Making new friends
There is no magic trick to making friends and if you are in a foreign culture it can seem more difficult than usual to find people who you really “get along” with. Be kind to yourself – remember that making friends takes time. If you make the most of social opportunities during your life in Australia, just as you would back home, it will be quicker and easier for you to fit in, make friends and feel at home.
However you meet people, remember to be careful. When you meet someone new, be cautious until you get to know the person better and feel you can trust him or her. If a stranger starts talking to you, they are probably just being friendly. But be safe, and don’t give them any of your personal details like your full name, your phone number or your address.
With people you don’t know well, always arrange to meet them in a public place, like a café or a park, instead of inviting them to your home or going to theirs, until you feel you have built a relationship with them, know more about them and feel comfortable with them.
Many international students spend time hanging out with other students and people from their own country and culture while they’re in Australia. These people can make you feel accepted and you may be able to communicate much more easily with them than you can with the locals, particularly when you have just arrived. When everything around you is new and different, it can feel like a big relief to find people from your own country and cultural background. But remember, you need to be careful at first, until you get to know them better, just as you should with anyone else. Even though you may feel like you have a lot in common, remain cautious until you feel you know them reasonably well and can trust them.
If you have any concerns or questions about someone you have met, or want to talk to someone about Australian mannerisms and communication “norms” (widely acceptable behaviour), make an appointment to talk it over with your International Student Advisor.
Community & charity organisations
During your time in Australia you may wish to become more involved in the community in which you live. You may like to volunteer your time helping people less fortunate than you or join a community group that is an advocate on an issue that you are passionate about. Joining a community group is a great way to meet new people and occupy your mind and body.
Below is a list of links to a number of community and charity organisations that you can become involved in.
Visit www.community.gov.au to find a community group in your area.
Australia has a number of peak ethnic group bodies representing and assisting people from all over the world. Some examples include:
- FECCA: the national peak body representing Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Visit www.fecca.org.au
- Multicultural Australia: one of Australia's leading sources of quality education resources on multiculturalism. Visit www.multiculturalaustralia.edu.au
- Islam Australia Network: a portal connecting Islamic individuals across Australia. Visit www.islam.iinet.net.au
- Jewish Australia Network online: the gateway to everything Jewish in Australia. Visit www.jewishaustralia.com
For information on ethnic and community groups within your community visit www.community.gov.au
Embassies provide support and consular services for visitors and residents. They also provide information on political and economic developments in the country they represent and work to maintain friendly relations with the host country. Embassies also help protect the rights of their nationals who are travelling or residing within the host country.
For a full list of contact details for embassies in Australia visit www.dfat.gov.au
Bilateral Chambers of Commerce
Bilateral chambers of commerce work to promote business, education and cultural links between Australia and overseas countries. These organisations provide information and assistance on finding networking opportunities for companies interested in trade and investment within particular markets.
Bilateral Chambers of Commerce in Australia include:
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