How to live your best university life

Studying abroad is exciting and challenging. Countries like Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA welcome foreign students from around the world, but every international student has to navigate new cultures and customs to find their place. There are things you can do as an international student that will help you live your best student life. These tips will see you on the road to enjoying everything university life has to offer.

Grasp the language

Paying attention to the host country language and dialect is a very useful tip to get you into any university or social circle. Spend time studying the language and listening to locals talk. It might seem difficult at first but you will soon understand the local dialect and how they talk and emphasise certain letters and vowels. Try not to be shy in attempting to join in and mirror what you hear. Your efforts will be rewarded over the long term.

Know the country

It can be painful digging into history chapters but a basic understanding of a country and province or region’s history can be helpful in understanding social customs and the way things are. Make it simple for yourself and focus on the major, popular points of history with a Google search online or a quick visit to the university library. Familiarising yourself with the basic state of politics will also give you an edge in conversations and help you to fit right in.

Working while studying is common

Many international students pursue part time jobs in their new host country to support their education and accommodation expenses. Above all, it helps students to get by financially and gives them money to spend on enjoying their time away from study. The other upside is that working part time in your new home country will give you a fresh perspective into local life and culture, and help you expand your social network. That can only be good, right?

Be adventurous

You really don’t want to be the student that sits alone in class and stays locked in the dorm room on weekends. And you don’t have to be. Being an international student gives you a passport to access many things in your new host country. You just have to be adventurous to find out what they are! Make sure you take time out from studying to pursue them. Be it going to a movie with classmates or heading to a university party, hiking along a nature trail, or going away on a trip with new friends for the weekend, the rewards are big for those who dare to be adventurous.

Attend events

Events are an official yet casual setting for you to find your niche, get comfortable with the language, and meet new people. Who knows who you might meet at an event? They could be your next friend, classmate or employer. The great thing about events is the ice is already broken by the proceedings, mean you can relax and chat to like-minded individuals. So go on and get a copy of the university’s social calendar and start circling events you would like to attend.

Health and fitness

Another great way to socialise is in activities around health and fitness. It is also a great way to look after your mind and body. Every university will have health and sporting clubs on offer. Check them out and see if you might like to join. Organised sport and activities are again, an easy way to socialise and meet new people. And you might just find your tribe for your entire university stay.

Don’t be a stranger

Sometimes opportunities are right in front of us but we fail to recognise them. Other students are like you. They are looking for connection, for friends, for social activities, and for a life away from studying. If another student has an idea for an activity, or floats an invite around the classroom or lunch table, don’t sit back and watch, respond in the affirmative. It could be a lifetime connection in the making.

Stay connected to home

While you are investing energy into building your new life in your new host country, do not forget to keep the ties to home alive. It’s great to find your place in a new setting but you will only be the best version of yourself if you are true to who you are and where you have come from. Staying connected to your family and friends back home will remind you of what values are important to you when facing new environments and people in your new home country.

Study efficiently

Yes, there is a difference between studying hard and studying efficiently. Students in Western universities aim to become career-ready individuals with a rounded personalities. No matter how hard the curriculum gets, you need to make time for non-study activities that will give you life experience. How? You study efficiently, not hard. Write up a weekly timetable and stick to it. Find ways to create notes quicker, and prepare for essays and exams well ahead of time. It will save you time, meaning you have extra time to spend on activities that develop your character.


It’s as simple as that! Keep your chin up and be a pleasant person to talk to. Being an international student in Australia can make you look unapproachable so you need to put a little effort in convincing people otherwise. Looking people in the eyes and smiling can break down invisible barriers and make you approachable, warm and friendly.

That is our ten tips for how to make the most of university life. Apply these tactics from Day 1 for the best results. If you want to learn about which university and country you could apply these tips to, start a co-design conversation with Gradstar. We help students understand what they want from a study abroad experience and how they can reach for the stars.

Date Published: Feb-11-2022

Our Dream Makers are expert listeners, educators, career consultants and student supporters. They co-design your study abroad experience with you to empower you to reach for the stars. Because dreams deserve a helping hand.

About the author

Anupama Kumar is a content writer based in Bangalore, India. She writes blogs, stories, articles and social media content and has a passion for helping people and connecting with them through her writing. A professional writer by day and a creative one by night, her own stories, musings, quotes and poems inspired by her travels are also published on various platforms.