Pre-Departure information

Preparing to go

Academic considerations

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. You may face academic issues that come up while you're overseas, 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.

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.

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.

Discount cards

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.