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Living in Australia
Budgeting tips when living in Australia
Living and studying in Australia can be an exciting experience, but it is important to have budgeted carefully for your time of stay in the country, with the knowledge that you will be able to live comfortably while studying and have the most enjoyable experience possible.
Australian migration laws require international students to show evidence that they are able to contribute and live to a certain standard when they start their study in Australia. This gives students the ability to focus on their studies and live less stressfully when it comes to handling their budget, while still experiencing the culture and what it has to offer.
International students are able to supplement their income in Australia with money earned through part-time work, but only if this does not effect their study hours, while also being able to meet all of the living costs that eventuate from paying for food, accommodation and bills.
As of the 1st January 2010, Migration regulations on the basic rate of living costs, has increased. Below is a basic guide as to the amount of funds that all prospective students must acquire before applying for their student visa applications.
A$18,000 a year for the prospective student
A$6,300 a year for the students partner
A$3,600 a year for the students first child; and
A$2,700 a year for every child and where required.
These costs can vary considerably city to city depending on where you plan to live in Australia.
Once you have settled in the country and have acquainted yourself with your environment, it is helpful to budget according to your living standards as soon as possible. Take into consideration the costs of food, accommodation, transport, entertainment, clothing and travel costs. Sticking to a budget will help you know exactly where your money goes and be safe in the knowledge that you will have enough to live comfortably and stress-free.
Below are some tips when living on a budget in Australia:
Accommodation: There are many styles of accommodation in Australia but Homestay accommodation can sometimes be the most affordable and safest alternative for international students. Meals are often included in the cost of boarding, and you can truly immerse yourself in the culture by living with a registered Australian family. Prices can range from $110 to $270 per week and single and shared rooms are available.
Food: There are many major town centres and cities in Australia with world-class shopping facilities. It can be cheaper to shop at major supermarket chains by checking out the discount food sections, but quite often than not, there are large farmers markets that produce fresh, local produce on a weekly basis and can have cheap fruit and vegetables readily available. Keep in mind it is cheaper to eat at home, but some major cities in Australia have a huge range of affordable restaurants that cater to the student clientele.
Transport: There are cheaper concession rates for students when traveling on public transport in Australia. Once you have received your student card it is important to discuss with your campus or transport authority the best option for you when traveling by bus, tram or train. Many large cities have weekly and monthly concession rates, which can largely reduce your spending.
Entertainment: It is not necessary to spend a lot of money in Australia on entertainment. There are a variety of public festivals and concerts that are held for free in major cities, as Australia has a large and thriving Arts community across the board. There are many concession rates or cheap nights for movies, amusement parks and even bars that hold student nights with food and drink deals. There are plenty of public parks or National parks to walk and enjoy for free, or require a very small entrance fee.
Life in Australia
As a society, Australia is rated very well around the world. It has the highest living standards of any country in the southern hemisphere. Australia is rated highly by the United Nations (UN) Human Development wing and has consistently topped the list for livability and economic endurance. Australia?s capital cities have been voted the most livable in the world and with small crime rates, stable democratic systems, good employment prospects, and a highly functioning and harmonious multicultural emphasis.
Australia is a country that is exceptionally attractive for prospective migrants. With its mix of natural beauty, tremendous mineral resources, highly developed communications and technological edge, Australia has sustained 10 years of economic growth at 4% per annum. That has been accompanied by low inflation and low interest rates, while the next five years look to be prosperous as well with the economy expected to grow by 3% per annum.
Population wise, Australia has a similar growth rate to Europe and Australia?s migrant program accesses the gap between available employment and the people who are available to fulfill those positions. That means, that Australia has a highly thought through migration program that seeks to place people in employment as quickly as possible in jobs that meet and match their particular educational qualifications, experience, and skill set.
Australia is a highly developed country with natural and awe-inspiring beauty, technologically savvy, and is unique in world history with the world?s oldest continuous culture (50 000 years) and the planet?s only continent that is its own country. Australia, both modern and aboriginal is worth understanding. The country?s economic indices, excellent quality of life, and multicultural emphasis, that is open to immigration from other countries makes Australia a great place to immigrate too.
And Australia is seeking migrants who have education and/or vocational training. Australia also seeks to reunite families as part of its migration programs, along with programs directed at refugees and those desiring refugee status. The Australian government is dedicated to a policy of active anti-discrimination and in 1996 the Prime Minister made a parliamentary statement that emphasized anti-discrimination as part of government policy that was accepted by the House of Representatives who voted unanimously to endorse the statement.
The statement affirmed Australia?s commitment to actively countering racial and social intolerance regardless of race, religion, creed and so forth. The Australian government affirmed the principles of equality for everyone who lives in Australia, is a citizen, or travelling through the country.
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You will find that going to the beach on New Year’s Eve or skiing in July/August is very popular in Australia as this continent is part of the southern hemisphere. Australian summer days can be very hot, whereas during winter the days are still warm and dry, but the nights are much cooler.
Outdoor activities (especially barbeques) and all water and sports activities make life very appealing in Australia.
There are many opportunities for you to explore life in Australia either individually or in small groups during day trips and over a longer period.
Extraordinary places to experience the natural environment include The Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu National Park and Ayers Rock, or you may be interested in the exciting life in the large cities of Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne or Perth.
If you are a commercial provider of services related to tourism, you may ask us for a special advertisement package.
Living in Australia
Australia is the smallest, flattest, driest continent on Earth, and the sixth largest continent. The continent is divided into six states and two territories. The capital city is Canberra, and is situated in the Australian Capital Territory. The other states are New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the last territory is the Northern Territory. Most of the population can be found on the outer areas of Australia, along the coast.
Australia has a population of twenty one million, mostly situated in the capital cities. The indigenous population are the Aboriginals. Twenty five percent of Australia’s population are people born overseas, making it a diverse, multicultural society.
There are many tourist attractions, such as The Great Barrier Reef, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Whitsunday Islands, the Kinberley region, Kakadu National Park, Uluru-Kata Tjuta (formerly Ayer’s Rock), and Flinders Rangers. Tours are conducted regularly, and can be booked from your local travel agency.
Being one of the most outstanding economies of the world in recent years, Australia has a high-growth, low-inflation, low interest rate economy, which provides a high standard of living. There is an efficient government sector, a flexible labour market, a very competitive business sector and the cost of living is low. The national currency is the Australian Dollar.
Social events are plentiful, being surrounded by oceans, some common leisure activities are surfing, snorkelling, and swimming, fishing and boating. Sport clubs (such as AFL, NRL, and Cricket), gymnasiums, swimming pools, athletic tracks and other social clubs can be found locally all over the nation.
The cities have a vibrant night life, with night clubs, festivals, and hotels being open until late. Most streets are well lit and public transport by train, bus and tram is very cheap, even subsidised for concession card holders. Shopping centres and department stores are plentiful, housing cheap.
When you arrive in Australia you need to follow these necessary steps:
Apply for a Tax File Number – to register for a Tax File number you need to get in contact with the Australian Taxation Office. A tax file number is needed before you can receive an income of any type, such as a wage, salary, government payments and money earned from investments, such as money from interest on bank accounts.
Tax File Number applications can be sent to you, or alternatively, can be done online.
Tax return forms need to be completed every year, and the deadline is the 31st October.
Register with Medicare – Medicare is Australia’s health care system. To register you need a Medicare Enrolment Form. This form can be found on the Medicare website. If you do not register, you may have trouble receiving subsidies if you need medical attention at any time.
Open a bank account –there are many banks and financial institutions throughout Australia. Local bank branches can be found in even the most remote country locations.
Register with Centrelink – Centrelink assists those in need, and to assist people to become self-sufficient. To register you can apply at a local Centrelink branch.
Contact the Health Undertaking Service – Australia has very high standard of health, and to keep these standards up, people who migrate, either to migrate permanently, or a temporary visit, we must satisfy the health requirement specified in the Migration Regulations. Migrants need to complete an information form, which can be obtained from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Register for Schooling – Australia’s national language is English. English is taught throughout Australian Primary and High Schools. Other languages are taught also as lessons in high school, such as Japanese, Chinese, German, and Indonesian.
Enrol your children in a school – you will need to enrol your children, if any, at your local Public Primary or High School. You can register at your local school reception.
Apply for a driver’s licence – drivers licences are needed to drive a vehicle on public roads. Also your drivers licence is your most common form of identification. To obtain a licence you need to pass an assessment on driving, both theory and practical.
In case of an emergency, the number to dial is 000. The departments you can contact are the Police, Fire Department and Ambulance. These services are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The crime rate is low, and the reports of assault and violent crimes are minimal. The Federal Police and state police departments maintain the law well.
If you have itchy feet, and are ready to move, how about considering to make the move down under. Maybe Australia is the place for your future.
Generally the wwoofers movement is incredible. Good hosts and willing hoofers in a stunning setup make the experience much more worthwhile, outweighing any disadvantages/ unsuitability.
Goodwill and trust are the main tenets on which the movement runs.
Always know that you do not have to persevere staying in a place where you are uncomfortable. Here are some guidelines to follow in such an event:
- Try to work through the cause of your discomfort amiably.
- Talk to your host about the upsetting thing to see if there is an easy solution.
- If you decide to leave make sure to inform your host about it.
- You can get the wwoof contacts from the host list book to inform them about your experience whether good or bad.
Rarely will a host ask you to leave. This however may happen mainly because of behaviour that is inconvenient to them.
FOOD AND DIET
You may sometimes have the luxury of getting meals that are already prepared. Even though this may be so the following are the characteristics you find when it comes to food matters.
Food is prepared communally with other family members, workers or woofers giving you an opportunity to talk ... however sometimes you prepare your own food by yourself.
Some people eat together around a table.
Meals are prepared using food that has been grown on the farm.
Home made wine sometimes accompanies the meals.
Often the food is fresh and organic but there instances where you get bought packet food.
Food is seasonal. You may not have shops in the area.
It is advisable to talk to your host about any special dietary needs that you have to know whether they can be catered for. If this does not happen, you may be asked about it when you arrive.
If you are a vegetarian and it bothers you to see others eating meat, you may want to reconsider your staying in a farm that rears animals as the host may eat them.
Although it is handy to be able to eat anything, hosts are very hospitable and may have had wwoofers who had special dietary needs and can therefore handle any such guests.