Staying connected with family and friends

A smiling student is sitting in front of a computer.

Moving overseas is a huge decision, and being without your support network can feel very overwhelming. Staying connected with your family and friends from back home while you're studying in a new country is so important, but it can also feel really challenging. Fortunately, we live in an age where technology makes this a lot easier!

When you first get to Western Australia (WA), it's a good idea to purchase a prepaid mobile SIM card. This way, you will be able to use your phone without having to be locked into a contract. You'll be able to access the internet and stay in contact with new and old friends. 

Keep in touch

Social media
We're lucky to live in a time where connection can quite literally be at our fingertips. Mobile friendly social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, make it simple to reach out to loved ones back home and keep them up to date on your overseas adventures. If you're looking for some photographic inspiration to send everyone back home, check out the #studyperth hashtag on Instagram for pictures from fellow international students! 

There's nothing more relaxing than sitting down to a movie with your friends, and you can still do this even when you're living away from them! Free services like Teleparty (which works with Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime) now offer a 'watch with friends option' where you can live-watch a movie with your mates, with a special on-screen chat function. Don't have access to a streaming service? Simply press play on your favourite DVD at the same time as your friend and chat through a messaging app while you watch. If you're looking for a taste of WA, check out Bran Nue Dae (2009) or Red Dog (2011), two Aussie films filmed around the state! Someone get the popcorn!

Handwritten letters
Although it may require a little more effort than an instant message, there's something incredibly comforting about sending and receiving handwritten letters. This is also a great way to stay in touch with loved ones who might live in more rural areas or be from a generation where using technology is less common.

Care packages
There's nothing quite like receiving a package in the mail, especially if you know that it's filled with thoughtful goodies from a loved one back home. If you can, take the opportunity to send care packages of your own, and introduce your family and friends to all the new things you're discovering in Australia! (Tim Tam chocolate biscuits, anyone?)

Zoom quiz night
Quiz nights are always a hit. Just because you're living away from your friends doesn't mean you can't get together for a bit of good old fashioned competition! Why not try making it educational and add in some questions relating to your study — fun and productive!

Online games
Playing games is not only a great stress reliever but also a great way to chat to your friends. Download an app like Discord and you'll be able to talk to your friends while building a city or solving a mystery! The options are endless.

Reach out for support

If you're feeling overwhelmed, don't worry — that's completely normal for anyone studying, and even more so if you're missing your home. There are a wide range of support services available that can help you stay connected to your family and friends, and talk through how you're feeling. 

  • TAFE International Western Australia (TIWA) is always there to help you though challenging periods, and can easily connect you with a Student Advisor if you're feeling lost.
  • TheDesk is a free online service for students to help you cope with stress — there's online modules, quizzes, advice forums and more.
  • StudyPerth also offers a range of support services for international students, including chat rooms and Facebook groups with like minded people, and free wellbeing, legal and career support.

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