The basics
Study abroad : Before you leave

5 Things every Australian should know about studying abroad

Travel Talk Tours share a few tips for Australians planning to study abroad, including things that they should pack and perceptions that they may have to overcome.


As an Australian gearing up to start studying abroad, chances are that you’re feeling very excited, but possibly a little bit nervous too! After all, leaving the land that you’ve grown up in and venturing out into the great unknown is a daunting prospect, even for the most seasoned backpacker.

Whether you’re just heading somewhere relatively close by such as Asia, or taking the plunge and taking your education on the other side of the world, here are a few useful tips and things to bear in mind while studying abroad:


Pack smart

Minimise stress when you arrive by packing wisely. In terms of clothes, take the time to look at what the climate is like in the place you’re heading to. Not everywhere is as warm as Australia and not everywhere has such a casual take on clothing as Australians do either. So finding out what the natives are wearing will save you taking plenty of clothes you might not be comfortable wearing in another country.

You might not need to pack too much, particularly if you’re planning on buying clothes whilst you’re there. However it’s good to be prepared at least for the first week or two, whilst you find your feet.


Do your research

It’s also a wise idea to be aware of local customs, as some countries will expect you to dress more modestly, in accordance to the local religions or cultural practices. It’s quite commonplace in your homeland to wander around in shorts and a t-shirt, but other cultures might deem this to be a rather raunchy look and might prefer you to be more covered up in public places.

It’s never a bad idea to learn a few basic words too, if you’re going to a non-English speaking country.


Don’t miss out on your favourites

You might find that some of your favourite products are unavailable at your destination. It might completely shock you to find that many Brits will stare at you blankly when you ask where the Tim Tams are.

Simple things that you take for granted at home, like your favourite brand of biscuits or cereal and even certain toiletries and laundry products are hard to come by outside of Australia. If you’re loyal to a certain brand or type of product, this might make you nervous about trying others (and overspending on products which don’t satisfy you). So unless you can find a local stockist or have them shipped over in bulk then it’s probably best to take a few home comforts with you.

With a little bit of research, you can identify which products will be hard to get once you’re there, and you’ll then know which ones to pack in the suitcase!


Check the language

Australians studying abroad really do need to be aware that some commonly used terms back home may be unacceptable in other cultures.

Words that get used a lot in Oz, such as ‘bloody’ can be deemed offensive in other countries; and remember to keep in mind that thongs, in certain locations such as the UK, actually refer to skimpy underwear, not sandals!


Be prepared for the myths!

As an Australian studying abroad, you’ll encounter lots of myths (some hilarious) about Australians in general. A lot of people are scared to visit due to the wide range of killer animals, some still believe we ride Kangaroos to school and be prepared to hear ‘G’day mate’ once you announce your nationality.

When you hear these things, don’t get frustrated; simply offer the truth (after you’ve joked around with them for a bit!) - Most people will be fascinated to hear about what Australia is really like!


Getting in the spirit of studying abroad

Spending a little bit of time exploring the local culture and learning a little more about native customs and practices can really pay off in the long term, and help you to avoid any potentially awkward situations or embarrassing moments!



About the Author:

To find out more about exploring your chosen destination, visit Travel Talk Tours, who offer a range of exciting tours, perfect for immersing yourself in the local culture whilst studying abroad.

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Paul Ellett is the editor for Hotcourses Abroad. His role is to plan, produce and share editorial, videos, infographics, eBooks and any other content to inform prospective and current international students about their study abroad experience. When he's not thinking about student visas in Sweden and application deadlines, Paul is an avid fan of comedy podcasts and Nicolas Cage films.