As a Saudi Student from a background where English is taught in 7th grade and before that none of the student has idea how to read, write and communicate in English, it was pretty difficult to handle and understand English language and most importantly English culture.
While I got admission in the university in Australia, the first milestone to cross was to learn how to speak English language as it was commonly used. There was only one solution and I joined English Learning Institution before I left for Australia and continued the same practice while I reached my university campus.
2nd milestone which I had to face was the household activities to be done by myself. At home, all the Saudi families have maids which were as important as having bottle of water and I never did any task at my own while in AUSTRALIA, I had to do each and every task starting for cooking food till washing clothes ourselves. After discussing the same in the friends circle, we created groups of 2 to 3 students and shared the tasks which helped me to overcome the problems I was facing.
3rd milestone was to adjust with the co education environment where I had girls from all cultural backgrounds in the class and campus. Dealing with females was a big issue as I never had this exposure in schools in Saudi Arabia and here it was difficult to build the kind of confidence required to communicate with the other gender. I was lucky to have a female teacher who gave me extra time by teaching how to build the confidence in all circumstances.
I had a clear idea that if I am unable to bring good grades, the strict policy at campus will rusticate me and will send me back home. VISA issuance is again a big problem as once gone back, I will have to reapply for VISA. In this situation, one can only do proper time management and learn additional skills to improve.
Talking to other students is always very important. First, conversation with all fellows helps one to improve on the English communication skills. Through this, one normally gets to know problem they are facing and together we can handle the issues in hand. In my case, my Australian friend helped me build up my confidence to handle any situation and also helped me to improve on the English communication skills.
One thing which I really want to change is the educational system in Saudi Arabia. English language should be taught at the primary stage of education because this is the time when learning speed is higher and it is easier to understand. Otherwise all the students in their early stage of education should attend English Language Courses taught by experts in the field and this should be compulsory for all.
For me, if I had to do something differently, I would have opted for sharing home with some Australian guy with English background instead of my Saudi fellows. This would have helped me a lot in not only battling with English Language problem but would also have improved my confidence.