Life as an international student is exciting. To ensure you get the most out of your study experience, it's important to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Work-life balance refers to the way a person manages their time and energy so they can meet the demands of their job or studies while still enjoying life and prioritising their wellbeing.
Seeking tips for maintaining a healthy work-life balance as an international student? Read on for tips on maintaining a healthy work-life balance as an international student.
Leverage technology to manage your time
Time management relates to how you organise, prioritise and use your time each day. Practising good time management is an excellent strategy for keeping your work-life balance in check.
Leveraging technology is an excellent way to effectively manage your time. To minimise distractions, set up screen time/app usage limitations on your phone.
To do this on an iPhone, simply go to Settings > Screen Time. Click App Limits and then Add Limit. You can then select the apps you’d like to set limits for and decide what the limits will be. Once you’ve finished setting the parametres of the limits, click Add Limit to put it in place.
You can set time limits on an Android phone by going to Settings > Digital wellbeing & parental controls. Click App Timers and, from the list that appears, select the apps you’d like to set limits for and click Set timer. Enter the time limit you’d like for that app and click Done to put it in place.
Digital productivity tools like Notion can also be invaluable in managing your time. On the platform, you can take notes, create to-do lists, track tasks and more, allowing you to organise and monitor all your responsibilities in one place.
Find study strategies that work for you
When it comes to achieving a healthy work-life balance, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It's important to figure out what works best for you and create a personalised strategy.
One way to do this is to plan your days around when you're most productive. If you're a morning person, schedule your study sessions earlier in the day. On the other hand, night owls may feel more focused in the evening.
You’ll also want to consider where and how you like to work. If you find it easier to focus when you're with others, consider studying with your friends or classmates. There are several study spots around Melbourne that are suitable for groups, including cafes and study body facilities.
The Study Melbourne Hub is an ideal example. Formerly known as the Study Melbourne Student Centre, the Hub is a welcoming, inclusive study space open to all tertiary students in Victoria. Nestled on Hardware Lane in the Melbourne CBD, the Hub is accessible from all corners of the city. With free Wi-Fi, refreshments (such as tea and coffee), and access to all work spaces on offer, the Hub is a convenient and collaborative study environment. You can visit the Hub Monday through Friday 9am-5pm.
If you prefer to work in a quiet environment, a library might be a more suitable study location. While you may opt to stay at your education provider’s library, Melbourne also houses a range of outstanding public libraries that are free to access. The State Library Victoria is one of the most notable, with bright and expansive study spaces. The State Library offers free Wi-Fi and is open daily from 10am-6pm.
If you're not sure what your ideal balance looks like, try different things to find out what suits you best.
Look after your health
Your health is your most valuable asset, making it a top priority.
With that in mind, allocate some downtime in your week to rest and recharge. Whether it’s reading a book, doing arts and crafts, or enjoying a night on Netflix, how you spend this time is up to you.
When you're studying, it’s also important to take regular breaks. Taking study breaks doesn't just allow your brain to rest, but can also increase your productivity. Try to do something relaxing and refreshing on your breaks, such as taking a walk, meditating or cleaning your study space.
Finally, it's essential to look after your physical health. Adding some exercise to your day can help reduce stress and improve your overall wellbeing.
Joining a local gym is an easy way to make exercise a part of your routine. Some popular gyms in Melbourne include Fitness First, Goodlife Health Clubs and Anytime Fitness, all of which have locations across the city and typically offer free trials.
Melbourne is also home to a variety of outdoor running trails - both pavement and purpose-built - that are suitable to enjoy year-round. Some of the most popular tracks to check out include The Tan, the St Kilda Foreshore Trail and the Yarra Trails.
Learn when to say no
Even when your days are packed, it can be tempting to accept an extra shift at work or an invitation to catch up with friends. However, knowing when to say no is an important part of maintaining your work-life balance.
Consider your schedule and priorities, and think about how certain decisions will impact your future self. If accepting more commitments could put you at risk of falling behind or missing a deadline, it's best to politely decline.
Luckily, saying no doesn't have to be uncomfortable. Start by thanking the person for their offer, then explain that you aren't able to accept this time due to your other engagements.
If you feel overwhelmed, reach out and ask for help. Your education provider is a great place to start as it will likely have an array of support services and resources, such as workshops, counselling sessions and more.
Study Melbourne also has fantastic wellbeing and mental health resources for international students. Here you’ll find everything you need to study well, including insights on staying active, eating well and making friends. You can also get help in person from the friendly team at the Study Melbourne Hub.