There’s no better way to kick off your academic year than with a celebration! Lucky for you, that’s exactly what Orientation Week (O-Week) is. Held the week before courses begin, O-Week is designed to help you settle in, make new friends and discover the amenities that your institution has to offer. In short, O-Week is key to ensuring a successful start to your new life as an international student in Australia.
That said, if you’re not familiar with O-Week, you probably have heaps of questions. What happens during O-Week? What kind of O-Week events does my educational institution offer? Should I attend O-Week?
These great questions deserve answers – and fortunately, we’ve got them! Read on to find out everything you need to know about O-Week and why it’s a must-do event for international students.
Should international students attend O-Week?
Absolutely! While certain O-Week events are mandatory for international students, we recommend checking out the extra activities beyond the compulsory ones. After all, O-Week is one of the best ways for international students to become familiarised with their campus, make new connections and, most importantly, have fun.
Usually, international students are required to attend orientation sessions during O-Week, which outline the most important things about the institution. Make sure you consult your education provider’s website to register for any mandatory information sessions and start your academic year on the right foot.
O-Week is also the perfect opportunity to start exploring your campus, to ensure you don’t get lost during your first week of studies. Throughout O-Week, you’ll discover your lecture halls, find the best study spots and check out the recreational spaces on campus.
With such a wide range of social events, making friends during O-Week is simple. Typically, you’ll be assigned to a small group of students from your course; this will be your core O-Week group who will accompany you through a variety of activities. You may also be paired up with a returning student who will act as a mentor, offering advice and support as you navigate your new life as an international student.
Additionally, you’ll have several opportunities throughout O-Week to meet your lecturers and faculty staff. You’ll be seeing a lot of these people as you progress through your course, so it’s a great idea to make a good first impression early on.
What to do during O-Week
Over the course of the orientation period, you’ll have a wide range of fun O-Week events to attend. While the specific events vary between institutions, we can confidently say you won’t be bored for one second of O-Week!
Here are some of the most popular O-Week events and activities we recommend for international students:
- Campus/library tours – O-Week is the perfect opportunity to start exploring your campus with a variety of tours. After all, you’re going to be spending a lot of time here, so it’s vital that you know your way around. Some universities even offer fun virtual tools to explore campus from anywhere in the world. The University of Queensland, for instance, features a virtual campus game for Faculty of Business, Economics and Law (BEL) students. This online orientation simulator (think The Sims) gives you the opportunity to get a taste of campus life virtually.
- Society/club fairs – Joining a club or a society through your education provider is one of the best ways to get involved in your student community and meet like-minded people on campus. If you’re into sports, try out for a social team. If you love taking photos, join a photography club. No matter your interest, there’s a club for you and you’ll meet a network of people with similar interests.
- Zoom Speed Friending – Ever heard of speed dating? Well, speed friending follows the same format but instead of searching for love, students can simply make friends during O-Week. Several institutions feature speed friending events, since O-Week is designed to give students opportunities to network and find new mates. Many universities, including the University of Queensland, are offering virtual speed friending events through Zoom. That means it’s never been easier to make new connections no matter where you’re located.
- Game nights (e.g. Bingo, trivia, board game nights) – Fun and interactive, playing games with your peers is an awesome way not only to meet new people, but to relieve any stress you might be feeling. Heaps of institutions offer online game events as well, such as the UQ Big Quiz Online. Whether it’s pop culture trivia or a few rounds of Monopoly, a game night is a low-pressure way to make new friends and have a laugh. If you ask us, that’s an awesome way to start your journey as an international student in Australia.
- Scavenger hunts – Scavenger hunts are a fun way of allowing you to explore your new city beyond campus lines. For example, the University of Queensland’s Faculty of Business, Economics and Law (BEL) holds multiple scavenger hunts during O-Week (one for business students, one for economics students and one for law students). By completing these activities, students learn how to get around both their campus and the city of Brisbane as a whole. By the end of the day, students will know the best spots to buy groceries, catch a bus or grab a pint.
For more ideas on how to make the most of O-Week, click here.
Photos courtesy of The University of Queensland/Alex Lui
When it comes to O-Week, you’ll want to be with The University of Queensland Faculty of Business, Economics and Law crew at BELfest! With live entertainment, games, competitions, a range of stalls and chill-out zones, there are so many opportunities to make new friends and settle into campus life.
The University of Queensland is ranked among the top 50 in the world and has an extensive range of programs available to international students that are recognised globally. To find out more about studying at UQ, click here!