Feeling Homesick? Why not try these tricks?

by Tiffany P. Monorom


No matter how amazing Australia is, there is no place like home.


Just when you finally feel like you have settled down in a new place and have started a new life, that uneasy feeling of missing home begins to creep on you. It does not matter whether you are a first year or in your final year, anyone can feel homesick.


I moved away from home three years ago and only visit home once every year. I understand what it feels like and had to overcome certain challenges in order to prevent it from getting in the way of my uni experience.


It is absolutely natural to feel homesick when living at a new place and there are ways to overcome it. Everybody deals with homesickness differently, but these are my personal tips and tricks to try when you start missing home.


Keep yourself busy

Whether it is working part-time, indulging yourself in a new hobby or joining uni clubs and societies, keeping yourself busy can take your mind off missing home.


ANU CareerHub, Seek and Indeed are among the most popular job sites for students looking for casual and part-time employment. ANUSA also organises the Skill-Up Program for those interested in hospitality work but do not have adequate skills and experiences.


Joining clubs and societies is one of the ways you can meet new people and engage with a much broader uni community. If you are unsure what clubs and societies there are on campus, you can check out this clubs list associated with ANUSA.

In my first year at ANU, I was too occupied with trying to achieve good marks that I did not bother putting myself out there and trying new things, or even looking for a job. Although I did receive Ds and HDs in the end, there wasn’t really anything exciting to look forward to each day and I still ended up with the depressing thoughts of homesickness.


I wasn’t fully satisfied with my overall uni experience but it wasn’t too late for me to realised that going to uni abroad is not just about the academic experience, it is about the culture, the people and so much more. On top of having a happier lifestyle, you also have something to add to your resume!


Get in contact with those from the same background

Meeting other students from the same cultural background may help you feel a bit closer to home. Knowing that there is someone else going through the same thing as you are, means that you can share your experiences or struggles with them and maybe help one another in overcoming this homesickness phenomenon.


Once again, check the ANUSA’s clubs list as it generally contains student association from specific country such as Indian Students’ Association and Thai Association. They generally organise social and cultural activities amongst members of the ANU community.


Share your food 

Food brings people together, because who doesn’t love food, right? This strategy is my personal favourite because, while you get to share traditional food from your home country with your friends, you’ll also get to eat food from their country and enjoy great company at the same time. It’s a win-win situation!


For me, I did not know how to cook as I barely cooked at all back home (mum’s cooking is the best!). After a while, I started to miss my mum’s homemade dishes so I eventually called her and ask for the recipes. It wasn’t easy at first, but I finally got the hang of it after many fail attempts.


Preparing your favourite meal on weekends or stressful days will make you feel more at home.


Adapt to the new environment  

I have to admit, this is easier said than done.


Humans are natural-born professionals in adaptation but it takes time and patience to fully achieve this. The first step would be to accept that it is okay to feel homesick at times. Once you’ve realised this, you can start stepping out of your comfort zone and experiencing the new environment that you’re currently living in.


Uni students have at least 3 years studying in Australia, so might as well try to learn and adapt to their culture and society. My tip would be to observe the behaviour of local people and the way they speak. If you feel uncomfortable in that situation or you feel like you’re creeping people out by staring at them, try watching day time television. Maybe you can catch some spoken slangs or any specific etiquettes.



If after trying these tricks, you still struggle to cope with homesickness, keep in mind that there are professionals that you can talk to at uni. Read this bLAWg to find out more about other resources and services that are available to help you.


Take care!

Mental Health and Wellbeing

by Tiffany P. Monorom



According to the Australian Financial Review, lawyers and legal related professionals have the lowest health and wellbeing compared with other professionals.


Lawyers’ high risk of mental health illness and depression originates as early as their time at law school. As a law student, you are expected to do well in your assessments and to have a part-time job while feeling pressured to engage with extracurricular activities and other social commitments. These demands often mean that law students forget to take care of our mental health and wellbeing.


As such, knowing how to properly cope with mental health issues early on is one of the first essential steps to succeeding as a law student at university.


What is mental health?

The World Health Organisation refers to mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”.


Headspace further explains that mental health problems can arise when feelings of anger, anxiousness or disappointment persist for long periods of time. For students specifically, the cause of these feelings results from stress at university and work, financial difficulties, and any other personal related issues.


Each student learns how to cope with these stresses and anxieties differently, whether it is eating healthy, meditating or getting plenty of sleep. Most importantly, knowing what resources and services are available to students and where to get them is the way to attain the best possible coping mechanisms.


Seeking Help

Through my experience, I think the first few people to seek help from would be those who are closest to you—that is your friends and family. You may feel more at ease discussing personal struggles with them and they may be in a better position to give you advice through their own life experiences because they might have gone through something similar.


If you are looking to speak to a professional, you can make an appointment with ANU Health or ANU Counselling Centre. Due to a shortage of staff, you might have to wait for a couple of weeks before you get to see your counsellor. An alternative would be to attend the centre from 8:55am or give them a call at 6125 2442 to get a shorter, same-day appointment.


The LSS Wellbeing Director can also provide support or direct you to the right resources and services regarding law students’ mental health. Ella Masri is the 2017 Wellbeing Director and she is contactable through the LSS Wellbeing Facebook Page.


Lifeline and Beyondblue also provide 24-hour anonymous support through online chat or over the phone. Headspace and Batyr are also platforms aiming to engage with and educate people about mental health by providing online resources and a range of interactive programs.


Helping Others

Keep in mind that you are not the only one who is suffering from mental health problems—those around you will be experiencing other difficulties too. But if you know of any further resources and services, do let your friends know and help them through this stressful period in their life.


University is one of the best experiences you can have so go easy and take care of yourself and your friends. One idea is to grab a friend and participate in ANUSA’s Wellbeing Week and LSS’s Wellbeing in the Law Week that usually occur during May. They have a range of activities throughout the week including yoga and meditation, a petting zoo, and health and nutrition workshops.


Further Resources

A number of resources are available online for you to access if you need further guidance in dealing with your mental health and wellbeing. Here are some of the resources to get you started:

Student Wellness: Coping with Anxiety & Stress at University

LSS Wellbeing Publications

ALSA Wellbeing Guide

ALSA Wellbeing Tips and Tricks

Uni-Virtual Clinic

How International Students Can Stand Out in the Crowd

By Tiffany P. Monorom


What makes international students unique? What skills and experiences do they possess that make them stand out in the crowd?

The number of international students in Australia as of June 2017 is 510, 348, which is a 14 per cent increase from June 2016 (see this report from Australian Government’s Department of Education and Training).

As the number of international students increases, the tougher the employment journey gets.

Here are three ways that you, international students, can differentiate yourselves from the crowd when competing with other candidates in the job market.


You Are Independent

It is not an easy thing to do to move away from your family and friends, to live on your own and to get through university by yourself. All of these show that you are very mature and highly independent.

While living in a different country, you’ve learned how to adapt to a different culture and different ways of life. For some of you, you’ve had to learn English – sometimes without any formal education. You have an understanding of Australian heritage with the celebration and remembrance on national holidays like Australia Day and ANZAC Day. Adaptation can also include the little things, like familiarising yourselves with some Australian slang.

This shows that you are capable of stepping out of your comfort zone which is not something that everybody can do. It takes courage and a great deal of determination.


You Are Persistent

You’ve had to face many challenges and make many sacrifices in order to be here. Some international students even go far and beyond to accept extremely low paying jobs in a totally different industry just to get their foot in the door.

Trying to attend classes while working part-time, dealing with immense homesickness while experiencing culture shock is a lot to take in. Yet you keep pressing on because great achievements don’t happen overnight.

The amount of commitment you put in will show employers that you are willing to do what it takes to complete the job. It is this willingness that makes international students attractive candidates in the workplace.

Further, international students are required to undertake at least four courses (24 units) per semester, which means that dropping a course is never a great option because you might be in breach of your visa conditions. This strict requirement teaches you to deal with challenging situations in real life and to not simply quit when things get too difficult.


You Are Culturally Aware

Besides potentially being able to speak more than one language, you possess specific knowledge of the culture, economy and work ethic of another country. Most companies and organisations are competing in the global economy so having bilingual employees would be beneficial when communicating with overseas clients. Multiculturalism is also just a valued skill by many employers, regardless of whether you actually use multiple languages at work.

Further, through your experiences as an international student, you have learned to embrace diversity, which means that you are able to relate with other people from a different background and work effectively in a multicultural environment. Most importantly, your cultural awareness will help you deal with different situations faced by your organisation.

Being an international student allows you to bring in new ideas and perspectives to your workplace. Different views will help change the way a firm operates since most firms are always on the lookout for ways to improve their business.

Keep in mind that you aren’t any less qualified for the job just because you are from a different cultural background. In fact, you’re more qualified in many ways.



Now, who wouldn’t want to hire someone who is independent, persistent and culturally aware? Just make sure you highlight these key qualities with your potential employers.


Best of luck!

Employment Eligibility and Career Opportunities

By Tiffany P. Monorom


Has anyone ever told you to follow your passion and do what you love?


For international students, passion and love don’t always come first. With our current legal market and the competitive recruitment process, gaining employment in Australia is never a piece of cake— even for domestic students.


This bLAWg post aims to provide you with useful links and resources to consider when thinking about your career options and what you can do with your law degree as an international student in Australia.


Visa and Migration Information

The first thing you need to think about is your visa options. Each visa consists of different eligibility requirements and durations of stay so it is important to gather all the facts before you run off and start applying for graduate jobs!


The most common visa pathway for most recent international student graduates is through the skilled migration path by first applying for the Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) and then the Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189).


Once you have completed your tertiary education as an international student, the Temporary Graduate Visa allows you to extend your time in Australia for a period of 18 months. However, your skill/occupation must fall under the ‘Skilled Occupation List’ (Solicitors and Barristers are eligible occupations). This visa can be used as a transitional step prior to applying for the Skilled Independent Visa.


To apply for the Skilled Independent Visa, you must submit an ‘expression of interest’, including a skills assessment for your nominated occupation. It is a points based test of 60 or more, taking into account your age, English language and other abilities.


To learn more, visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection site or attend the Migration Workshops hosted by ANUSA.


Qualification to Practice

After completing your law degree, you must undertake the Practical Legal Training course in order to practice law in Australia. You can complete the Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice (GDLP) program with the ANU Legal Workshop or other PLT providers such as The College of Law or Leo Cussen Centre of Law.


The PLT is flexible, which you can complete almost entirely online in as little as 6 months and up to 3 years. Different options for legal placement in an approved workplace are also available. You may be eligible to be admitted to practice as a barrister or solicitor upon completion of appropriate PLT.


Legal Career Opportunities

As we have already established, the legal market is very competitive. See Beyond Law’s Law Graduate Job Market Map for a variety of opportunities available whether you are interested in commercial law, non-for-profits or social justice.


International students may find it easier to aim toward careers in the private sector, as the public sector often has relatively strict requirements regarding citizenship or permanent residency. However, many private law firms also favour domestic applicants, so it pays to do your research.


International students should conduct their own research on each law firm’s website and contact human resources regarding international applicants.


Job Search Databases

When conducting a job search, the best place to start is our own ANU CareerHub for finding general work and not specifically for finding legal employment. Seek, Indeed and Pro Bono Australia are also popular sites used by many recruiters and job searchers.


Beyond Law Job Hub and Legal Vitae are job sites more specifically for law students, law graduates and young lawyers. ANU Legal Workshop’s Placements Board advertises job and Legal Practice Experience (LPE) placement for ANU legal workshop students. ANU Law Careers Fair usually takes place in the beginning of the academic year, and is another great opportunity for law students to discover different employment opportunities across the legal sector, non-profits and consulting.



Further Resources

If you require further assistance in writing your resume or to practice interview skills, contact ANU Careers or read the LSS’s Careers Guides and LSS’s Clerkship Guides for more information.


The LSS International Students team will be hosting a careers information session, intending to provide a comprehensive discussion of the subject matter presented above. Stay tuned for more details of the event!

Seeking Academic Support

Seeking academic support

by Tiffany P. Monorom

Moving to a new country is a huge step for every international student and it can take you several attempts to successfully adjust to Australian tertiary studies.


With a large workload, heavily structured materials, and the competitive nature of law school, it is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed.


Whether you feel like you are struggling or you just need additional help to achieve your desired results, the ANU offers a wide range of academic support both within the College of Law and within the university.



ANU College of Law

Your course convenor should be your first point of contact if you have any issues with your courses. You can find out who your course convenor is by simply going into your course Wattle page. Send them an email or make a post in the course forum for questions relating to the content of the course, the assessments or extensions.


You can contact the ANU College of Law Sub-Dean, Anne Macduff if you have concerns regarding the program and course structure of your degree, or if you want to request for special examinations and appeals. To make an appointment with the Sub-Dean, call the college front desk at 02 6125 3483. If you have a direct question, email subdean.law@anu.edu.au.


Those of you who are international students with a language background other than English may be eligible to apply for special assessment arrangements within your first year. For law students specifically, you can enrol in LAWS4209 English in a Legal Context course on top of your other courses. There are no assessments for this course, it is simply there to help you learn how to read cases, write legal documents, and prepare for tutorial problems. Upon successful completion of this course, you will receive a mark of CRS (course requirements satisfied). Plus, you may apply for final exam special arrangements for your other courses, providing you with additional 30 per cent reading and writing time.

Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL) program aims to assist first-year students with their law studies by helping them learn and practice the foundational legal skills that are essential for the rest of their degree. Weekly study sessions are facilitated by experienced later year law students, allowing them to build relationships with fellow law students.


Come and Have a Talk (CHAT) is a mentoring program that teams first years up in groups with other first year students, later year student mentors and a staff member. Social gatherings and discussion sessions will take place within the enrolled group to provide support, resources and advice during your time as a law student.


ANU Law Library

If you want to save some extra cash and not purchase textbooks, the law library offers a two-hour loan and/or two-day loan for most law textbooks. However, there is a way for you to borrow the textbooks for more than two hours. On weekdays from Monday to Thursday, if a textbook is borrowed after 7pm, it can be returned the next morning when the library opens at 8:30am. If you borrow a textbook after 3pm on Friday, you can return it on Saturday afternoon at 1pm. You can also have access to a textbook after 3pm on Saturday and return it at 8:30am on Monday.


You can take advantage of other library services if you require further assistance on finding legal materials and using databases. Law library staff conducts classes for specific legal databases for all first and second year law students. If you have a specific question, feel free to ask our friendly staff at the library information desk.



Law Students’ Society (LSS)

The 2017 LSS Vice-President (Education), Eden Lim sits on the ANU College of Law Education Committee as well as the LLB and JD committee. She has the capacity to assist law students with general academic enquiries and other policy-based issues. You can reach her at lsseducation@anu.edu.au.


The Education team runs the pre-exam tutorials which are intensive 90 minute tutorials for compulsory courses, focusing on providing you with a skilled guide to approaching the final exams. The tutorials are conducted by students who received impressive scores on their final exams for the respective courses, and those with tutoring experience. Watch out for these sessions on the LSS Facebook page.


I, Tiffany Monorom, am the 2017 LSS International Students Director. My duty is to promote the interests of international students by developing useful resources and organise social and educational events. If you have any academic concerns during your studies at the college, I will be able to direct you to the most relevant services and resources. Email me at lssinternational@anu.edu.au. You can also read my article on choosing between a single law degree and combined law degree here and my international student guide here.


The International Students team is in the process of organising the International Student Mentoring Program which focuses on helping international students to successfully transition to law school. To become a mentor or a mentee, you can complete this application form. Plus, there will be bLAWgs being posted onto our LSS website, consisting of a range of topics from academic supports to employment and mental health.



Academic Skills and Learning Centre

The academic skills and learning centre consists of experienced advisors who are able to help students with their academic skills and other learning strategies. Individual appointments, drop-in sessions, workshops and self-help resources such as the Turnitin Practice site are available services from the centre for students in all year levels. Find out more at: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/contacts/academic-skills-learning-centre.



Key Takeaways

No matter how tough a law degree can be, don’t sweat it! There are plenty of resources and services available both within the law school and the university to help you throughout your degree, so take advantage of them.


Good luck and take it easy!