Prior to your son or daughter coming to Trinity College there are some important tips you can provide to help the transition into life in a new country.
Start to teach your son or daughter study, social and living skills before they arrive overseas to study. There are also important ways you can help them once they have arrived.
Help them Learn Life Skills
Most students will need to develop the following skills, even if they are starting out at a home stay. Students will eventually move into an independent living situation.
Sounds easy, however some students are
so accustomed to being woken by others that they are unable to get out of bed and often run late for their 9am school start. Other important skills are basic cooking, sewing, cleaning, washing clothes, ironing and using public transport. Perhaps you can start encouraging them to try some of these independent self-management skills while they are still at home with you.
Students sometimes require the skills of learning to be able to spend responsibly before too much freedom is given. It is best to remind students that it is not wise to lend money to other students or outsiders. You might be able to help your child manage money by providing a monthly allowance in the time before they leave your home, and expecting that they learn to live within the budget you provide. This will help them learn how to live on a fixed income without overspending.
Eating, sleeping, exercising, socialising and studying – it is important to get the balance right. Students can often get into an unhealthy routine of studying or talking online late at night, and end up not sleeping the required six to eight hours. They are then too tired to concentrate or get to class on time the next day. Your son or daughter would also benefit from learning about good nutrition. We are sometimes surprised to discover that a student who does not know anything about nutrition, has existed on a diet with no vegetables or fruit for months!
Help Them to Improve Study Skills
Students can take a while to adjust to a different education model from that with which they are familiar. New skills take a while to learn, which is why explaining and developing the following areas are so important.
Encourage your child to use a diary or study planner to learn the skill of timetabling study into days and weeks. Help them learn to use time effectively and make sure they record when all homework is due to plan their time better.
Encourage your son or daughter to get into the habit of studying at a certain time and place. One suggestion is to study ther most difficult subject first, then reward this with the easier or more enjoyable topics. If your child is still in school but planning to come to Trinity, you could start this habit right now.
A certain amount of study time needs to be set aside for each specific goal. Whatever the goal, short, medium and long term strategies may be used.
For example improving spoken English language skills. Creative ways to do this may include English language films, books or even comics and increasing verbal English ability by conversation both inside and outside of class time.
Questions are an important way of finding out information. Teachers expect students to ask questions and this is the best way to find out if students understand the ideas. It is also an important learning tool. Encourage your child to participate in class by asking questions.
Asking for Help
Students are often too shy or think it is not acceptable to ask for help. Trinity provides a range of support for all types of assistance, so please encourage your son or daughter to seek out a person they feel comfortable with and ask for help. Each student is allocated a mentor for individual support sessions, and there are student consultations where students receive extra assistance with his or her studies in any particular subject area on an individual basis. The Trinity Counsellor, Director of Welfare, Chaplain and mentors are also available to assist and help problem solve at any time.
Encourage Social skills
At Trinity, students can get involved in student services activities and student committees to socialise, learn new skills and share experiences. This will help them adjust to a new environment, overcome homesickness and enable them to feel at ease with a sense of community.
There are a variety of sporting and recreational clubs to join at Trinity. These are important links to meet others, share interests and practise skills and language development. There are also many sporting facilities and clubs at the University to get involved in and enjoy.
Health & Personal Safety
There are excellent health services that are covered by health insurance. The Student Health Service at the University has doctors with a great deal of experience with student health issues.
Exercise is very important for maintaining and increasing personal health. Students spend long hours sitting and studying. Exam periods may make them feel stressed;
so exercise is an important way to lower stress and acts to keep colds and other illnesses away. Exercise also increases concentration levels and improves overall health and sleep. Healthy eating, exercise and regular sleep patterns are important. This will allow the body
to develop the energy and health levels required to maintain good study patterns and other habits.
All large cities have a small percentage of people that cannot be trusted. It is best to be careful of potential dangers such as people snatching handbags, people asking for money and money being gambled away at the casino or on the internet. It is probably a good idea to encourage your child to take a friend with them if they are going out at night – it is unlikely you would allow your child to go out alone at night at home. While Melbourne is classed as a very safe city, no city is completely without risk.
Make a regular time to talk
It can be hard to communicate with your son
or daughter once they are in Australia due to the distance and time zone differences. It is normal for students to have times that they will make contact regularly and times when you only hear when they are having difficulty. Start by making a regular time, perhaps weekly, that is a good time for both of you to keep in touch. Try to maintain and offer your support and keep using your ability to listen to whatever is happening in their life. Remember that if your son or daughter feels that you become too upset when they tell you the more difficult things, they are unlikely to tell you about these things in the future when perhaps they should.
Remind them there are is a lot of support available to them at Trinity to help sort out any minor or major problems. Our staff will always be pleased to see them to support and help with any issues or concerns.