Going abroad to study is a thrilling experience, yet has a lot of challenges. New environment, cultural shocks, different learning and evaluation systems, as well as language barrier are among the biggest challenges faced by an international student. There are certainly difficulties in overcoming those challenges, however, there are numerous supports to help us to solve those problems and develop ourselves, especially from the university.
If you’re going to study in The University of Western Australia (UWA), don’t worry too much because the university provides a program designed to develop various university-related skills that are available throughout the semester. This program is collectively called STUDYSmarter.
STUDYSmarter provides a variety of classes, such as WRITESmart which is specifically aimed to develop writing skills, ma+hs smart for mathematical and statistical problems solving, research planning workshops for honours and postgraduate students, and the ultimate English bootcamp. These workshops are intended for all UWA students and even can be attended by everyone outside UWA environment. This program is carefully established by a special team consist of experts in student learning. Not only face-to-face classes, this program also provides online materials that can be accessed anytime as well as WRITESmart and ma+hs smart drop-in sessions that are available on weekdays in the two biggest libraries in UWA, Reid Library and Barry J. Marshall Library (formerly Science Library).
For those who still need some improvements in English, the English bootcamp will suits you best. This helpful program is divided into two main parts: Better English Now which focus on improving English core competencies such as reading, writing, and grammar, and Communicate with Confidence which aims to boost your confidence in speaking English. A friendly environment and supportive facilitators make this program exciting and always packed with international students. In addition, meeting new friends from around the globe is absolutely an exciting experience.
Another program that is equally important and useful is WRITESmart. As we might already know, one of the major study evaluations in international universities involves writing activities: essays, literature reviews, presentation slides, project reports, and final exams. Students often find difficulties in starting a writing, establishing structure, developing paragraphs, and creating impactful sentences for the readers. WRITESmart provides workshops related to various writing aspects that are essential for succeeding the university such as establishing a structure for an essay, answering assignment questions, and even for a seemingly “not-so-important” skill for students like lecture note taking. This program gives clear and concise tips that are easy-to-remember and can be directly applied to daily writing activities.
Learning facilities provided by the university should be fully utilised to support our learning process. STUDYSmarter is one of those facilities that can be used by UWA’s current and prospective students. I believe other Australian universities also have a similar program to support their students.
This is an English version of this previously published article.
School of Chemistry and Biochemistry
The University of Western Australia