An introvert’s guide to adapting to life and uni in Australia

Shaza Binte Amran

The thought of moving to a new country, making new friends and settling into a new environment might sound like an introvert’s nightmare, but for psychology student Shaza Amran, she didn’t let it get in her way – in fact, she embraced it.

“I knew it would be a bit difficult and scary at first – I’d have to do my own grocery shopping, adjust to a new transport system, and new people,” explains Shaza.

“But I liked the idea of going overseas to study, and getting outside of my comfort zone. I just wanted to experience something different, because I’d been studying in Singapore for my whole life.”  

After completing a Diploma in Psychology from Temasek Polytechnic, she applied to study a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) at ANU, where she received one year’s credit. Two years later, she’s now completing her honours in psychology.

“When I’d received my offer, I just kept thinking ‘wow, I’m going to Australia – I’ve never been to Australia!’ I was really excited – that was the only thing on my mind.

“I’m an introvert, and I moved into an apartment by myself, off-campus. But I soon realised that I couldn’t just stay by myself for an entire three years!

“Luckily there were two other Singaporean girls living in the apartment building too who were exchange students at ANU.

“They invited me to student events, like the Malaysian Students Association and the Singaporean Students Association, so I went and they introduced me to other people.”

The rest is history – Shaza has now been part of the subcommittee for the ANU Singaporean Students Association for two years, as well as joining the executive committee of the ANU Badminton Club.

“I don’t think I would have joined this many student clubs and done this many activities if I was still in Singapore. You’ll meet people from so many different backgrounds.

“Join sports, anything you want to try. There are quite a few sports that you can start at beginner’s level, you don’t need any experience.” 

With less homework than back in Singapore, there is plenty of time to immerse yourself in university life, says Shaza.   

“I like the fact that I’m only doing four modules per semester! At my Polytechnic I did six, and I’ve heard that at the universities in Singapore now they’re doing nine per semester! So, the workload is much easier here.

“The assessments - quizzes, assignments and exams - are really balanced out.

“I feel like the tutors at ANU know what they’re doing, and they’re really good at creating an interactive class. The lecturers and are really interested in their field and are very supportive.”

From one introvert to another, Shaza believes it’s important to try not be shy, and to go to student events.

“Even if you are alone, look out for someone else who’s also alone and start a conversation, or join a sub-committee.”