Once international students are settled in Australia, the fear of failing academically, financially and professionally and as the pressure builds, it’s easy to be overcome with emotion and crumble.
Many students like Taseen are supported by their family whilst they are studying. During his studies, he has felt tremendous stress to excel, and was terrified of letting them down, even when he wasn’t enjoying the experience.
Tugce received some financial assistance from her parents. However, as the Turkish Lira’s purchasing power plummeted as a result of COVID-19, they were no longer able to provide financial support. Faced with financial strain as well as a toxic work environment and academic pressure, her stress level skyrocketed. Her mind went into overdrive. Terrified that if she failed her visa would be revoked.
She was in a sink or swim situation.
Engulfed by her internal struggles, when she played back every encounter she had with Australians she wondered if they cared about her. She felt abandoned and wondered if all the smiles she had received from Australians during her time were superficial.
Associate Professor Helen Forbes-Mewett, of sociology at Monash University specialises in international student mental health. She remarked that international students are scared to admit they are struggling to their families because their feelings are often dismissed.
“Some students have indicated that parents may tell them that working harder is the answer to the problem…” she added.
‘With a million thoughts a minute and constantly thinking about surviving, it’s easy to overthink.’