Student life in Australia will be invigorating, to say the least. If you are planning to study in big cities like Melbourne, Sydney or Adelaide, life can be thrilling (and expensive too!)
Once you reach Australia, you would need a lot of information and help about day-to-day life. Here is some helpful information to make your life easier.
Banking services in Australia are extremely competitive with over 20 local banking groups plus numerous international ones.
Normal working hours are 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Friday. In some states selected banking facilities are also available on Saturday morning.
Australia offers a great transport network throughout the country. There are very efficient railway, bus and plane links which are cost effective and useful for backpackers and students, as well as roads that go on for miles with vast sections of open and scenic countryside stretching out before you.
Within the cities you will find excellent local bus, train and ferry networks, with user-friendly timetables to find the right number bus or what time your train departs and arrives depending on where you want to go. You can buy cheap weekly or monthly passes - please note that according to government regulations, international students are not eligible to apply for student travel concession cards.
It is easy to get around and there are many offices where you can ask for timetables and how to get to different parts of the city. Australian people are very friendly and will usually help you if you look lost and don't know where you are going. Phone 131500 for timetable information or online information here.
Taxis are frequent in cities - just look for a taxi that has its light on and flag it down by waving your hand. Taxis can be expensive however, so it is often worth while to ask the taxi driver approximately how much your journey will cost.
Some taxi companies include the following:
For many one of the priorities on arrival in Australia is finding a job, either part-time or full-time, depending on the type of visa you hold. For some of you this might be casual work, such as working in a café or restaurant as a waiter/waitress, for others you may have skills in an office and want to utilize these in Australia.
There are many ways of finding work when you come to Australia. Have a look at the various methods described below.
|New South Wales||Sydney Morning Herald
The Daily Telegraph
|Australian Capital Territory||The Canberra Times|
|Queensland||The Courier Mail|
|Northern Territory||The Northern Territory News|
|South Australia||The Adelaide Advertiser|
|Australia wide||The Australian|
There are also the local papers and magazines to look at (Eg. in Sydney, "Nine to Five", "Torch" for Banks town and Canterbury area, "Inner West Times" for Glebe, Newtown etc, "North Shore Times" for Crows Nest, Lind field etc.,
This can be a great way to find work, especially if you come to Australia with previous office experience. You will need a resume and smart clothes for the interview.
You can find a job yourself! Particularly if you are looking for work in the hospitality industry, sometimes the best way is the direct approach. Employers like to be able to see that you can sell yourself, and what better way to show this than to walk in directly off the street and ask for work. You can do this even if the restaurant is not advertising for positions - sometimes you will get lucky and the manager might be about to advertise, but if he/she likes the look of you they might even hire you immediately. Otherwise they might take your details and consider you when the next vacancy comes up. Don't be afraid to approach managers - they often prefer to hire casual staff in this fashion because it saves them money and time advertising for the position.
Australia is a wonderful place to live. The standard of accommodation is high because the law requires landlords and real estate agents to ensure that residences are safe and secure, and that tenants have proper access to water and electricity. The majority of Australians live 50km from the coast, many in houses, flats and units that have a garden, as well as parks and shopping centers close by, and near to local transportation.There are many different types of accommodation available for you if you are on a budget, the main ones being:
A Home stay is where you the international student would stay with a local family during the course of your studies. This is an excellent opportunity to improve your English skills if required, get to see life in an Australian family and learn more about the Australian way of life and culture. You will be welcomed as a member of the family and do things the whole family does, often including your own washing and cleaning! You can choose to have all your meals with the family or opt to buy your own food, in which the price would be different.The average price per week varies depending on which part of Australia you are in, but in Sydney for example the price might be as follows:
Most backpackers choose to stay in a backpacker hostel, usually located in the center of cities all over Australia. Usually you will stay in a 6 to 10 bed dormitory, sharing with both males and females. Bathroom and kitchen facilities are also shared. The prices tend to range from $22 per night in the large cities and &18 to $20 on both the East and West Coast. The standard of backpackers varies from place to place (even street to street!) but nowadays they are becoming pretty sophisticated and cater for all backpackers' needs, with internet cafes, travel and job centers, and a high standard of cleanliness and security throughout. Some of the larger hostels offer special deals to travelers and backpackers who intend to stay longer in a city whilst looking for work and ultimately share accommodation, such as 5 nights for the price of 4 and so on.
Probably the most popular option for backpackers and students alike, if you are staying in one place for some time, is to rent a house or room in a house. This offers you freedom to come and go as you please, cook your own meals and live as you want to without having to abide by anybody else's rules.
One of the best ways to save money is to rent a house with other friends who are also students or backpackers, which is called a share house. You can then share the bills and cleaning costs with your house-mates and if necessary put money together to buy furniture.
There are many ways of finding share accommodation, from national newspapers to notice boards in backpackers and international colleges around Australia. You can rent houses, apartments or townhouses and rooms from a real estate agent or private owners, many of whom advertise in the national newspapers.
University halls of residence are run by the universities and are only available for full-time students. They are only a short distance from the university (often only a short walk), they offer student services and give you a chance to live with other students, many of whom are also from other countries. You do have your own bedroom, but often you have to share bathroom facilities, recreation areas, laundry and kitchen. Halls of residence are either full board - three meals a day in shared dining area, or room only - shared kitchen facilities for you to cook your own meals .You must formally apply in advance to the institution, and you will usually be asked to pay a fee in advance. Halls of residence will often require an interview as part of the application process. On-campus accommodation is very popular and you will need to apply well in advance to ensure that you do not miss out.
University Apartments are usually for postgraduate students, visiting faculty and married students only. They are usually self-contained and fully furnished.
A single student will need approximately $9,000 - $11,000 per year to live comfortably in Sydney. This includes rent, food, local transport, telephone, gas/electricity, school stationary, clothing and entertainment. A weekly grocery bill is about $55 per person per week. These costs do not include tuition fees for your place of study and airfare. Remember to check the exchange rate as variations in this may affect your budget.
At a minimum student will need to budget for tuition fees, living expenses, return airfares, and Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).
Life doesn't have to be boring just because you are on a budget! Australia is a great place to live on a budget because of the wonderful scenery and beaches it offers, all free of charge! Australia affords a lower cost of living than many other Western countries whilst maintaining a great quality of life.
There are many things to do that don't cost too much money, for example:
Check out your local fruit and vegetables market which also sells meat and fish and dairy produce. You can get fabulous deals, especially if you go close to the end of the day (usually between 5 and 6pm) when market sellers are trying to get rid of their fresh produce at cheap prices. Places like Paddy's markets in Sydney, located in the Chinatown district, are invaluable for students and backpackers alike. These markets are normally open on weekends and Thursdays and Friday. Or check out the classified ads in your local newspaper to find the market closest to you.
These are shops where you can buy second-hand clothes, furniture, books and many other useful "bits and pieces". Examples are St Vincent de Pauls and other charity shops - people donate the items you buy there and the money goes to charity, so it's all for a good cause. Useful tip - go to the op shops in affluent areas. One of the popular second hand stores is The Salvation Army in Australia Central gateway for Salvation Army sites in the various states of Australia.
Link: Salvation army
Tuesday night is cheap night at the cinema. This is the best night to go and check out the latest movie, as tickets are almost half price! Get there early to ensure the best seats!
Many restaurants in cities have special meal deals around lunch-time and bars have happy hour, usually between 5pm and 6pm or 6pm and 7pm which means you can buy cheap drinks. Check out your local area and you will soon find these great bargains!
Check out the free magazines that are distributed throughout cities --you will be handed these in subways and on the street, and find them in cafes, shops and bars everywhere you go. These are a great source of information about what's going on in the city, casual jobs, where to go at night and cheap places to eat and drink, and much more. Finally don't forget to check out the beautiful scenery and beaches that Australia has to offer, all for free!
Visit your local Co Op bookstore for second-hand books
Use your student card if you have one, for cheap entry into museums, cinemas, theatres as well as on-campus services.