In the past six years, the number of Indian students studying in Australia has increased by 70 percent, and currently Indian students are the second-largest group of international students studying in Australia. While studying in a new country could be exciting, it comes with a set of challenges. There will be stark differences in culture, language and food. It might also take a while to settle down and feel at home.
Let us take a look at some of the most common challenges faced by Indian students while studying in Australia.
1. Customs and Etiquettes
It is just natural for Indian students to find it challenging to adjust to Australian customs and etiquettes when they first arrive. You will notice a difference in the way they talk, dress, eat, and even the way they teach. This is not a matter of concern as you are just experiencing a cultural shock, and you are not alone. You will go through an adjustment period which could last for a few days or weeks, but eventually you will get used to their ways.
You can always do some research about the basic customs and etiquettes of the country to prepare your mind before arriving in Australia.
2. Aussie Slangs
The first time you hear the Australian slangs, you will be at a complete loss for sure. They are just short forms of most commonly used words, a part of the Aussie Lingo. You will get used to them with time.
Apart from Indian students whose primary education is in English, students from other English speaking countries like the UK or USA also find it difficult to understand the Australian way of speaking. Getting accustomed to the Aussie lingo is one of the major challenges faced by Indian students.
Below is a list of the most common Australian slangs :
|Australian slang||Actual English word|
|Barbie||BBQ or barbeque|
|Lingo||Language, especially slang|
3. Living on Your Own
Indian students not only need to find accommodation but also figure out many other logistics like finding a local grocery store, supermarket, hospital and nearest transportation facilities. Students who have never experienced living on their own, away from their families, may feel lonely and homesick for months.
However, this is not the case with all the Indian students living in another country as it depends on one’s individual capability of adjusting to a new environment. This could be one of the major challenges faced by Indian students, but this experience allows you to become self-reliant, independent and adaptable. These are excellent life survival skills that will come in handy in future.
4. Method of Education
Unlike the education system in India, where you are usually spoon-fed by most of your faculties, the education system in Australia encourages self-learning. Students will have to be more independent and also learn to manage time.
Highly disciplined environment with a self-driven approach is something that many Indian students find difficult to cope with in the Australian educational system. Over time, Indian students will need to adapt to this method of education that requires time management, discipline, focus and self-motivation, which will unquestionably help you excel in academics.
5. Tuition Fees
There is no denying that studying in Australia is expensive and facing financial hardships is the most common challenges faced by Indian students. This forces students to work while pursuing the degree, which in turn may affect their academic performance.
Although some agencies introduce immigrant students to different financial options and resources, you will have to ultimately depend on your family for financial support to arrange necessary funds and expenses during an emergency.
6. Cost of Living
Apart from tuition fee, there are also other expenses that you need to take into account. The following table gives you a rough estimate of monthly expenses of an international student.
|Type of expense||Estimated Amount in AUD|
On an average, an Indian student needs to spend AUD1300 a month, which is not particularly cheap. If you live in a big city like Sydney, the cost of living could still go up as the rental cost for accommodation is much higher.
7. Contract Cheating
Contract cheating is when students pay a third party to complete their assignments or project work. This is a grave concern in India as well as in Australia. Although many institutes educate international students on the issues of plagiarism and contract cheating, there is still a chance that Indian students may become victims to this crime.
According to a survey conducted, many non-English speaking students tend to contract cheat more often than other international students, as they are unable to understand the courses taught in the classes or keep up with the deadlines. If you are honest and focus on completing your academic work on your own, one will not have to face this challenge.
8. Racial Misconduct
The number of cases reported where an Indian student faces abuse or discrimination in Australia have drastically decreased in the past few years. However, there is no denying the fact that it still exists and is one of the major challenges faced by Indian students. In most cases, it is the older uneducated population that are responsible for issues related to race.
On the other hand, the younger generation is more open-minded and do not differentiate people on their ethnicity, colour or their country of origin, but there are always some exceptions. Australian universities have zero tolerance toward racism or any other discrimination. In case you become a victim of racism or abuse, please contact your student counsellors for help.
9. Getting Underpaid
Workplace harassment is one of the challenges faced by Indian students while studying in Australia. Some Indian students who take up part-time jobs to make their ends meet are quite underpaid. The minimum hourly wage that is fixed by the government is 17.70 AUD. Yet, employers hire students and flout this rule by underpaying them. Often, such cases go unreported as students are hesitant to report them to authorities.
10. Food Expense
You will never find shortage of food options in Australia. There are groceries and take away shops in almost every nook and corner of Australia. Since Australia is a very diverse nation, you will find many multinational restaurants, especially Indian restaurants where you can enjoy the taste of your homeland.
However, eating out is something that Indian students cannot afford to do on a regular basis as it’s quite expensive. Cooking at home is the safest bet as you can save money and enjoy home cooked meals.
New opportunities come with new challenges. This blog gives you a fair idea of the most common challenges faced by Indian students studying in Australia. If you are a student aspiring to study in Australia, you need to be aware of the impending hardships and the adjustments you need to make to adapt to the new environment. Prepare yourself mentally and you are all set to fly high!
Here is an article on what makes Australia the most preferred destination for international students :