Some international students worry about whether they’ll be able to make friends and fit in with local students in Australia. Here, Australian Macquarie student Lydia Melek busts some myths about international students and shares a story of friendship across borders.
“In the second year of my Arts / Commerce bachelor degree, I did a subject called Marketing Research, which a lot of my friends were doing as well.
When it came to forming a group for group assignments, we found ourselves short one person for our all-girl team. So our tutor assigned an international student to our group – a Chinese girl called Wendy.
I’ll be honest. At first we were a bit worried that our group would be disadvantaged by having an international student. Little did we know just how much Wendy would contribute our team… and how we’d all gain a friendship from this simple introduction.
Like many Chinese students, Wendy was great with statistics. These featured prominently in all the assignments, so she was able to contribute tremendously.
We were all so impressed. And as the assignments went on, our friendship with Wendy started to grow outside the classroom.
Later, Wendy confided how thankful she was to be part of our team. She said the language barrier can make it hard for international students to make friends, but through our group she was able to improve her English and this helped her build relationships with other local students at Macquarie.
I recently caught up with Wendy, who is now studying a masters degree. She talked about how grateful she is to be studying in Australia, and to have been a part of Macquarie’s student community and benefited from our student support services.
I am extremely proud of her. I’m so happy that the beautiful girl who always came to class smiling, and willing to learn in an unfamiliar environment, is now going on to bigger and better things.
She is a testament to every international student out there and we can ALL learn from her example in immersing ourselves in university life.”
Macquarie hosts social activities for new international students during orientation, helping them establish friendships with local and other international students.