Coping with social and cultural stress of studying overseas

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COMMENT | I attended a mental health forum in Melbourne recently. What struck me was the high visibility of overseas students in the city, each slinging a shoulder bag, ears plugged to their mobile phones.

Overseas students today represent the bulk of “ethnics” tribalising in Australian university cities, grazing in the food courts, commuting in the trams and trains.

The influx has reportedly strained the city’s infrastructure, increased demands for affordable rental accommodation and better mental health care services for overseas students who pay an average of AUD30,000 (about RM85,300) per year in fees for a three-year engineering or business degree.

While the course fees are a self-transformative investment of some sort, vulnerable students do fall through the cracks from relentlessly trying to catch up with their studies, while working part-time to stay above water in Australia’s costliest cities, Sydney and Melbourne...

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