Living in Australia

living-australiaAustralians people

Australia has very high standards of living in the world. Australia is an English-speaking country with a population of 21 million. It is home to people from over 190 countries, and at least one in five Australians was born overseas.

Australian government

There are three levels of government:

  • Federal government,
  • State government and
  • Local government.

Our states and territories

There are six states and two territories in Australia:

  • New South Wales (Biggest City: Sydney),
  • Victoria (Biggest City: Melbourne),
  • Queensland (Biggest City: Brisbane),
  • Western Australia (Biggest City: Perth)
  • South Australia (Biggest City: Adelaide),
  • Australian Capital Territory (Capital City: Canberra),
  • Tasmania (Biggest City: Hobart)
  • Northern Territory (Biggest City: Darwin),

 

The capital city is Canberra, which is located in the Australian Capital Territory.

Time Zones

Australia is a big country and there are three different time zones in Australia.

Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST): Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) + 10 hours which includes

  • Australian Capital Territory (Capital City: Canberra),
  • New South Wales (Biggest City: Sydney),
  • Victoria (Biggest City: Melbourne),
  • Queensland (Biggest City: Brisbane),
  • Tasmania (Biggest City: Hobart)

CENTRAL Standard Time: Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) + 9.5 hours which includes (AEST – 0.5 hour)

  • South Australia (Biggest City: Adelaide),
  • Northern Territory (Biggest City: Darwin),

Australian Western Standard Time (AWST): Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) + 8 hours which includes (AEST – 2 hours)

  • Western Australia (Biggest City: Perth)

 

Currency

Australia uses a dollars and cents system of decimal currency with 100 cents in a dollar.

The bank notes in use are

  • $5 (purple),
  • $10 (blue),
  • $20 (orange),
  • $50 (yellow) and
  • $100 (green).

Coins used are

  • silver 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents and 50 cents, and
  • gold $1 and $2 coins.

Weights and measures

Australia uses the metric system of weights and measures..

Water

Because Australia is a very dry country and water is scarce water should be used thoughtfully. There are many easy ways to conserve water. Everywhere in Australia tap water is safe to drink.

Australian culture

Australia is a very friendly and informal country.

  • Addressing people –When speaking to people older than you, call them Mr.,Mrs. or Ms. followed by their surname until you know them well.
  • Greetings good morning, good afternoon and good evening are formal greetings. Informal greetings are hello, hey or hi.
  • Please and thank you – please and thank-you are two phrases which should be used regularly.
  • Personal space – It is a good idea not to invade someone’s personal space.
  • Dress – Australians tend to dress casually.
  • Queuing – Never push or jump ahead when you are standing in line.
  • Punctuality – Call before if you think you will be late.
  • Smoking – Smoking is banned in many public spaces so make sure to check if you can smoke.
  • Equality – Australians believe strongly in equality – everyone is equal!
  • Spitting – Spitting in public is illegal and offensive.
  • Littering – Because Australians care about the environment, you should never litter as you could be fined.
  • Table manners – Australians usually use cutlery.

Services

Banks

There are many banks in Australia. Normal trading hours are 9.30 am to 4.00 pm Monday to Thursday and 9.30 am to 5.00 pm on Friday. Some banks are open on Saturday mornings, but all are closed on Sundays and public holidays.

ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines where you can withdraw cash) are available 24/7.

Credit cards

The most commonly accepted credit cards are MasterCard, Visa, Bankcard, American Express, Diners International and their affiliates. Most businesses accept credit cards as payment, so you don’t need to carry lots of money with you.

Opening a bank account

You should open a bank account as soon as possible. Just go to a bank and they will help you out.

Transferring funds

International transfers can take a couple of days.

Electricity

The electrical current in Australia is 240/250 volts AC, 50 cycles and a three-pin plug is used. Adapters are generally needed to convert international appliances and you can easily find them.

Tipping

Tipping is not necessary in Australia. However, you can still tip if you feel that it is deserved.

Shopping

Shopping centers are usually open from 9 am to 5 pm seven days a week, with late night shopping until 9 pm on Thursday or Friday. Some supermarkets are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Postal services

Postal services are provided by Australia Post and mail is delivered | Monday to Friday. For larger parcels, a card will be left in your letter box for you to take to your nearest post office for collection. The postal service is reliable and safe. Most post offices are open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday. You can also pay your electricity and telephone bills and some other accounts at a post office.

Telephone

Public phones are available. Mobile phones are very popular and there are many carriers.

Transport

Public transport

Australia has a very efficient and reliable train and bus system. You can buy tickets at train stations and on the bus.

In some states you are able to get a concession card.

Taxis

You can call and book a taxi or you can hail one from the street if its yellow lights are on.

Your own transport

A good second hand bicycle can be bought for around $200 and a reliable second hand car can be purchased for less than $10,000. It is a good idea to have a second hand car inspected by a mechanic. Remember that a car can be quite expensive when factoring in petrol, maintenance, insurance, service costs and registration. Generally the public transport system is very reliable and there is not much need for your own car.

If you plan on being in Australia for longer than three months you will need to apply for a license. Contact the Road Authority in your state or territory for more information on Australian driver’s licences and road rules. If you are here for less than three months you can drive with your valid license and a translation document.

Remember, that in Australia

  • you drive on the left side of the road.
  • The maximum speed limit is 50km an hour in residential areas and is usually 100km an hour on highways.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offence, punishable by loss of licence and sometimes jail.
  • Random breath testing, where the police stop your vehicle and measure the amount of alcohol you have consumed, is conducted in most Australian states and territories. For information on alcohol limits, visit www.alcoholguidelines.gov.au.
  • You can be caught and fined for speeding.
  • Seat belts are compulsory for all passengers. Talking on a mobile is illegal, though you can use a hands free.

 

Personal safety

Study in Australia is very safe, but it is still a good idea to observe the following suggestion

  • Always tell someone where you are going and what time you will be home
  • Try not to travel alone and if you do take care
  • Use campus security escorts and bus services when you can
  • Don’t leave personal belongings unattended
  • It’s a good idea to always carry a mobile phone
  • avoid giving your personal information to strangers; and
  • lock your doors and windows before going out.

EMERGENCY

If you are faced with a life-threatening emergency that you may need to call

  • Fire
  • Police
  • Ambulance ,

 

you should dial 000 on the phone.

The operator will ask you if you need fire, police or ambulance services before transferring you. Then you should ready to give the address.

Adjusting to Australian life

Remember it is normal to feel homesick or lonely. These are some coping mechanisms.

  • Be positive – remember why you wanted to study in Australia
  • Make conversation – talk to people.
  • Keep a journal – express your feelings.
  • Stay occupied – whether playing sport, attending festivals or meeting people.
  • Socialise – spend time with other students
  • Be flexible – be adaptable
  • Watch people around you

Your My Study in Australia student counsellor can help you settle in also if you need help always feel free to ask Australians for help, they are very friendly.

 

Bringing your family

Your family members must be included on your initial student visa application, even if they do not accompany you to Australia or intend to visit you in Australia.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) classifies your family as your spouse (a person you are legally married to, or a person of the opposite sex who you have been living with in an exclusive relationship for more than 12 months) and your or your spouse’s children (aged under 18 and never married). For more information, visit the DIAC website at www.immi.gov.au.

You may bring members of your family with you to Australia provided that you meet certain conditions. You must show proof of your relationship (for example, a marriage licence or birth certificate). Children will need to be enrolled in school and you will need to cover their tuition and other costs. Other limitations on bringing family members apply. For more information go to

www.immi.gov.au/students/students/bringing_family/index.htm.

Living costs in Australia

Australia has one of the highest standards of living but is still very affordable. An average international student in Australia can expect to pay about A$250 – A$360 a week on:

  • accommodation;
  • food;
  • clothing;
  • entertainment;
  • transport;
  • international and domestic travel;
  • telephone; and
  • incidental costs.

You could spend more or less depending on where you live, your lifestyle and your course.

Religion

Australia is accommodating of all religions. You can also find a place of worship for most religions. Just ask around.

Food

Australia has all types of food for all different cuisines as it is very international. Halal can be found – even food from your home country is quite easy to find. If you have food allergies specific foods can also be found.

In short, you can find every type of food when you study in Australia.

Health

Your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) will cover you for most medical expenses. Most large universities have a health centre on campus, and all institutions will have a first aid officer. Medical centres are in most cities.

Your institution will also provide you with access to counsellors who can help with mental health issues, and to family planning facilities.

Students under the age of 18

If you are under the age of 18 while studying in Australia your parents must nominate a guardian to be responsible for you. This person may be a relative, family friend, homestay parent or teacher living in the same city you are studying in who will be able to sign forms on your parents’ behalf, provide advice if you need it and take an interest in your academic progress. If you wish for a family member to accompany you to Australia they must apply for a Student Guardian Visa.

For more information on Student Guardian Visas, visit www.immi.gov.au/students/student_guardians/index.htm.

Institutions are required by law to provide supervision of students on school grounds before school, during recess times and after school. This includes students involved in activities on school premises, such as sports training or rehearsals for school productions. Students living in boarding houses are supervised at all times.