Building resilience as an international student

Building resilience as an international student

Being an international student is challenging. While there are many adjustments that need to be made in terms of food, accommodation and learning style, perhaps the biggest challenge of all is building resilience as an international student. Without resilience, students will start missing classes and fall behind in their studies. When this happens, the educational opportunity may be lost forever.

So what is resilience? According to the Merriam Webster online dictionary, resilience can be defined as follows

Resilience: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

Recovery and adjustment are some of the key words here. In other words, students need to be able to deal with the unexpected set back they may face and keep moving forward.

Let’s have a look at possible challenges that students need to deal with:

  • Not getting a visa in time to make the start of your course
  • Not finding accommodation which is close enough to the college campus
  • Living with people you don’t know
  • Not having enough money to pay for the books and computer equipment needed to study successfully
  • Not being able to get a job in your new city
  • Being overwhelmed with feelings of homesickness

All of these challenges are stressful. The main issues comes, however, when these issues are compounded by happening at the same time. In English there is an idiom that says when people face major challenges, they can choose ‘fight or flight’.

Fight means keeping strong and pushing ahead despite the difficulties. This is exactly the attitude needed by international students. This is the resilient attitude.

The alternative is ‘flight’. In this case, the student will decide it is all too hard and will give up. Flight means leaving. While this might be the only way to handle some situations, it is certainly not the attitude that will bring success.

Ultimately, the majority of students will be able to overcome to challenges. After all, they are often aged in their late teens and early twenties and are capable of pushing through hardships. The spirit of being young and ambitious is enough to give them the resilience required for success.

Building resilience as an international student is a powerful life skill to learn. Not only that, it builds the exact skills that are required in many modern workplaces. Because being resilient is something that all workers need to solve complex problems and work independently.

So, there is an upside to building resilience as an international student. In fact, it might be the best characteristic you develop while learning in a foreign land.

Engineering Internships in Australia

Engineering Internships in Australia

As you proceed through your Engineering studies, it is advisable that you begin to consider the vast number of opportunities with engineering internships that are available to you as you look to build your chosen career.

The good news is that many of the major engineering organizations in Australia provide graduate jobs and short-term internship opportunities.

An example of a potential employer is the Downer Group, who is a major player in the construction and engineering sectors. Downer specializes in the transportation, infrastructure, technology, and communications sectors.

The benefits of being part of the Downer family throughout Australia include:

  • competitive starting salaries
  • study assistance
  • regular training programs
  • one-to-one mentoring from Downer business leaders
  • flexible work arrangements
  • local health check-up programs
  • offers and cash back on selected shopping portals
  • discounts on technology products
  • exclusive offers on a range of vehicles
  • a two-year graduate development program providing exposure to different areas of the business through structured rotation and, regular core development training sessions
  • industry networking opportunities
  • one-to-one executive mentoring from Downer business leaders, to support you and keep you on track.

Underpinning these benefits, Downer promises to work closely with customers to help them succeed, using world leading insights and solutions.

These are just a few of the many benefits on offer from Downer and are typical of the competitive engineering sector as it seeks to employ, develop and retain quality engineering graduates.

If you need more information on the opportunities within Engineering, see the Engineering page on the site.

For more information on Graduate Programs and Internships opportunities in Australia, have a look at the GradAustralia website at:

Top 9 Employability Skills Hiring Managers Expect and Want

Top 9 Employability Skills Hiring Managers Expect and Want

The world of work is rapidly changing due to the forces of technology and globalization, which is having an impact on employability skills. What does this mean for the companies that are looking for the best new graduates to take graduate positions at their organization? It means employers are looking for the technical skills that are gained from studies, such as engineering skills or IT skills. However, they are also looking for other skills, that are sometimes known as employability skills, or soft skills.  

Top 9 Employability Skills

  1. Communication skills
  2. Teamwork skills
  3. Innovation and creativity
  4. Problem-solving skills
  5. Initiative
  6. Planning and organization skills
  7. Professionalism
  8. Ability to use tools and technology
  9. Intercultural understanding

  When you study, consider how critical these skills will be for your future career. And think about how you might be able to get involved in volunteer or charity work that allows you to develop these skills while you study. In many cases, it will be the students who can demonstrate competence in these employability skills that will have the best stories to tell during the job interview and ultimately get the best jobs.

Top 10 Job Interview Tips for Non-Native English Speakers

Top 10 Job Interview Tips for Non-Native English Speakers


Having a job interview in English can be challenging for people sho do not have English as a first language. Here are some job interview tips that can help you prepare the right way for this important moment in your career.


1. Turn your ability to speak another language into a positive

Focus on the advantages you have in being able to speak more than one language. At the same time, don’t spend too much time speaking about your home country or culture, as this may be considered small talk and will not be relevant for the position you are applying for.


2. Practice your pronunciation of essential vocabulary

Make sure you know how to pronounce names, places and relevant information related to the job you are applying for. If words that are seen as important are incorrectly pronounced, this can seem sloppy and unprofessional to the native speaker.


3. Write down a list of questions that you expect to hear

It’s essential that you try to predict some of the ways that the job interview will go. While preparing for the interview, write notes about how you will construct your answers, including the verb tenses you will most likely need to use.


4. Be mindful of grammar

Grammar mistakes during job interviews can make you seem unprofessional, so be careful when you are talking about past events. Also, look out for grammar issues such as subject-verb agreement when preparing your answers. For example, say ‘they initiate’, not ‘they initiates’.


5. Be prepared to ask the interviewer to repeat a question

If you are not sure about the question, it is far better to ask the interviewer to repeat what he or she has said. Smile and confidently answer the question once you are clear again.


6. Understand and practice the appropriate use of formal interview language

There are common phrases that are often used in job interviews. For example, when you meet the interviewer for the first time, it is a good idea to show your appreciation with a statement such as “thank you for the opportunity to meet with you today”. Make sure you learn these useful phrases and practice saying them, so they feel natural.


7. Avoid informal business language

You may have picked up some information language during your studies. Keep in mind that a job interview is very formal, so you should always use the more formal phrasing of your answers. For example, you should say the number ‘ten thousand,’ not ‘ten grand’ or ‘ten k,’ which sounds too informal in a job interview setting.


8. Role-play the interview with friends

Practice as much as you can before the interview, so you are prepared to speak on any topic. You can do this with a friend who is a native speaker so that you can ask for constructive feedback on your grammar, pronunciation and word choice.


9. Ensure you know how to sound polite

You need to be friendly and likable during an interview and smiling and good manners go a long way to help. It’s important to use phrases such as: ‘nice to meet you,’ ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ ‘excuse me,’ ‘thanks for the opportunity for this interview’ and ‘enjoy the rest of your day.’


10. Don’t be overly concerned that you are a non-native English speaker

In the modern world, workplace diversity is regarded as a positive aspect in most organizations, and a small level of language inaccuracy will usually be tolerated, as long as it does not interfere with your job productivity.


Bonus Tip – Make sure you have a question for the interviewer

In most job interviews, the interviewer will finish by asking: “Do you have any questions for me?” At this point, you must ask a question. You could “Can I expect to receive any extra training while I’m doing this job?”, or perhaps “What will I be doing on a daily basis?”. Remember, if you have no question, it may make the interviewer think that you are not an independent thinker, which may leave a negative impression to complete the interview. So make sure you have a few good questions ready for the end.

So that’s it. Good luck with your next interview and remember to breathe deeply and smile. Looking confident goes a long way to interview success.