International students can face many challenges while studying abroad such as loneliness and homesickness which can lead to poor mental health.

However, international students have been found to underutilize mental health services due to stigma associated with counseling, lack of knowledge on available services and language barriers.

While universities do provide mental health services such as counselling, quite often services do feel that they don’t have the ability and resources to meet the needs and expectations of international students.

In Australia, no studies have looked at the experiences of international students, in particular South Asian students who have received support from the university counseling services. The research team is hoping to understand whether the counselling received by international students are appropriate and are meeting their needs. The findings of this study will help in guiding policy and standards to make sure that university counselling services will continue to provide quality care for a diverse student population.

The study is being organized by a research team from the School of Rehabilitation and Health Science at the University of Queensland. The research team consists of a PhD student and two supervisors, and the research is funded by the University of Queensland HDR student funding. The research team is independent of any university counseling services.

What will I need to do?

  • First, we will ask you to fill out a short form online to determine your eligibility to participate in the study.
  • If you are eligible and agree to participate in the study, you will be asked to fill out a short demographic questionnaire and participate in two semi structured individual interviews.
  • Both interviews will run for maximum one hour.
  • Both interviews will be conducted online via zoom.
  • In the first interview, we will ask you to share your experience of receiving support from the counselling services at your university. For example, we will ask you about your decision to seek counselling, whether counselling was helpful for you, your experience with working with a counsellor and your suggestion on improving counselling services for future students.
  • After the first interview, we will give you a summary of the interview transcript to make sure it is an accurate description of what you meant and if there is anything that needs to be added or changed.
  • After 1-2 months following the first interview you will be contacted by the research team for a follow-up interview. During the follow up interview we will ask questions to further develop understanding of your experience
  • Both interviews will be recorded and transcribed verbatim. The research team will also be taking field notes throughout the interview process. However, if you don’t feel comfortable being recorded, the interview will not be recorded. You can opt in or out of being recorded in the consent form.
  • You will be reimbursed for your time with a $20 gift voucher after completing both interviews.


  • International students from the following South Asian countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka
  • Have used the university counselling services within the past 2-3 years.

Participant benefits

Participants will receive a $20 gift voucher after completing both interviews.

Register your interest

 To register your interest, please email Shleshma:

This study has been approved by The University of Queensland Human Research Ethics Committee [Approval No.2022/HE001353].