sure you are happy and healthy while you are overseas. Check out our safety page for travel advice, health preparations, safety at Monash and much more. In an emergency, please consult our page for the relevant emergency contacts.
Being an ambassador
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.
Here are tips on 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.
Intercultural Competence for Learning Abroad
Whether you’re planning to study overseas, currently overseas, or have returned from studying overseas, the ability to communicate effectively across cultures can help you get the most out of your time abroad.
Learn more about intercultural competence here.
Be mindful of 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.
Below are some hints to help you combat culture shock if it creeps up on you:
- Make friends with locals – they can help you navigate the culture of your host country
- Have a same culture buddy – it’s OK to have friends from the same university or country while 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. Do this before blogging, to avoid 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.
The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is a card for full-time students abroad that you can use to verify your student status. It can qualify you for discounts on travel, tours, accommodation and reduced or free admission to museums, theatres and cultural attractions. If you are planning to backpack, discounted accommodation is offered by International Youth Hostels in participating countries.
Staying connected while overseas
If you have any questions during your overseas study program, please do not hesitate to get in contact with your relevant regional coordinator at Monash Abroad (non-academic queries) or faculty exchange advisor (academic queries, e.g. unit approvals).
For privacy reasons, Monash staff are unable to discuss information about enrolment and applications with a third party.
You should also continue to monitor your Monash student email account during your time overseas, and ensure you have the AlertTraveler app set up on your mobile device.
With your family and friends
Before you leave, it's a good idea to talk about how you will communicate while you are away. Like any big adventure, your overseas experience will likely occupy a lot of your time and energy. Ensure you all have clear expectations about the amount of communication you plan to have during this time, and factor in any time zone differences.
You might like to:
- connect on Facebook or Twitter for real-time contact and updates
- get a WhatsApp, Signal, Zoom, FaceTime and/or Skype account so you can talk to each other over the internet rather than using phone cards or making costly calls
- keep in touch via email
- invest in an international sim card for your mobile phone (it's much cheaper than international roaming)
- go the old fashioned way and send each other postcards – they make nice keepsakes for the refrigerator door
- create a travel blog – it's a great way to keep in touch, and also a great way to record adventures
Student Permission to Disclose Personal Information
Students can provide permission to disclose personal information to an organisation and/or person named of the privacy form for the purpose/s and time-frame outlined by completing the Student Permission to Disclose Personal Information form.