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International Health Top Tips

How to avoid being overwhelmed by overseas study

When you’re an overseas student, the difficulties of adjusting to a new country and culture can add to the usual pressures that studying brings. Don’t let little stresses become overwhelming. Use the following advice to help manage your wellbeing:

Ask for help when you need it
  • If you are having trouble understanding the material, ask your lecturer or tutor for help.
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed let someone know, make an appointment with an advisor. They are there to help you succeed.
  • Share your concerns with a caring friend or find a study buddy to get more support.
  • If balancing study and work becomes difficult, talk to your manager about changing your hours or having time off, especially around exams.
Be prepared
  • Follow a regular study routine so you don’t need to cram for exams or stay up all night completing assignments at the last minute.
  • Avoid exam anxiety by being well prepared and double-checking important details such as the time and location.
Take care of yourself
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet and drink plenty of water.
  • Take breaks, enjoy activities away from study and exercise.
  • Cultivate healthy ways of thinking. Be positive and avoid negative thoughts. Tell yourself “I am smart, I am prepared, I am confident, I will succeed!”

Helpful hints for preparing for your exams

Exam time can be stressful, especially when you’re far from home and your family and other support networks. Allianz Global Assistance offers the following advice to make your exam preparation go more smoothly:

  1. Set up a study area that is free of distractions. This will help you focus.
  2. Schedule study time into your day. Start early in the semester so you have plenty of time and get a set routine. You know yourself best, study when and where you will study most effectively.
  3. Plan your study sessions. Write a list of things you want to get done. This will help to make each session more manageable and less overwhelming.
  4. Use methods that work for you to improve your ability to recall course material. Some people find it helpful to use flash cards, post-it-notes, or talk to someone who doesn’t know much about the topic.
  5. Remember you will retain more information if you are well rested and relaxed. Make sure you take a 15 minute break for every hour of study. Get up, take a walk, have something to eat or drink, chat with a friend, or exercise.
  6. Limit coffee and energy drinks to your normal intake level. More caffeine will only make it harder to concentrate once the caffeine wears off and it can make you irritable.
  7. Avoid distractions. Don’t study with the TV on. Put your phone aside, don’t open your email or internet browser, and let your friends know you need to study.
  8. Double check all the details of your exam well in advance. Know the location, what you need to take and arrive early to give yourself time to feel at ease.

Five tips to take care of your health while studying

It can be easy to get so distracted by your study schedule that you neglect important habits like healthy meals, exercise and time for relaxation to keep you happy and healthy. Follow these five tips for better health while you hit the books:

  1. Eat a balanced diet: This will provide you with the nutrients you need for sustained energy. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
  2. Eat regular small portions: Try to eat several small portions of food throughout the day versus three large meals.
  3. Include ‘brain food’: Eat foods high in omega-3 as they are best for brain functioning. High levels of omega-3 can be found in salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, walnuts and kiwi fruit. Kiwi fruit is also a great source of vitamin C.
  4. Get plenty of rest: Try not to stay up all night. You will find a few good hours of studying is better than trying to stay awake all night. If you are not absorbing information, it is time to stop – it is a waste of time to continue if you are not achieving anything.
  5. Stay active: Sitting at a desk for extended periods is not good for you, so remember to take regular breaks. Exercise such as walking will help you stay healthy and also ease stress.
  6. Establish a routine: Developing and maintaining a normal schedule allows you to feel more organised and more easily make time for relaxation and preparing healthy meals.