| Danial Norjidi |
HRDS Education Services held a pre-departure briefing for Australia-bound students yesterday to prepare them for the next chapter in their academic journey.
The briefing was held at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, and attendees included scholarship awardees and self-funded students as well as their parents.
HRDS General Manager, Dr Smita Dholakia spoke on the importance of Orientation Week as it helps students, particularly those from abroad, to familiarise themselves with the new surroundings and the academic requirements they should achieve. Her presentation also included topics on culture shock, which comes in five stages.
The first, called the “honeymoon” stage, is when overseas students are excited and curious about their new surroundings. The second stage, “distress”, comes into play when a student starts noticing the differences and feels isolated and homesick. Third is “re-integration”, when a student feels angry and frustrated, before going into the stage of “autonomy”, where they learn to accept differences, start to relax and become more confident.
The fifth and final stage is “independence”, and this is where students start to value the differences and similarities and become more comfortable with where they are.
The session also featured presentations by local students who are currently studying in Australia. They shared their own experiences on studying and living in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. The students all spoke on various aspects of life there, such as how to get around, where to find Halal food, finding accommodation and setting up an internet connection, among others.
As Dr Smita said, “The students are embarking on a major phase of their life and the intention is to make the transition as smooth as possible.”