How to Cope with Life as a Student in Brisbane

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Reem Mohamed

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15 December, 2022

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5 mins read

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Tips and Advice

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Brisbane is Australia’s sunniest capital! With 280 days of sunshine annually, Brisbane is one of Australia’s most distinctive cities. The city is friendly, safe, and has a diverse population, making it ideal for international students to start their study abroad journey. 

Adding to the reasons why this is a great option for students, Brisbane was placed 22nd in the QS Best Student Cities 2019 list because it has lower average living costs than other Australian student cities, world-class universities, a vibrant student scene, and a fantastic urban and outdoor lifestyle culture. 

Despite the city’s overall friendliness and how welcoming it is for international students, some might still find it hard to cope with life as a student in Brisbane. We understand the struggle of moving to a new country and making a life for yourself in a foreign city. Language barriers, cultural differences, and the overall concept of fitting in usually come up among students as main issues when moving to a new country, and Brisbane is no different. 

Here is a comprehensive guide for you to be able to manage your new life as a student in Brisbane. Let’s dive in! 

Cope with Life as a Student in Brisbane

How to Cope with Life as a Student in Brisbane

Every struggle has a solution, and we’ve got all the solutions for you! Whatever it is that’s stopping you from enjoying your life as a student in Brisbane, we’re here to help you figure things out! Here are some of the things students often have trouble coping with in Brisbane and how you can deal with them! 

Language Barrier 

As an international student in Brisbane, language might be one of the things you struggle with the most. If English is not your first language, you might face some issues while studying in Brisbane, especially if you’re not familiar with the accent. Here are some of our tips for coping with the language barrier as a student in Brisbane. 

1. Master The Basics

The first thing to do when trying to adapt to a new language is to learn the basics. Things like numbers, basic questions, simple replies, and other things you would need in day-to-day conversations should be the first things you familiarise yourself with. This, along with practising simple conversations beforehand, is the first step to overcoming the language barrier. 

2. Enrol in Courses 

Nowadays, language courses have evolved to include language exchange programs and meet-ups, where you can engage with others who are also learning the language and monitor your progress together. This not only helps you better learn and familiarise yourself with the language, but it also helps you socialise with and build a community with like-minded people who are on the same learning path as you. 

3. Learn The Slang

Australia is known for having a lot of slang in its dialect, to the point that even native English speakers get confused. Australians use a lot of slang terms, even in the workplace and classroom, and their accent can often be difficult to understand. If you’re struggling to understand someone, you can easily just tell them. Most of the time, Australians won’t even realise they’re using slang, and they won’t be offended if you ask them to explain something in a different way.

4. Watch TV Shows and Movies 

Consuming media in the language you’re trying to learn is a great way to learn more while also entertaining yourself. In Brisbane, you can begin by watching Australian TV shows and movies to become acquainted with the accent. Reading books can also help, as can listening to music and attending plays and other local events. 

5. Do not be Shy or Embarrassed 

Ask questions, say the wrong thing, and take your time coming up with answers and replies; it’s completely fine! Learning is a process, and there is no reason for you to be ashamed or embarrassed about needing to know more or wanting to inquire about things you’re struggling with. 

Why study in Brisbane

Cultural Differences

Cultural shock is a common thing that many international students face when moving to a new city or country. This is completely normal; your culture is bound to be different from the one you’re going to be immersed in throughout the duration of your study period. The culture in Brisbane is not hard to get accustomed to; it just needs a little getting used to. Here are some of the cultural differences you could face and our handy tips for dealing with them when moving to Brisbane! 

1. Study Style

As an international student, the first cultural difference you’ll encounter is how distinct studying is in the country. In Australia, and by extension, in Brisbane, the education system is a mix of both practical and theoretical lessons. Adjusting to this system can be a bit difficult for some students, which can cause bad moods and stress. 

The good news, however, is that the universities and institutions in Australia give more attention to international students and help them adjust to the educational style. They offer a broad range of tools and materials to make the transition to the education system seamless and less stressful. Students who have been through this process can also offer you help and guidance. 

2. Service Hours

In Australia, mostly during weekends, cafés and restaurants close early compared to other countries. International students from other countries with different service hours may be unfamiliar with these times, especially if they are craving a late dinner or a midnight snack. You can easily overcome this by making a note of the timings and keeping a schedule so you know when to order or go out. 

3. Informality

In Brisbane, the lifestyle is more laid-back and informal than it is in other cities or countries. This might be jarring for international students at first, especially when teachers call them by their first names. It’s better to know beforehand that the culture in Brisbane is a laidback one and more on the casual side than other countries, and learn to accept and embrace that before you head there to study. 

4. Shopping Scene

The shopping scene and overall retail culture in Australia generally, and Brisbane specifically, is different than it is in other cities. Generally, shops open at around 9 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. each day. Some areas may have late-night shopping, where shops may stay open until 9 p.m. or later on Thursday or Friday nights. Major stores, such as supermarkets, often stay open late each night, and some even operate 24 hours a day. This might take some getting used to, but once you get used to their timings, you’ll fit in easily. 

Tips to live in Birsbane

General Coping Tips for Students in Brisbane

  • Educate yourself about Brisbane before you move there, read about the city and its culture and be prepared beforehand. 

  • Set fixed goals for yourself, both socially and academically. 

  • Engage in activities, join clubs, and find yourself a hobby to keep busy. 

  • Make friends and stay in touch with other students that are new to the city as well. 

  • Never hesitate to ask for help.

Emergency Numbers to Keep on Hand While in Brisbane

  • Dial Triple Zero (000) for Police, Fire, and Ambulance in case of an emergency.

  • Use the SES app or dial 132-500 for help with a damaged roof, rising flood water, trees falling on buildings, or storm damage.

  • 13 HEALTH (13-43-25-84) for non-urgent medical help.

  • If you need the police for a non-emergency, contact Policelink on 13-14-44.

  • Dial 13 QGOV (13-74-68) for general enquiries. 

  • Dial 106 for TTY Emergency Services.

  • For other inquiries and overall questions, you can visit NRS.

There you have it! This basically sums up the gist of what you need to know in order to cope properly with life as a student in Brisbane. Whatever it is you’re struggling with, do not fret—there is always a solution! So, enjoy yourself and make the most of your study experience in Brisbane! 


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