Hey everyone! Sorry for disappearing for two weeks! As I said in my previous post, it’s the end of term so I’ve been really busy with tests and assignments and presentations. I actually have an English presentation tomorrow but I’m just here to squeeze in a blog post real quick coz I feel so bad for not updating! Also, I am procrastinating washing the mountain of dishes in my sink. :p
Anyway! Before I came to Australia, I had no idea what to expect when I finally got here. So I didn’t know how to prepare, what clothes to pack or what things to bring. So for students who will be going to Australia to study, this is a rough guide on things to do and buy before you leave Malaysia and how to settle in when you arrive in Australia. I’m going to be doing this in two parts coz if I write everything in one post, it’s going to be way too long!
If you haven’t already applied to a university or college, I strongly suggest going through an agent. I applied through IDP and the whole process was a breeze! They do all the paperwork for you, all you have to do is literally give them a copy of your results and passport and they will do the rest or give you exact directions on what you have to do. And the best part of it is that IDP is free! The only fees you pay are things such as your medical, courier, application fees, etc but they don’t charge you for their services. The IDP office I went to is located opposite the Taylor’s Subang campus but I know they have an office in KL and Penang too. Here is the website http://www.malaysia.idp.com/
If you don’t have accommodation, it’s probably a good idea for you to go to Australia at least 2 weeks before your term starts to look for a place. Check online prior to leaving Malaysia. The website I used was www.realestate.com.au to get an idea of the prices of apartments and the availability. Note, I knew from the start that I wanted to live on my own. If you’re looking to move into a share house, maybe you should go on your university/college website and see if there are any advertisements there for share houses.
Make sure you are covered by health insurance. Doctor’s consultation fees here are expensive, ($50 per consultation in Perth. That’s RM150 and this doesn’t include medicine!) and if you’re a student and covered by health insurance, your consultation is free. Also, if you require dental care (For those of you who wear braces), make sure you speak to your orthodontist and work something out or buy an insurance that covers you for dental care.
Google the public transportation in your state (In Perth, it’s TransPerth) and look through bus and train routes. This will make it easier for you to get around when you arrive and also give you a good idea on areas suitable for you to live in if you’re not staying on campus. You don’t want to stay an hour away from university/college!
Girls, trust me on this and pack only your favourite clothes! Believe me, when you arrive in Australia, you’ll want to shop like crazy because they have shops such as Supre, Dotti, Ally, Forever New etc that we don’t have in Malaysia and you’ll have the perfect excuse to buy new clothes because you didn’t bring enough! ;)
BUT, if you have favourite skin care/body care/makeup products, buy a couple of each thing and bring them from Malaysia. Things are more expensive here and I think it’s unnecessary to pay extra for something you can get for cheaper at home. However, if you’re the type that likes to try new things, go ahead and leave everything at home and buy different brands from here. I warn you though, it WILL get expensive.
Likewise, stationary is also more expensive so make sure you stock up!
Make sure you have a copy of your COE (Confirmation of Enrolment), passport, driver’s licence (In case you have to drive in Australia because of an emergency) and results. Your IC DOES NOT count as valid identification in Australia.
For those of you who are sure that you will be driving in Australia, switch your Malaysian licence to an international licence. Your Malaysian licence is recognized in Australia, but make life easier for yourself and the Australian authorities and switch your licence to English.
With whatever airline you’re with, they should be able to give you an extra baggage allowance if you tell them you’re a student. You might have to send them a copy of your COE but you get extra baggage allowance at no extra cost and trust me, this will be VERY useful. With SIA, I got an additional 10kgs!
Bring some basic medication along with you. Panadol, Clarinase, a course of antibiotics, period pain medicine etc because Australia is strict about buying drugs and you can’t just pop into a pharmacy and buy medicine when you feel like it. Again, it is also A LOT more expensive here.
Pack good quality and sensible shoes. You’ll be doing a lot of walking so don’t bother bringing all your heels so bring only what you need and pack ballet flats, sandals and sneakers.
The plug points in Australia are different from Malaysia so it’s a good idea to go to a hardware store and buy some travel adaptors. I’d say buy about 5 or 6. I know it sounds like a lot but it’s better to have more than not enough.
If you’re going to be living on your own, try your hand at cooking some simple dishes in Malaysia. It will give you a good feel of the kitchen so it won’t be too much of a shock when you get to Australia.
There are HEAPS of Asian shops in Australia because of the large Asian community so tell your mum’s and grandmother’s not to worry, they don’t have to insist you pack Lee Kum Kee soy sauce, you’ll be able to find that here! You can even find Super Rings here!
Don’t buy a new phone in Malaysia. The Australian phone companies always have great deals on new phone’s. I got my new BlackBerry Bold for $69 a month which includes unlimited BlackBerry data, free calls to people on my same network (3 and Vodafone) and $450 worth of calls to other people including international calls. But I am on a two year contract which means that I have to use this line for two years, regardless of whether I want to change it or not.
If you’re going to be taking the bus/train to uni, trust me on this and buy a backpack. I know how un-glam a backpack is, I fought tooth and nail NOT to carry a backpack, but damn, it makes life easy. :p
I’m sure most of you know this but Australian customs are VERY STRICT about what you bring in to Australia. Make sure you don’t bring in any plants, food, fruit, herbal medicines, etc or they will be confiscated. Also, ALWAYS be truthful on your declaration card of you’ll be looking at a fine!
I hope this has helped! What to do when you’re actually in Australia and how to settle down next! :)