Thinking of studying in Australia, or already confirmed your course here? Regardless of when you might land in the country, it’s never too early to start preparing for your arrival. From sorting your visa to packing your bags, there is a lot to consider. Read on and learn how you can prepare for your (eventual) study experience in Australia.
Improve your English
If you’re not confident about your English skills (whether it’s reading, writing, listening or speaking), well, now’s the time to freshen up. Improving your skills can be as simple as watching films and TV series in English, or reading English-language magazines and books. Or, you can download helpful apps like Duolingo and learn English on the go.
It’s also worth learning some Aussie slang ahead of your arrival. Understanding how to respond to “how ya goin’, mate?” and knowing that “cold one” is slang for a beer can help you feel more at home Down Under. Here’s a guide to some of the most popular slang that’ll help you speak like an Aussie in no time!
Embrace Australian history and culture
The beauty of technology is that it allows you to explore Australia virtually. Check out some Australian TV shows and films to get to know the landscape and culture, learn more about Australia’s unique animals, and explore the diverse range of arts and cultural offerings.
But, Australia is more than kangaroos, koalas and pristine beaches; it has a rich and diverse spectrum of First Nations cultures. The Aboriginal peoples were the first inhabitants of Australia, and with that comes a fascinating culture. Educating yourself on their languages and histories is incredibly important and rewarding.
There’s also an influential sporting culture in Australia, with Australian Football Rules (AFL) a much-loved sport, and knowledge of the game and teams will help you mingle with locals – especially if you’re planning to head to Adelaide or Melbourne!
Take advantage of online courses
Want to boost your skills before you arrive? FutureLearn is the (online) place to go! With a variety of programs and degrees, you can delve into a completely new course or get ahead in your chosen subject before you move to Australia. The sessions are carried out by educators from top universities and cultural institutions, and conducted through videos, articles, quizzes, and discussions. Otherwise, there are plenty of free online learning platforms and apps that will help you improve your existing skills or learn new ones. As most students in Australia have currently shifted to online study during COVID-19, getting familiar with online learning is a valuable experience.
Organise your banking
It’s wise to exchange some money before you arrive in Australia to cover your first few days. It also means you’ll have more time to figure out where your new local bank is and locate ATMs.
You might also want to set up a bank account in Australia before you arrive. This can easily be done online, but it’s worth researching various banks beforehand to find one that’s the best fit. Many banks offer special student accounts, and some are specifically designed for international students, so know your options in advance.
Pack your bags (correctly)
Packing for a holiday can be a headache, let alone packing up your life to move to a new country for the foreseeable future. Depending on which part of Australia you’re moving to, you might want to pack for all seasons. Bring lighter clothes for summer such as t-shirts, shorts and sandals, and warmer clothing for when the weather turns cold. Remember, you don’t need to pack your whole life into your suitcase. You can buy everything you will need in Australia, so only take the basics to begin.
If you want to get super organised with your packing, packing cubes will be your best friend. They are small containers with a zip that aid with the compression of your clothes, giving you more space. When it comes down to the essential items to pack, don’t overlook your necessary documents.
Arrange your essential documents
Paperwork can be tricky, so organising your documents ahead of time will ensure a stress-free arrival in Australia. Critical documents will include a valid passport (check for an expiry date of at least six months after you finish your studies) and possibly even some photocopies of your passport, just in case.
Book your airline tickets (give yourself at least two weeks ahead of orientation to get familiar with your new home) and sort your student visa documents. It’s a good idea to print your offer letter and Confirmation of Enrolment from your educational institution, too. Lastly, don’t forget a copy of your birth certificate and medical records.
There are a variety of accommodation options for international students in Australia. From homestays with local families to on-campus accommodation, you won’t be short of choice.
Do your research and understand the pros and cons of each accommodation option. If you like a social environment, student accommodation is a great choice where you live with like-minded students. If you’re more independent, then perhaps a private rental is more suited to you. And, if you’re quite nervous about your new move, then homestay is ideal for helping you settle in. Regardless of which accommodation option you go for, you’re bound to have a fun and rewarding experience studying in Australia!