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Low Aussie dollar makes study cheaper for international students

As the Australian dollar hits a seven-year low, international students electing to study “down under” are seeing the benefits of the decline through a reduction in study fees and living expenses.

A low Australian dollar allows students in Australia from overseas to focus more on their exams and assignments rather than having to worry about bills and tuition fees.

It’s not a big difference week to week, but every dollar counts, and over the course of the year the savings are noticeable.

It also means that even if tuition fees go up year to year, the impact to international students will be minimal due to the offset of this cost against the exchange rate.

With international students usually paying double the education fees of local students, as well as having to foot relocation expenses, we thought we would put this theory to the test by converting and comparing some common expenses for international students living in Australia:

Statistics courtesy of Study in Australia and University of Queensland.

Tips to save

Just in case sitting back and waiting for the dollar to fall isn’t quite proactive enough for you, we have compiled our top five tips for how you can reduce the cost of living and studying in Australia.

  • Shop at the right places. In Australia, shopping at corner stores, petrol stations and convenience stores is far more expensive than supermarkets. Our two biggest supermarkets are Coles and Woolworths, but we also have budget grocery stores like Aldi, Bi-Lo and Costco. Supermarkets also offer generic or “home brand” items that are cheaper and of a similar quality to branded items. There are also online sites like Scoopon, Cudo, Ourdeal and Jumponit that offer really cheap deals for all types of products and services that you can pre-purchase for a limited time. We also have discount chemists like Priceline and Chemist Warehouse.
  • Buy travel cards. Most cities offer cards to purchase so that you can pre-pay for public transport at a cheaper rate. Each state’s card has a different name, some of which are Opal (New South Wales), Myki (Victoria) and Go Card (Queensland).
  • Take advantage of the free activities at your institution. Most campuses have free sporting activities and social events to keep you fit and entertained.
  • Consider shared accommodation. With shared accommodation, you can usually get better value for money in terms of location and the quality of the property, not to mention the added benefit of sharing bills such as electricity and gas. Some websites where you can search for shared accommodation include Flatmates.com.au, Domain and Realestate.com.au. Shared accommodation is also a great way to make new friends in a new country.
  • Get advice. If you would like to find out more about the cost of living and studying in Australia, speak with a counsellor in your nearest student services office (it's free!). IDP's education counsellors are always here for you to give advice. If you experience financial trouble while in Australia, you can also talk to your institution’s international student support staff for assistance.
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