The International Arrival Lounge and beyond

3 March 2020

In her third year of her Bachelor of Management, Lynn Yerin Kim has almost finished her final year as an international student at UQ. She has had a busy few years studying and working and today is no different as she volunteers in the International Arrival Lounge.

Lynn in the International Arrival Lounge during Welcome Weeks

The International Arrival Lounge is a safe and welcoming space for new international students to come and visit when they first arrive in Australia. It is a relatively new initiative that has been implemented into the Orientation experience, aiming to provide new students with a place they can drop by and make their own.

“It can be really difficult coming to a new country to study, especially when you are on your own. The culture shock, language barriers, different customs, on top of delivering assignments and attending exams, can be a really stressful experience.”

“I had such an amazing time studying at UQ the past three years, however I didn’t really have anybody in my first year to help me navigate through those tough times. I understand the importance of having a mentor or a friendly face to chat to when you first start university. This is especially important for new international students.”

International students in the Arrival Lounge during Welcome Weeks

International students are confronted with a lot of challenges, possibly more so than other students. They are confronted with a lot of challenges, have a lot of questions, face language and cultural barriers and are a long way from home. A lot of the time it is poorly understood how big the gap is between a student’s environments back home to their new environment in Australia.

“I volunteered for the Arrival Lounge because I saw the importance of giving students the help they need when they really needed it. Their first impression and experience of UQ really shapes their idea of reality, as well as their confidence; so being able to offer a welcoming and safe space for them to visit when they first arrive is really vital.”

The International Arrival Lounge featured a full schedule of events and activities to help new students connect. Open from 2-8pm Monday to Friday during O-Week and Connect Week, the space hosted a number of opportunities for new international students to connect.

“Most students who visit the lounge came because they were keen to make friends and be a part of an inclusive space. It’s a place they can do speed friending, have a cup of tea, watch a movie or just chat and relax over a cup of tea. Believe it or not vegemite was very popular! All new international students wanted to try it and the reactions were everything from repulsed to amazed. We also had a parent’s corner this year, where new international students could bring their parents and carers. It is important parents understand the environment their children are walking into and offer a simple thing like a space to mix and mingle with other parents and students really relieves their stress and eases their mind.”

The International Arrival Lounge was open during orientation for new international students from Monday to Friday, 2-8pm. There are still plenty of other places international students can seek support and information once the Arrival Lounge closes including Student Services, Faculty support, Student Centre, Employability Centre and more.

Important apps and links
UQ Nav – find your way around campus
Student Accommodation – find housing via the UQ approved providers
Translink - Transport information across Brisbane
Blackboard – Lectures, readings, course information etc
Student Centre – Admissions and program changes, enrolment, fees etc
Student Hub – find volunteering work and paid jobs
ICTE - Get access English courses
Learning workshops - Attend free academic workshops
Important information for international students
health insurance and medical care for international students