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What to Know Before Moving to Australia

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If you’re considering coming to Australia, to either travel or attend one of Australia’s top universities, you’ve probably got several unanswered questions racing through your mind. Before you get too carried away looking at airfares and planning your first beachside BBQ, make sure you’ve figured out the following basic things you need to know before moving to Australia.

Where will you live?


First things first, have you organized your accommodation? There are many things to consider before you finalize your housing arrangements. As well as considering your budget, think about how close you want to be to campus (if applicable), the kind of lifestyle you’re after – for instance, shared housing or not – and availability of public transport.

If you’re moving to Australia to study, you can start by looking at accommodation offered by universities. They aren’t as cheap as some other options, but you’ll probably be offered furnished places that are within walking distance of your campus.

You can also look for somewhere to live on independent websites like Gumtree, Flatmates or post adverts on social media. However, you have to be very careful and avoid being tricked by a scam. Don’t transfer any money without making concrete arrangements and signing a contact. If you’re overseas and your potential landlord wants you to transfer the money first so everything can be readied for you when you move in, there might be something fishy unless a trusted third party (a credible website or any real estate agent) is involved.

What will you do for money?

Part-time jobs

Life of an international student is fun and adventurous, partially because you’re living on a tight budget. Australia is generally an expensive country to live in and most students aren’t allowed to work full-time while they study, so you have to plan your lifestyle according to your budget.

If you manage to secure a part-time job, you could earn around AU$600-1000 per fortnight, which should be enough to cover your rent and food. If you’re really after some more cash, you can work full-time during your semester breaks and save up for rainy days.

Make sure you’re aware of your rights and wage entitlements. Fair Work could be a good place to collect some information. Also remember that while it’s important to think about sources of income, don’t let paid work take priority over your studies.

How will you get around the country?

Australia road

It’s a good idea to own a cheap car while you’re in Australia, but don’t make getting one a priority. In many instances you can make do by using public transport.

If you do decide to buy a car make sure you’re aware of traffic rules and some other legal requirements. Most international students can use driving licenses issued by relevant authorities in their home country, but it’s still a good idea to check with Australian authorities too.

It’s also possible for laws to differ between the different states and territories in Australia, so check online to understand what is expected of you when you’re driving on Australian roads.

Who will be your support network?

Australia might be a long way from home, but there’ll always be support available. If you’re facing any issues and you’re here to study, your course coordinator or lecturers will be a good first point of contact. Whether your problem is to do with money, stress or an upcoming deadline, don’t be afraid to come forward and discuss your feelings. Depending on the issue, government agencies also offer readily available support which you might be able to make use of.

Of course, there are plenty of other things to consider before you board that plane but answering these basic questions will go some way to preparing you for your Australia adventure. Got a question which isn’t answered here? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written by Zain Nabi
Hailing from Pakistan, Zain finished a Masters of Journalism and International Relations at Monash University in Australia. He is working as a journalist and media trainer in Melbourne along with secretly harboring an ambition to become a filmmaker.

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