As an international student, you will need to strike a balance between studying hard and achieving great results, and taking the time to thoroughly relax and enjoy your time abroad. Here are a few quick, foolproof tips that will help you manage busy times without stress and live your best life.

Learn how to say no 

Everyone wants to be a people-pleaser, but saying ‘yes’ to every request/favour/invitation that comes your way can make life to hectic. To avoid overcommitting your time and energy, remember that it’s OK to answer with a polite ‘no’.

Always ask for help

Never be afraid to ask for assistance or advice. If you’re struggling with something, especially as you adjust to your new life abroad, reach out to friends, family, lecturers, tutors or even health professionals and counsellors for help.

Set a basic budget and save a little 

You don’t want to restrict yourself too much financially and miss out on amazing experiences, but set an underlying budget to work towards and ensure you have savings set aside for emergencies (like a last-minute mid-semester trip to Uluru).

Create mindfulness and fitness habits

Before the semester is in full swing, take some time to set good habits – that way, without the craziness of assignments, exams and fun activities taking over, you’re likely to stick with them. To make it easy, free apps like Headspace (for meditation and mindfulness), or the Nike+ Training App (for fitness), can help keep you on track.

 

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Back up the essentials

Before you leave for your study abroad, back up everything on your laptop/phone for safekeeping, either on an external hard drive or digitally onto cloud software. Make sure you always have digital scans of your passport and any other important hard-copy documents (such as your student visa details) in case of emergencies.

Perfect a signature dish to impress

Hosting your new friends can be made all the easier if you find one recipe you love and practise until it’s perfect. All students appreciate a good home-cooked meal, and you can be their chef extraordinaire. BBC Good Food or the Tasty app can provide some foodie inspiration.

Keep the fridge stocked

For the sake of your finances, don’t rely on takeaway for every meal. Make sure your fridge (and cupboards) are stocked with ingredients to whip up easy meals. If you know you’ll be short on time, make food in bulk on a weekend so you have food prepared for the week, and freeze some dinners for the future.

Schedule appointments you’ve been avoiding

Annoyingly, as adults, we now have to call and organise our own appointments. This means lots of visits to the doctors, dentist, hairdressers… Schedule these in advance and mark them in your calendar to save yourself the stress of having to find a last-minute appointment.

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Dress for success

Have at least one or two ‘good’ outfits ready for style emergencies. If you don’t have an iron in your new accommodation, invest in a handheld clothing steamer – they’re heaven-sent. This means that for last-minute job interviews, dates, meetings or nights out, you’ll be crease-free, which instantly improves any outfit.

Build your professional network

Your post-graduation life may seem far away, but you need to start building a professional network from day one. Attending career nights, networking events, interning or volunteering are all excellent ways to build a bank of contacts that may come in handy once you enter the job market.

Always have your resume ready for opportunities 

Anytime you undertake a new job, internship or volunteer role, update your resume. Then, if any opportunities arise that you want to apply for, your resume is ready to go and you only have to work on a unique cover letter to go with it.

Create a calm and stress-free study space

When assignment deadlines loom and exams are in full swing, you’ll appreciate having a calming study oasis, free from distraction. Clear away the clutter and invest in some nice scented candles (lemon promotes concentration, while lavender helps alleviate stress) or some indoor plants to help create a serene atmosphere.  

Pay your bills on time

Being an international student comes with a variety of important, regular payments that need to be made, including rent, utilities (water, internet, and so on) and mobile phone bills. Services such as BPAY allow you to schedule payments* directly from your bank account, so you never need to stress about deadlines.

Clean up your inbox

Don’t start the semester with 400+ unread emails and daily spam from digital newsletters you don’t remember subscribing to. Take the time to clear your inbox, organise important messages with the label option, and unsubscribe from any email lists you don’t require anymore.

Learn new skills that aren’t course-related

Taking up a new hobby (knitting, rowing, landscape painting – the options are endless) or developing a skill (cocktail-making, cooking, meditation) that have nothing to do with studies will add some variety to your daily routine. Luckily, universities and colleges have a range of clubs and associations that you can join to learn or practise these hobbies and skills.

Schedule rest and relaxation

Overexert yourself and you’ll burn out quickly. Schedule time – whether it’s an hour each day or a full day each week – for resting, re-energising and taking your mind off studies and other stress. You could take a walk to a nearby park with a podcast, indulge in a new TV series, head to the local pool for some laps, or settle in with a good book (that isn’t study related).


There are plenty of ways to pay bills. But with BPAY, you’re in control. Pay your bills more quickly, easily and securely wherever you are — at home, work or on the go^.

® Registered to BPAY Pty Ltd (ABN 69 079 137 518). The BPAY Scheme is managed by BPAY Pty Ltd. BPAY Payments are offered by over 150 BPAY Scheme members. When you use BPAY the BPAY Scheme is paid fees relating to processing costs and BPAY Scheme membership. Contact your financial institution to see if it offers BPAY and to get the Product Disclosure Statement.  Any financial product advice provided by BPAY Pty Ltd is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.  Before acting on such advice, you should review the Product Disclosure Statement and consider whether BPAY is appropriate for your personal circumstances.

*Scheduled payments are subject to systems and funds availability.

^BPAY is accessible anywhere and anytime you have access to your online, mobile or phone banking.