Academic and English Support

Starting out at university is an exciting prospect. However, it's easy to overlook some of the changes university entails, particularly when comparing the academic environment in Australia with that of your home country.  We know there's a lot to get your head around, so we've outlined some basic differences and support services to help you. 

If you need help you can book an appointment with an International Student Advisor to discuss your options. 


  • Improve your English

    There are many opportunities to improve your English language skills, both on and off campus. You should first consider if you would like to improve your academic or your conversational English-language skills.  Some suggestions for formal and informal methods include:

  • Improve your academic skills

    University in Australia will provide a different learning context compared to your home country and may require you to take a new approach to assessment tasks.  

    We conduct a multitude of learning workshops which can help you to adjust to this unfamiliar academic culture and understand what is expected of you here to succeed.

    Find learning workshops

    Understand Australia's academic culture

    Independent learning and critical thinking are key to succeeding at university. Academic learning at university is about taking responsibility for yourself, without anyone to hold your hand.

    Independent learning means that you are responsible for your own learning – everything from keeping up-to-date with assigned readings, to knowing when exams or assessments are due. You need to understand that lectures won't be chasing you to do your homework. They will impart their knowledge and then it's up to you to be responsible for yourself. You’re also expected to do wider reading, seeking out material outside of your reading lists and textbooks that will give you more information and help you develop a wider understanding of your topic.

    Critical thinking is a major part of your university learning experience. When you’ve gathered the information from your textbooks, journal articles and other sources, you’re expected to critically analyse it. You should develop your own opinion about the topic, rather than just repeating what you’ve read. Don’t worry too much though. During each of your courses, your lecturer will give you the knowledge framework to develop your own informed point of view.

  • Changing your study

    As an international student, you are required to complete your degree within your COE/Visa timeframe.  However, there are many reasons students may consider dropping courses, withdrawing from their program or taking a leave of absence and interrupting their studies. It can be confusing to make this decision and difficult to understand what options you have. 

    It is important to consider your reasons, options available and the implications of making this decision. International students need to consider how any changes will affect their visa and require Faculty approval first.  Please book an appointment with an International Student Advisor to discuss these considerations.

    For the purposes of withdrawing, there are four important dates to be aware of:

    • Census Date 
    • Last date to withdraw without academic penalty
    • First day of the examination period
    • Finalisation of results

    These dates change every semester, check UQ's academic calendar to find this semester's important dates.  

    You can go to my.UQ to find more helpful information about managing your program.  

  • Grievance with the university

    If you disagree with a decision made by the University, or if you have a complaint to make, you can consider the grievance resolution process.

    An International Student Advisor can help you understand the University policies and procedures, and provide initial information about grievance resolution procedures.

    In the case that you require specific advice or assistance to write a letter or appeal, you should go to Student Help on Campus (SHOC) for more specialist advice. SHOC's website has helpful resources on a range of topics including:

    • Grievance and complaints resolution
    • Show cause
    • Re-mark or assessment issues
    • How to appeal a university decision
    • Late withdrawal applications

Other helpful resources