Prove your humanity

According to the 2024 Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THEWUR), Curtin University has ranked among the top 250 universities around the world, sitting 12th place among all the universities across Australia.

Curtin ranked high in several categories including the International Outlook category, where Curtin placed second nationally and 53rd internationally. So what exactly does this mean?

According to the Times Higher Education, the International Outlook category is measured by three indicators: proportion of international students, proportion of international staff and international collaboration.

It is no question Curtin has a large population of international students and faculty, but how exactly does this group cope being so far away from home?

Curtin physiotherapy student Shaashiraj Selvanyagam shares how daunting the first leap into a new country is as an international student.

“It was an interesting move from Singapore as I had some challenges when I first came to Perth, I didn’t know anyone here and I faced some challenges in the first few days,” he says.

“Homesickness is still something I feel now but I guess something that helped was finding a group of friends who helped make Perth feel like home.”

According to Australian Education International, in addition to Australia’s rising cost of living and housing crisis, international students are more at risk of experiencing anxiety and other mental illnesses compared to local students due to social and cultural isolation in a new country, high expectations and performance pressures, language barriers and adjusting to a new academic system.

2024 International Student Committee (ISC) President and international student Kim Pinto says her position at the Curtin Student Guild has allowed her to understand the struggles faced by other international students, and realise she is not alone.

International Student Committee President Kim Pinto. Photo: Curtin Guild.

“A lot of the times international students go to countries where they don’t have any family or friends in, and it is quite challenging, I believe that’s why I joined the ISC two years ago because I found a sense of community in the committee,” she says.

“There were moments that I thought ‘yes I miss my family and I want to go back home’, but at the same time I have the sense of adulthood and I want to make a name for myself, I am sure a lot of international students go through that too, especially when we are trying to find our sense of self in the world.”

Curtin Student Guild International Student Committee stall on O-day. Photo: Supplied.

Kim also encourages international students to reach out for help and connect with like-minded individuals.

“I think people who do feel lonely at Curtin, or any other universities should get involved in clubs and committees because you meet some of the best personalities in leadership.”

The Curtin Singapore Society is one of many clubs on Curtin’s Bentley campus that aims to create a safe and supportive community for international students.

President of the Curtin Singapore Society Haniff says it is important to have a community during one’s time at university and advises international students to step out of their comfort zone.

“I spent my first two years just going to university, going back home, studying, then playing games. After a while, you definitely have that sense of loneliness,” he says.

“I highly recommend people to get out of their comfort zone once they have that familiarity, get out of your comfort zone and explore other cultures, especially life here in Perth.”