Transition to studying at UNSW

Louise Tabrum1

1 University of New South Wales

This presentation will describe Student Development Internationals’ (SDI) best practice for providing an effective Orientation Program to assist international students in their transition to studying at UNSW Australia and living in Sydney. Student Development International (SDI) is responsible for overseeing the orientation and transition activities of international students at UNSW. Orientation Programs for international students have come under a lot of scrutiny in recent years, as formal and informal feedback suggests existing Programs have often been ineffective in meeting students’ needs. International students have continued to ‘fall through the cracks’ and have not always been linked into the resources available to assist them in their transition and beyond.

In response to formal and informal feedback SDI developed a holistic and streamlined Transition Program available to all students before they arrive onshore and accessible throughout the semester.  Acknowledging that international student have different needs, based on their capabilities, experience and background, a specialised Program for international students now sits alongside that offered to local students. The Program for international students includes 7 online modules, UNSW Essentials (covers information necessary for studying at UNSW), complemented by a one day face to face session. The face to face component is offered prior to UNSW Orientation Week so that students can also attend workshops, presentations and Faculty Welcomes. At the conclusion of the presentation participants will be given an opportunity to share their experiences and successes in providing effective programs assisting new students in their transition to study in Australia and New Zealand.


Louise Tabrum has been working at UNSW Australia as an Intentional Student Advisor for some time.