‘Studying in Australia’, written by former international student Shivi Bhalla, describes itself as a self-help book for international students, providing strategies to get the most out of their studies.
“This book is all about.. changing your perception and how you can improve yourself in such a way that [achieving your goals] won’t be a problem, even though the external circumstances are tough,” he said.
“Personal development is a very Western concept”
“Some of the key things that matter are networking and communication skills, so this book talks about nine strategies as to what you can do to make sure your life here as an international student is smooth.”
Bhalla told The PIE News the book was aimed at both current and prospective students and that the inspiration came after his own experiences in Australia when he befriended a professional self-help speaker. He said he wanted to adapt self-help principles to different cultural contexts.
“Personal development is a very Western concept and for a lot of students who are coming from countries like India, or Nepal, or other Asian countries it’s a very new concept,” he said.
“I think these students need to realise that by changing their mindset and by changing the way they think and the way they act, their whole life literally can be changed while they’re in Australia.”
Among the tips provided, Bhalla said international students needed to work on the perceptions they are sending to others.
“A lot of times when students go out, and they’re looking for a job, they go to the employer, and they ask them ‘do you have a job?’ The reality is nobody really cares about if you have a job or not,” he said.
“If you go and approach a business owner or entrepreneur saying, ‘I have this skill, and I believe that through this skill I can add value to your business’… then what happens is the business owner is interested.”