Living expenses — a guide for oversea students
Subject: International Studies
In the mid-1990s it is estimated that a student living alone will require on average A$12,000 in living expenses for each year of study. Of course these costs increase with time.
Upon arrival, students should ahve funds in excess of average to cover the cost of text books and establishment expenses such as rental bond payment and basic furniture items. The amount spent on food, recreationm, and entertainment expenses will vary according to requirements, budget, and location.
Those who are prepared to live in shared accommodation, whic may not be suitable for all, might manage on A$10,000 per year. It is preferable for overseas sutdents whose English is in need of practice to take advantage of live-in situations with native speakers whenever possible, Howeverm sharing with friends who are easy to communicate with is probably more sensible at first.
Owning and maintaining a motor vehicle is expensive in Australia. Insurance is compulsory and costly, and parking both on and off campus can be a problem requiring additional expense. It is not advisable for a student to own a car unless it is absolutely necessary. A reasonable second-hand car can cost in excess of A$4000.
Eudcational institution are almost always serviced by reliable public transport. The university and college campuses within the major cities are well served by public buses. In addition, the larger cities have extensive train system. For example, in sydmey, most colleges and university campuses are only 10 or 20 minutes from a rail station.
The summer vacation requires special financial planning. Expenses for this period must be carefully estimated and added to costs for the academic year in order to give a realistic total figure for the calender year. They are not included in the estimated A$10,000-A$12,000 previously quoted. University eating facilities, and some universtiy and college housing facilities, close during this time. As a general rule, international students should expect to spend at leat as much on monthly living expenses during the summer as they do during the academic year.
Under present immigration regulations, international students are allowed to work up to 20 hours during terms time and full-time during vacation. It is impossible for students to expect to earn sufficient funds working part time to pa for tuition fees and living costs. While some students are able to supplement their funds with moenty from part time and/or vacation work, such work is not always regular even when available, and this can contribute an anxiety and study problem. In general it si unrealistic to start a course with insufficient funds in the hope that “something will turn up”. Student should be aware that vacation work has become more difficult to find over the last few years, but those interested can contact the Commonwearlth Employment Service or the Students’ Union on campus.
Warm clothes are necessary in the southern States during winter months, as night temperatures can drop to less than 10 degrees Celsius. Students should bring as much clothing from home as possible , especially if funds are limited. Information on where to buy inexpensive clothes can be obtained from the International Student Centre of most college and universities.
Do not rush into buying expensive textbooks. It is advisable ot wait unitl your first lectures and tutorials and then ask academic staff which are the essential purchases. There is usually a second-hand bookshop on campus, and used texts are also advertised on faculty notice boards.
The Students’ Union coordinates a number of outlets on the various university campuses that provide stationery items and other essential equipment at reasonable prices. Some courses require specialized equipment which can be quite costly, and it is wise to check any additional costs involved with the course of your choice. In general, those practically oriented courses tend to incur higher additional costs. Expenses for books, stationery, and equipment vary greatly, but you should allow approximately A$500-$1000 a year.
Most university campuses have banks and/or credit unions. The banks issue drafts, traveller’s cheques or foreign currency notes, and accept telex or airmail transactions. In some colleges and universities the credit union is the institution’s own credit union. In addition to normal banking and financial services, credit unions usually provide special services for international student.
Money may be deposited or withdrawn from branches of the credit unions and banks duriing business hours from Monday to Friday or 24 hours a day from the many on-campus automactic teller machines. Business hours for financial institutions vary, but credit union are usually open from 9am to 5pm weekdays, and, generall, banks are open from 9:30 am to 4 pm (5pm on Thursday)
Some services are available on Saturday mornings in selected areas. While prices often compare favourably with overseas, because Australia is a large and exciting country it is very easy to overspend, especially if on a tight budget.