Recent revelations about the difficulties experienced by some foreign students in Australia horrified educators and the education industry alike. Many students were in quite tough financial circumstances, working lethal hours, and living as well as they could, while trying to study. Students going to English school in particular had additional problems in that their English was of dubious value trying to make ends meet in Australia.
These situations are quite avoidable, and we’ve come up with a few ways of making your stay in Australia much more straightforward and less demanding. The basic fact is that a bit of forward planning can greatly simplify your stay in Australia, and help you breeze through your studies. You can actually arrange your stay to avoid any difficulties at all.
Australia- Basic issues for foreign students
There are a few things you need to know before you set foot in Australia:
Accommodation costs: These can be expensive, and represent a large slice of the working budget for foreign students. The Australian rental market is currently quite high, with low vacancies. Do not make any financial commitments in situations where you’re concerned about your ability to independently support yourself in Australia. Try to organize your accommodation so you can be sure you can cover your costs yourself without having to depend on others.
Using local contacts in Australia is an excellent way of cutting your accommodation costs. If you can arrange to stay in private accommodation with friends or relatives, you’ll save money and secure your budget. This also means you have a handy source of local knowledge for finding your way around, which can be invaluable.
Living expenses: Australia’s cost of living is reasonably good for food, clothing and entertainment, but costs like running a vehicle may not suit the budget, because on-road costs in Australian dollars can be quite high relative to other currencies. See how your budget feels about spending on these things before adding any extra costs of this type.
If you’re not sure of your budget’s tolerance for spending in general, stick to basics until you’re satisfied you can afford to spend extra money on luxuries.
Working in Australia: Depending where you come from, getting work is easy enough if you’re from a Commonwealth country, the US or Europe. Check with the Australian High Commission or Embassy regarding specific work visa requirements. Please note that Australian employers are obliged by law to verify your documents before hiring. Very important: Always make sure your documentation is current in Australia. The laws are quite strict, and the authorities are obliged to enforce them.
Wages: It’s best to take the time and make the effort to get work in secure types of employment like office jobs. You can go job hunting the minute you’ve got your papers, and you can also apply online, so you really do have a chance to have something decent lined up for you, at least job interviews, when you arrive or soon after. This is another area where local knowledge and contacts can be invaluable.
Watch your bottom line: Keep an eye on the financial issues at all times. You don’t need “surprises”; you need a secure base to study. Get that right, and your study in Australia will be a holiday.