Living in Australia
Australia is a tolerant, multicultural society with people from many ethnic backgrounds. While the official language is English, more than 200 languages are spoken.
Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, has a pleasant, semi-tropical climate and is a safe city to live, study and work. With a population of around 1.7 million people it is a vibrant international city. The city boasts inner-city beaches and parklands, world-class sporting facilities, an international airport, a cultural centre, a convention centre, museums, art galleries, a casino, shopping precincts and a multitude of cosmopolitan restaurants and coffee shops. A wide range of international cuisines are available in Brisbane – from sushi to tacos and everything in between.
The climate of Brisbane is great for sports, beaches and other outdoor activities. The daytime temperatures range from an average of 30 degrees Celsius in summer to 14 degrees Celsius in winter. The beaches and theme parks of the Gold Coast, a popular holiday destination, are only one hour’s travel from Brisbane. The quieter beaches of the Sunshine Coast and the rainforests of nearby National Parks to the city’s north take only a little longer to reach. The Botanical Gardens at Mount Coot-tha and the City Botanical Gardens are well worth a visit. Many local wildlife parks provide visitors with the opportunity to learn more about Australian native animals.
Queensland also has many natural attractions such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday Islands, Fraser Island and the Daintree Rainforest. Students who have the time to explore further will enjoy some wonderful and unique experiences.
Aviation Australia is located in one of the world’s best cities and with plenty to do, you are sure to lead a relaxed and balanced lifestyle.
For more information, visit the Tourism Queensland website.
The price of rental accommodation can vary greatly, depending on its location and facilities and whether furniture is provided or not. The best idea is to find something you like and compare it with other accommodation options in the same area.
The weekly rent you pay does not cover the cost of electricity, gas or telephone charges. Rent is generally paid two to four weeks in advance with the agent or landlord asking you to pay a bond or security deposit equal to an additional four weeks rent before you move in. This bond is refunded to you when you leave, provided you have not caused damage to the property and have paid your rent.
Initial costs which may be incurred when you arrive include:
- Rental bond (four weeks)
- Advance rent (two weeks)
- Electricity connection
- Telephone/Internet connection
- Gas connection
- Household items – furniture, crockery, etc
- Other expenses
This may amount to approximately $2300 or more. Ongoing expenses once established include:
- Utilities (telephone, electricity/gas)
- Living expenses (rent, food, transport etc)
- Incidentals (photocopying, internet, insurances)
Students should budget their living expenses to at least $450 a week.
Electricity, water and gas
In Australia, students choosing to rent a property will normally need to pay for services connected , like gas, electricity and telephone. The tenant will need to arrange to have these services connected, and may have to pay a security deposit to the supply company.
Tenants may only be asked to pay for water use if the property has an individual water meter. The landlord must pay for the tenants usual water use, and can only charge for extra water used above that amount.
In Australia, electricity is 220-240 Volts AC. Electrical sockets require three-pin plugs.
Major telephone providers include Optus, Telstra, Virgin, 3 and Vodafone. A number of plans for phones, mobile phones and internet services are available from these and other companies. Broadband and VOIP is increasingly becoming a popular option allowing people access to cheap overseas calls. Phone cards to make international calls are also available at news agencies throughout Brisbane.
To dial Brisbane from overseas dial Australia’s country code (61) followed by Brisbane’s area code (7) followed by the number you wish to dial. To dial overseas from Australia dial 0011, then country code, region code and phone number.
Bringing family to Australia
Most student visas allow you to bring your family members to Australia as your dependants (check your individual circumstances with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection See: Arranging Visas). Family members include your spouse, and you and your spouse’s dependent children. Before bringing your spouse or children to Australia, you will have to prove that you can support them financially. The cost of supporting a family in Australia is very high. You may have to consider and discuss many issues with your family.
Issues to consider
Rather than bringing your family together with you to Australia, some students may find it useful to arrive first, settle into studies, find appropriate accommodation, adjust to living in Australia and then arrange for their family to join them.
Before making a decision to bring your family to Australia it is important to consider the following issues:
- The cost of airfares for your family to and from Australia;
- Possible higher rent for a larger home;
- Limited employment opportunities for your spouse;
- Extra costs for food, clothing and other necessities;
- The effect on you and your studies if your family is not happy in Australia;
- Whether your children will adjust to school in Australia;
- Waiting lists for child care centres; and
- Whether to come alone to Australia first and arrange things for your family or to all come at the same time.
For more information visit www.immi.gov.au
Finding suitable childcare in Australia requires patience and planning. Waiting lists for places in most childcare centres are long.
Many schools offer before and after-school care programs (usually 7:30am-8:45am and 3:00pm-6:00pm). Children who need these programs must be registered with the school.
For further information visit www.echildcare.com.au
If you would like to bring your children to Australia with you, you must be aware of the following schooling issues:
- It is an immigration policy that school-age dependants of international students undertake formal schooling while they are in Australia.
- Children who have their fifth birthday before 30th June of that calendar year are eligible to start school.You will need to provisionally enrol your child in a school before you leave your home country and you will normally have to pay the school fees one semester in advance.
- The school will issue an electronic Confirmation of Enrolment Form (eCoE) stating the program and its duration, so that you can obtain the appropriate visa for your child.
- The Diplomatic Mission in your country can tell you which State schools are registered to take international students. Fees are payable by international students at all State schools unless you:
- Are in receipt of sponsorship or scholarships from the Australian Government (e.g. the Australian Development Scholarship, IPRS);
- Hold a higher institution or approved non-government scholarship. These scholarships must be approved by the State government for the dependants to be exempt from school fees.
- You will be responsible for school fees and other costs including school uniforms, books, excursions and stationery.
- When choosing the most appropriate school for your child, it is best to ask questions about the school’s curriculum, size, extra-curricular activities and the size of individual classes.
- You should also take into consideration the distance from the school to your education institution, the suburb in which you intend to live and the method of transport you plan to use.
Students with school aged dependants, in Australia for more than three months, must enrol their dependents in either a state government or private (non-government) school. The arrangements regarding the schooling of dependents of international students vary according to the visa category of the student. For more information regarding visa conditions refer to the DIAC website.
In Australia, the federal and state governments allocate a portion of taxes collected to fund education providers. Most state schools are free or provided at a minimal cost to Australian permanent residents and citizens. School fees may apply to people in Australia whom do not have permanent residency and require their dependents to be schooled.
There are over 80 schools in and around Brisbane, from Prep to Year 12. So no matter were you live or the age of your dependants there are various schooling options available.
Education Queensland provides information to international students on Queensland’s state school structure, school term dates, fees and application procedures. Education Queensland has information brochures in several languages and listings of Queensland schools are available at www.australianschoolsdirectory.com.au and in the Yellow Pages.
Need further information?
Visit the Student Services page to see how our friendly team can assist you during your time with Aviation Australia.