International students

A student with a head scarf and glasses smiling and holding books

Counselling for International Students

International students at all campuses and online have access to counselling services.

Counsellors can provide free and confidential assistance in person, by telephone, Zoom and email.

International students seek counselling for many of the same reasons as domestic students.  However, living and studying far from home can raise some additional stressors for a student.

Some specific reasons international students come to counselling include:

  • Adjustment to university
  • Study issues
  • Grief and loss
  • Personal or family pressure
  • Homesickness or loneliness
Find out more about appointments

A common experience for international students is to miss their home country, family and friends. Here are some ideas to help manage your longing for home:

  • Talk to other new students
  • Write down things you have found interesting or enjoyable
  • Be encouraging of yourself
  • Get to know a few people well
  • Focus on the opportunities
  • Seek information and explore your new environment
  • Keep busy with healthy and fun activities — remember to move your body regularly!
  • Chat with family and friends from home about your new experiences
  • Decorate your new room
  • Plan a date to go home
  • Get lots of sleep
  • Make food from home
  • Remember it’s ok to be homesick and talk to someone about it
  • Reassure yourself that your feelings will change with time

If you find that homesickness is seriously impacting on you, consider making an appointment with a counsellor.

Interpreter services are provided free to SCU students to assist with accessing counselling and crisis mental health support. 

Counselling Appointment

If you need an interpreter to assist with communicating in a counselling session, please let reception know when you are booking an appointment.

After-hours Crisis Counselling Support 

Students can access an interpreter to use the SCU After-Hours Crisis Counselling Service, that operates 5pm-9am weekdays, and 24 hours weekends and public holidays.

To access this service:

  1. Call TIS National on 131 450.
  2. An automated prompt will ask you which language you need. Please state the language that you require.
  3. When you are connected to a TIS National operator, say the language you need again.
  4. Stay on the line while the operator finds an available interpreter for you.

Information required

The operator will connect you with an interpreter in the language you asked for. You will be asked to provide:

  • Your name and student number
  • The name of the organisation you need to contact. Please say: “SCU After-Hours Crisis Counselling Service
  • The phone number of the organisation you need to contact - 1300 782 676

Stay on the line while the operator connects you and the interpreter to the After-Hours Crisis Counselling Service.

Mental health and illness is complex and diverse. It is even harder to understand when it’s not explained in your own language. These resources have been translated into a range of languages for those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to access.

For translated fact sheets on mental health issues
Group of international students sitting at table with beach in background

What were the challenges you experienced when coming to Australia to Study?

Student 1: Some of the challenges that I faced when coming to Australia for my studies was finding a suitable accommodation and also getting used to the online academic environment at the university here.

Because it’s the first week of the university when the orientation starts, it’s pretty hectic. You get a lot of information thrown at you. You’d be sitting in classrooms hearing from different services at the university. So, at that point of time when you have to find accommodation it can get a little bit tricky. And finding the right one can be even more tricky.

Student 2: Because I come from China, and the east culture is very different from the west culture in Australia.

Student 3: As a student international student I had a cultural shock, especially English language, from the second English speaking country.

Student 4: I’m from Canada and the education system is fairly similar but the expectations were a little bit different for me here. So adjusting to that I sort of fell behind and I was probably about a month behind in studies.

Um, and that really affected my stress level and I fell into sort of a downward spiral of not seeking help, and that actually was very detrimental to my stress and I could have made it a lot easier if I had asked questions and sought out the people who could help me in adjusting.

What has helped you succeed at Southern Cross University?

Student 1: I had a lot of appointment with the accommodation officer during the O-week (orientation week), and she personally helped me look up on UniStays (university accommodation website) and found accommodation options that are suitable to my liking and to my interests that I had logged down.

She actually drove me to a couple of places to have a look, let me have a look at these places, and she actually contacted a few landlords on my behalf and she talked to them. And then she um, assisted me in getting to have a look at the house, and then, helping me make the right choice.

Student 2: I can understand it’s a different culture between china and Australia, and in Australia it’s no barriers between teacher and the students. So, we can ask question, don’t think about this question is too silly or something like that, just ask question if you don’t understand the issues.

Student 3: Academic Skills Development is the resource that I found helpful in term of improving the learning skills that I lacked, especially referencing skills and writing skills relevant to my course. So, it’s been really wonderful experience. And having access to that help; and librarians were there, my student colleagues’ were there, UniMentors were there, lecturer was always there, always approachable at any time and all been there for me so I felt really been part of his community, great experience.

Student 4: For me personally dealing with the stress, I started seeing a counsellor, and utilising the counselling services at the Uni, and that was really beneficial for me because it made me, sort of got me to, take an outsides perspective on what was stressing me out about academics, what was stressing me out about my personal life and it sort of got me back on track. The counselling service also provided me with the opportunity to realise that we can have special consideration if you have certain circumstances that affect your studies and are prohibiting from actually studying on track.

What would you like to say to new international students starting at SCU?

Student 1: Well I would like to say make the most of this opportunity because not a lot of people have this opportunity to study internationally. And, especially here at Southern Cross University, there is a lot of student support, be it academic, be it with your Uni life. I had a few bumps in the beginning getting used to the academic system here and getting used to the academic expectations at the university in terms of assignments and exams that didn’t quite exact back home.

Student 2: I would recommend new international students give themselves more time to learn about the local culture and to learn about the different education system. And, also eat healthy and have some sport to keep body healthy. And, set out the academic goals and when you achieve your academic goals you can get more confident.

Student 3: University has got a variety, range of services available, student hub is here as a contact point. Academic skills there, library there, fellow students are here, Coastrs (student association). It’s full of resources available to help your experience in Australia, especially Southern Cross University. A very wonderful experience and memory.

Student 4: Firstly, welcome. Welcome here, you made it. I think just take advantage of the international officer, they’re second to none in there services, they’re here to help you and they’re the first point of contact you have when you first arrive here. Find a balance, don’t just focus on academic, don’t just party, like an animal, but find the balance between the two and enjoy your time, you only live once.

International students speak about adjusting to Southern Cross University



Are you a student needing help?

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1800 SC HELP / 1800 72 4357