The first year at university is a make-or-break experience especially for international students who need to adjust quickly and meet different challenges head on. However, not all students cope well and unfortunately, some may struggle, keep to themselves and underperform. For most, when the first year goes well, it paves the way for a successful university experience and a brighter future.
The first year at university is the most critical. Not all transitions to university are smooth. It is very common for new university students to stumble and struggle during the first 12 months. It takes time and experience to overcome challenges and there is a need for students to prepare for, and carefully manage their first year of university. Here are a few pointers to help you get a head start.


University is hard work because learning is more self-motivated and independent. You need to monitor your own progress. At times you may feel out of place and unsure of what to do or where to start.

Please be conscious that you are not alone. Every student adapts differently. All you need to do is to fine tune your strategy and have a positive mindset that what you will get through this difficult phase.


A problem is like a fire. If it gets out of hand, it will consume you. A simple yet important strategy to minimize those challenges is to seek help early and often.
Settle down fast. Avoid living alone. Living with friends helps to calm those jitters and butterflies. Find a friend who you can trust, you are comfortable working with and who is willing to lend a helping hand. Join different study groups or organize one yourself.
Students are also encouraged to make full use of university facilities and programs. Attending the orientation week activities is a great way to meet other students and get your bearings. Sign-up for study skills workshops to help improve your note-taking, academic reading, writing or utilization of online resources.
Talk to seniors who will be able to share their own experiences or make an appointment with an academic counselor or advisor when you are struggling academically. These programs are setup with you in mind. Alternatively, contact the International Student Adviser at your International Office or the Education Attaché Unit in Canberra. We are here to help you.


Making new friends while strengthening existing the way to go at university. Friends with similar interests tend to support and better understand one another. Students are encourage to join and actively contribute to Brunei student associations.

New students are often greeted by seniors at the airport. They also organize meet e met seniors at the airport. They also organize meet and greet sessions and help newbies find suitable accommodations.


Students who succeed in the university are highly organised, plan ahead and manage their time carefully. They are motivated, persistent and resilient. University is not only about working hard for the grades but also working smart, dividing time between academic endeavor and personal or social commitments.

Remember things start to become busier around week six of each semester –the first assignments are due during this time. Keeping the focus on why you are sent here is crucial but also spend the time to immerse yourself in the campus life. It is a balancing act that you can only perfect with time and experience.


Avoid part-time work totally during the teaching and learning weeks. If you need to work in order to gain work skills, then do it during the summer or winter holidays. Part-time work eats into your academic time and affects your ability to study effectively.

Prioritise to your university work, it pays better in the long run.


If a part-time job is not an option, then put the free-time to good use. Consider taking a module or two during the summer or winter break. This option helps to avoid you becoming overloaded during the normal semesters. It also means you have more time to focus on your studies.

Once students have settled in and come to terms physically and mentally with the differences in culture, people, social customs and life in their new environment, they will soon start to enjoy the change, and experience a new found energy.