Life at a foreign university: save, work and study: letter from an international business student in Australia

(This letter is part of a series by The Indian Express where we bring you the experiences of students from different foreign universities. From scholarships and loans to food and cultural experiences, students tell us how life is different in these countries and the things that are. non-academic learning)

— Akhilesh Johnson

My love of traveling and experiencing different cultures led me to the University of Canberra. I had always wanted to start my own business and in the process of fulfilling that dream, I came here to study a Masters in International Business.

I highly recommend studying abroad as it will help you define your life, gain new meaning and learn and grow. Be sure to open up to people, make friends wherever you can, and expand your network of connections and contacts.

Always have your documents ready

I initially connected with the consultation group, IDP, who helped me with all the paperwork and procedures. I started gathering all the essential paperwork and documents before working on my Statement of Purpose (SOP), where I clearly outlined everything. I found it helpful to look at some SOP samples from previous candidates as it helped me adjust.

image of immigration

Simultaneously, I also made copies of each document and put it in a folder and made two photocopies of the entire package of documents to take to Australia. Due to possible delays in getting the paperwork signed by the respective authorities, it’s always worth getting things ready as soon as possible. For example, I recommend completing your IELTS early as the results are valid for two years, so you will have plenty of time to use it. Your medical assessment is another one that needs to be completed ahead of time – be sure to check back in a few days to make sure they’ve sent the medical reports, just in case someone forgot to upload -the bear.

The documents I submitted included my recent passport photo, my passport, offer letter, COE, IELTS results, class 10 and 12 mark sheets, mark sheets of bachelor’s degree, degree certificate, my parents and my own affidavits in case someone took out a student loan or proof of employment, parents’ payslips and bank statements.

Loan for scholarships and studies

I got the UC International Merit Scholarship, which has definitely been helpful. There were certain requirements, including the academic scores he needed to achieve to qualify for the scholarship. Precisely, there is not much documentation or procedure for this scholarship except the international student application. So it was very convenient for me to apply.

In the application, they assessed my previous academic achievements as well as my co-curricular achievements. To qualify for this, I had to have a GPA of 5 or higher or a 70 percent (or equivalent grade) or higher in my undergraduate degree, and since I scored over 70 percent in my undergraduate degree, I qualified for the scholarship. . Also, to secure my scholarship, I just had to accept my offer letter. It was really a major benefit for me and my family as I had taken out an education loan to finance my studies at UC.

Regarding an education loan, I have taken one from Axis Bank in India. I did my own research to see which bank offered the best rates and the least additional costs and charges. It was a moment of great relief when the bank cleared the loan paperwork. Also, they pay the university fees on my behalf, every semester, thus reducing the stress of doing that too.

The procedure is similar in all banks. Banks require proof that the money is taken for educational purposes only and will therefore check the offer letter, COE and other additional documents. They would also require some form of collateral and other checks, after which you would qualify for the loan. The procedure for sanctioning a loan is not easy as it requires a lot of paperwork and you may encounter some problems but in the end it is worth it.

Save, work, study — Survive in a foreign country

One thing I learned from being here is to say “Yes” to every opportunity that comes my way as it helps me gain experience and expand my network.

In the second week of being in this new city, I was able to get my first opportunity at a bakery. I was able to learn a lot from that place, such as customer service, time management, task prioritization and team management. These skills have helped me land campus jobs here at the University of Canberra.

Another lesson I got here is that networking is important here. Being connected with the right people definitely helps you grow and improve as a person, career and in many other ways.

In the seventh week after arriving here, I remember applying for the role of student ambassador and since that day, my life has changed for the better. With the exposure I got from this role, I was able to level up in my career, which has changed my life. I can now speak confidently in front of large crowds, help students transition to a new college lifestyle, and mentor new students. I have also been able to mentor refugee students and offer them as much assistance as possible, both academically and adapting to life in Canberra.

I also had the privilege of being the vice president of two student-run clubs. This helped me learn new ways to improve the student experience so that they grow in every possible way.

I currently hold three jobs on campus and have learned the art of living with my schedule. Every weekend, I plan my calendar for the week ahead, this allows me to squeeze a lot into a day. Also, I wake up more motivated than ever to make the best of everything, and even to grow and learn from it.

Speaking of surviving on your part-time job income, one of the biggest life skills I’ve learned is financial management and independence. For the first month, I had money coming from home for rent and other expenses. I was also lucky enough to get my first job within the first two weeks and it was really a proud moment for me personally to become independent and start saving money and managing my finances. After the first month, I also got my first job on campus as a student ambassador which paid well. So, after that, I never had to rely on my family for finances.

I also implemented a system to keep only 30% of what I give in my main account and started saving the remaining 70%. Thanks to this method, I will soon finance my own tuition and be able to start paying off my education loan.

India vs Australia: Education System

The study experience varies between India and Australia. An important difference is that here students are motivated to work in groups, meaning they can learn a lot by listening to different ideas and methods. Peer learning in classes contributes greatly to success.

The next best thing is to encourage students to prepare things before class to make the class discussion more productive. Finally, there is a healthy competitive spirit among students here that motivates everyone to give their best.

While Covid disrupted millions of lives around the world, the university made sure that students could continue to get the best possible education while ensuring that nothing affected their mental well-being in any way.

The University of Canberra relaxed the testing system while putting more emphasis on assignments and group projects, just to ensure that social connectivity between students is maintained as much as possible. Even when it comes to lectures, UC made sure to provide the best possible A/V services to ensure that the lectures were recorded as clearly as possible. Also, the teachers were constantly interacting with the students to make sure everything was going well and smoothly.

After the pandemic, UC is offering more events, activities, workshops and seminars just to restore connectivity and ensure students have the best experience. They also ensure that students have a safe environment in which to study, by mandating the use of masks in classrooms, providing disinfectants in common areas and wipes to clean tables and other surfaces.

Finally, the university also offers students free vaccinations, Covid booster shots and even flu shots.

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