Moving into a new home is a big deal for anyone, whether it is your first time out of home or you have lived independently for many years. For international students, this task can seem a bit more of a challenge without the support of friends and family on top of a hectic student calendar. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do when you move into your new accommodation that will streamline the process, and help you build a happy home away from home.
BUY FURNITURE AND HOME SUPPLIES
A home is not a home without stuff. You’ll need somewhere to sleep, sit, eat, place your belongings. In some cases, your accommodation will come with the essentials, like a bed, desk and wardrobe, but you need to check this prior to arrival. If you are moving into a private rental, you need to go shopping! Luckily, most household and furniture suppliers offer home delivery, so all your new purchases can arrive the day you move in.
CHANGE YOUR ADDRESS
If you plan on receiving mail at your new accommodation, it’s time to change your address. Your Australian bank, university, mobile phone provider, or any other similar service will need to know your new address, as will any services related to your student visa. On a smaller scale, if you do a lot of online shopping, make sure your pre-filled data is updated to reflect your new address.
There are a few regular costs that come with a new home, including rent and various utility bills, such as water, electricity and internet. As a student settling into your new life, remembering different payment deadlines should be the least of your worries. Using an online bill payment system like BPAY makes it really easy to pay bills quickly and securely. You can even schedule payments* so you don’t have to stress about bill due dates.
FIND YOUR LOCAL SERVICES
Knowing where various services are situated in the area surrounding your new place will help keep you fed, healthy and safe. Important services to locate include your closest medical clinic or hospital (for emergencies), late-night pharmacy, supermarket and bank/ATM. You can even scope out the nearest gym, takeaway pizza place and cinema – all things that will come in handy during your time abroad.
MAKE YOUR NEW HOME YOURS
It’s important that you take the time to make your new housing feel comfortable. If you plan in advance, you could bring some stuff with you during the move, including photos of family and friends, a particular blanket or pillow, or anything else that reminds you of home. Once you’ve arrived in Australia, fill your house with fresh (or fake) plants, artwork and posters, cosy lounge chairs, books and lots of snacks – anything that helps you feel settled in this new space.
CREATE A CLEANING SCHEDULE
A good rule of thumb is to start something as you mean to go on. In this case, it’s keeping your home clean and tidy from day one. If you have housemates, the first week in your new accommodation is the perfect time to organise a balanced, rotating cleaning schedule that everyone can agree on. If you live alone, try and set a regular cleaning plan (for example, wash clothes on a Sunday, clean the house on a Wednesday after morning classes).
RESEARCH YOUR PUBLIC TRANSPORT OPTIONS
Getting to and from school will be an almost daily occurrence during the semester. Once you’ve arrived in your new home, take the time to review public transport routes. Consider price, ease of travel (do you have to switch from a train to a bus? Is there a long walk from where you’re dropped off to your destination?), and speed. It would also be worth doing a practice run from your accommodation to university. This will make sure you’re ready for the first day of classes and that you’re aware of any potential delays to your commute.
MEET THE NEIGHBOURS
Whether you’re moving into private accommodation in the suburbs or student housing in an inner-city apartment building, it’s a good idea to introduce yourself to your nearby neighbours. You’ll likely be seeing these people on a regular basis, so it pays to be polite. Other than the obvious advantage of meeting some potential new friends, your neighbours might be able to help you out in an emergency or be more lenient to loud music if you want to throw a party.
HOST A HOUSEWARMING
Finally, it’s time to celebrate your new home and your independence! A housewarming will truly make you feel at home, whether it is bonding with your housemates over a barbecue or pizza night or inviting all your new best O-Week friends over for a house party.*
*Just make sure your housewarming doesn’t get too crazy and annoy your neighbours or landlord.
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