If you’ve recently arrived in Australia for study, you might not be familiar with university life in this country. Starting online classes or visiting campus for the first time can be challenging if you’re not sure what to expect. So, what better opportunity to familiarise yourself with life at an Australian university than during Orientation Week?
What exactly is O-Week?
Orientation Week, commonly known as O-Week, usually takes place the week before a new semester begins – but this may vary depending on your institution. It’s an opportunity for students to get to know their new campus, from meeting teaching staff, and making friends to discovering what opportunities exist on and off-campus during the year. Some consider it to be a rite of passage before the academic side of things kicks in.
Institutions might refer to O-Week differently. Your university might use the term Welcome Week, for example. In the UK, O-Week is referred to as Freshers’ Week, and in other countries, this is different again. Whatever the name, the aim is the same – to introduce new students to university life.
What happens during O-Week?
If you’re wondering what happens during O-Week, the best way to find out is to check your university’s website for details of information sessions, campus tours and social events (such as excursions to theme parks or even the beach!). Keep an eye out for details specific to your faculty, especially when it comes to attending information sessions.
O-Week is typically when you pick up your student ID, finish buying or borrowing textbooks and prepare other class materials. Look out for freebie giveaways, set up your student email and library access if you haven’t already. You might even want to consider enrolling in an academic skills workshop if you feel it could help you get the best start possible.
Are there any virtual O-Weeks this year?
Yes: many education providers are running a mix of online and in-person events in 2021, in line with COVID-safe practices. Your university’s website is the best place to find out exactly what’s on offer virtually as well as on-campus.
Making the most of O-Week
Once the academic semester begins, you’ll probably want to focus on your studies or any activities you choose to be a part of. Make sure you’re as prepared as possible for university with these tips to make the most of your O-Week:
Take a campus tour
Take the opportunity of a guided tour if they’re on offer. There’s no better way to learn the ins and outs of the campus. Be sure to learn where your classrooms are and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Join a club or society
Consider how you could add to your university experience by joining a student society or club. Not only do you get to follow your passion or learn a new skill, but you can also network with peers and colleagues.
Sign up to a mentor system
A buddy or mentor system partners you with someone who can provide support and guidance through both academic and social aspects of your time at university. Who knows? You might even make some friends while you’re at it!
Starting university in a foreign country can be challenging and exciting, so don’t forget to have fun and enjoy yourself. This is a lot easier if you take a few deep breaths and go with the flow. Remember, O-Week is what you make it.
Check out this guide for more ways to get the most out of your O-Week experience!