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Cherry Katoch

Cherry is a full-time Master student at Deakin University, pursuing her degree in Professional Writing.

Top tips for adjusting to your new life in Australia

The prospect of arriving in a new country definitely raises many questions and doubts in the mind of international students, and a little preparation can go a long way.

When I was about to land in Australia to pursue my full-time Masters degree at  Deakin University, I had a plethora of doubts in my mind.

I had questions like how will I find accommodation? How do I find out all the traffic rules? How will I adjust to the Australian culture? How do I commute on public transport? And much more.

And, I know you will also be having a few doubts in common with me as I have sailed in the same boat as you will be sailing in.

Don’t worry! Here, I am listing a few tips that will help you quickly adjust to life as an international student in Australia. Let’s begin!

First Things First: Buy an Australian Sim Card

When you first arrive, it’s essential to have a good mobile phone connection with mobile internet packages as this will help you connect with your family overseas and the people you will meet in Australia.

When you land at any airport within Australia, you will find telecom shops selling sim cards with some offering special student discounts.

The major mobile phone providers Telstra, Optus, Amaysim, Vodafone, Lyca all offer good data and calling plans.

These companies also give some good student discounts. So, have your enrolment I.D. or your university/ call letter handy.

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Learn to use local public transport apps

Public transport is an essential to life as an international student, and it’s very important to learn how to navigate public transport in Australia.

Each state has its own public transport network, so it’s important to find out which public transport app you will need to download and use.

Victoria uses the PTV app, New South Wales mainly uses the Opal Travel app and Queensland mainly uses MyTransLink. If you’re unsure, your university can advise you on which app to download.

The app will allow you to plan how to get around the city. You can see the schedule of buses, trams and trains to get to your desired destinations, and will be crucial in planning your travel ahead on time.

Along with learning how to use the app, you’ll also have to get in the habit of taking your travel card whenever you will be boarding a bus, tram, ferry or train to travel.

You can purchase your travel card from any major train station, any 7/11 convenience store and from some shops. Once you have it, you’ll have to keep topping it up with money so that you can tap on while getting on and getting off a train or bus.

Along with getting accustomed to the public transport app, it’s equally important to learn how to use Google Maps to get to your destination, especially if you are walking or driving to your destination.

Join orientation programs arranged by your university

Every university or college arranges an orientation week to make welcome international students and help them get familiar with some basic yet essential things needed to survive in Australia.

So, when you arrive in Australia it’s really important to get in touch with your university to make sure you are aware and can take part in all the welcome and orientation programs they have to offer.

Don’t miss out on these programs as these play a crucial role in helping international students know about their rights and duties to live in Australia. You’ll also get to meet fellow international students to start making friends and connections in your university.

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Open your bank account

To adjust to Australia, another essential thing to do is to open a bank account with one of the banks of Australia.

There are many banks you can use, and many will offer special rates for students. The most popular bank in Australia is Commonwealth Bank, you can start setting one up through IDP.

This will help you as many payment methods such as accommodation are made using digital bank transfer and online payments in Australia.

Also, once you start working,  you will be paid into your Australian bank account only.

Get your TFN Number 

To work as per your student rights, you will need a Tax File Number (TFN) Number to supply to your employer.

So, without a further delay, I recommend organising your TFN number through the Australian Government ATO website so you’ll be able to start looking at part-time and casual jobs while you study.

If you’re planning on working as a freelancer (called sole trader in Australia), you can also apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) free of cost on the government website.

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Explore your city to the Maximum

Australia is a beautiful country, and adjusting to the country is not at all difficult. You just need to take the time to explore the country.

The best way of adjusting to the country is to explore your local area as much as possible. This will give you an idea of your surroundings and help you with adjusting to the area you are living and studying in.

Many universities will offer various discounted tours and trips to help international students explore the local area as well as some popular tourist destination spot. I recommend taking advantage of these services.

Being an international student myself, I can understand the challenges you’ll be having while trying to adjust to Australia. But, Australia is a magnificent country and I’m confident, like me, you will fall in love with the country very soon.

Did you find this article helpful?

You can explore more stories by international students in our blog.

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