To study abroad in Australia can have many benefits. For example, it is a great way to practice and improve your English as well as gain access to the local job market. It can also be a solution for extending your stay in Australia. Although it does depend on the studies you choose, the student visa can allow you to stay in Australia for several years. However, this requires a lot of organisation. Before you can jump on the plane, there are a few details you must consider and prepare for. Once the student visa is obtained, there are still some tasks you have to complete before your adventure can begin. To study abroad in Australia is for many a dream.
It’s important to get these boring tasks out the way before you can study abroad in Australia. If you’re preparing to go abroad for several months (or even years) it is essential you don’t ignore these administrative details. Firstly, before leaving, it is important to check the expiry date of your passport. This may seem obvious, but it is always safer to ensure that it will not expire during your stay in Australia. If this is the case, simply apply online to renew it. The sooner you can do this, the better as new passports can take a few weeks to arrive.
Secondly, go to the bank. Inform your bank you are going abroad and ask which benefits your current credit card gives you if using it abroad. You may need to change some features to ensure it is valid abroad and that you will have little or no charge when you use it in Australia. It may also be helpful to ask for an increase to your withdrawal limit as you may have some big purchases to make such as flights, deposits, insurance etc.) so you won’t want the card to get blocked. Also, if you are keeping your current card, make sure it is valid for the duration of your stay and won’t expire while you’re away.
Then, before leaving the country, also organise cancelling or suspending all of your subscriptions or contracts. For example, the gym, internet, phone contract, insurances etc. You will not be requiring these for the foreseeable future.
Also, if you plan to drive in Australia, consider applying for an international license. This is actually a translation of your license into several languages. If your license is already in English (you obtained it in the UK for example) then you will not be required to do this. Like a new passport, an international license can take a long time to arrive, so organise this well in advance.
Approaches to health
In Australia, health care is expensive, so while you are still at home, it may be wise to book medical check-ups with your doctor and dentist as well as check your vaccines are up to date if necessary. This will ensure your medical history is as up to date as possible and will avoid any unexpected fees when you arrive booking appointments or treatments in Australia.
Although, it is still essential you subscribe to health insurance. When you sign up for a student visa, it is mandatory to also sign up for student insurance in Australia, which will cover some (but not all) health costs. It can also be beneficial to have a second health insurance for these additional costs which won’t be covered with the student insurance. Many universities already offer insurance in their tuition fee included.
In doing so, it means any particular treatment, prescriptions or medications will be covered for the duration of your trip. This can also be redeemed against basic drugs used in everyday life. Do not forget to disclose any medication in your luggage as it may prevent you from entering at customs.
Prepare your arrival
The procedures for settling in Australia, such as finding a home or opening a bank account are relatively straight forward. The majority of these tasks can only be done once you arrive; however, there are still some things you can do beforehand, such as organising your accommodation.
One of the most popular solutions for affordable accommodation is to flatshare. Rent can prove very expensive, especially in large cities such as Sydney or Melbourne. Flat sharing is a good way to reduce this cost, but also to meet new people. It is very common in Australia for students or travellers on a Working Holiday Visa, to share an apartment so you will easily find lots of ads on specialised facebook groups or websites to assist your search.
Another form of housing is to live with the property owner instead of renting from a landlord. The easiest and most common way to do this is to become an Au Pair. This means that you will be housed and fed at home, in exchange for a few hours childcare and some light housework. This is a great way to avoid spending too much money as your food and rent is paid for, while many families also give pocket money for your time allowing you to save. But remember you are mainly in Australia to study.
When you do decide where you want to be based, consider your arrival. Is it far from the airport? Can you get there on public transport? Considering these questions before you arrive will save so much stress on arrival, especially if your flight is arriving late at night or very early in the morning.
Regarding other steps, such as opening a bank account, you will not be able to do this until you arrive in Australia. It is a very simple process, however, and will not take you long to complete – you just have to go to the bank with your passport.
The final preparations
When all these tasks are complete, and your departure is only a few days away, you can finally start thinking about the final preparations, including packing. It may seem an overwhelming task to pack your life into a backpack, but these tips may help you.
Packing can, in fact, be very therapeutic as you sort through the belongings you no longer need from the ones you cannot live without. It is an ideal time to have a clear out, so start your sorting a few weeks beforehand, that way you’ll prove which clothes you do actually wear and which ones can be left behind. Any clothes you no longer wear, donate them to a charity shop or friends and family. Think carefully about the things you really need to study abroad in Australia.
It is so important when packing for Australia to only bring the necessary items. Take clothes you will actually wear while considering the different opportunities you may have, for example, sports or hikes, nights out, beachwear etc. Be careful not to take too many clothes of the same kind – no one wants to have ten bikinis and nothing else in their backpack!
Also, think about the climate of the region you are going to in Australia. For example, if you are going to study in Cairns, the weather is generally warm all year round, so Summer clothes are perfect. On the other hand, if you are going to Melbourne, the Winters can be cool, so it may be useful to bring some sweaters and a waterproof coat, for example.
Regardless of what you pack (or forget to pack!), you will always be able to purchase new clothes in Australia.
However, it is not just clothing; you will need to pack. You will also need space for your electronic devices such as your laptop which is useful for your studies as is a hard drive and not forgetting your chargers! Also, consider taking a camera and an electronic adapter. Other items include any medicines you need, your documents such as passport and license, cash to be exchanged (or currency card) as well as photocopies of any important tickets or documents in case they are lost or damaged.
Now your to-do list is complete and your backpack packed there is just one last thing to do – party! Spend your last few days at home with your favourite home-cooked foods, friends, and family before saying goodbye as your study abroad adventure in Australia begins!