Updated on Apr 30, 2021
This article is written and experienced by a student studying and living in Australia. Therefore providing information and guidance with finer details. As it is said “Straight from the horses mouth” just for you from EDUCATION STREET student Miss. Harleen Kaur currently studying Masters in Monash University (Feb 2016 Batch).
She has very well articulated this article on her own sharing her own experience and ideology about Australia.
I came to Australia over a year ago for my Masters at Monash University in Melbourne. I wish I could say my time here has been a roller coaster ride but it has been pretty smooth.
Disclaimer: My opinions and experiences are based on Melbourne. I have no or negligible knowledge about other Australian states.
I will not say it is difficult to find a part-time job in Melbourne given the amount of casual jobs that are available here. But it might be difficult to find a job that pays well. Most of the jobs here are approached via references. The pay differs with the job. If your employer is Indian, you probably are going to be paid between 10-17 dollars an hour. But there are many platforms that offer casual jobs. I have listed some of them below.
Many people go around and distribute their resume in restaurants and stores too for a job. No matter what part-time job you do, it will help you pay your bills.
Stay in Melbourne
Melbourne is expensive when it comes to renting a place. If you are living far away in the suburbs, you might be able to lower your expenses but that will increase your travel. On an average, students spend between 500-800 dollars on rent. This is for a single room. If you are okay with sharing, it might reduce. When I got here, I had found a place close to my university via Airbnb. It was pretty reasonable and the hosts were amicable. My suggestion would be to find a place that is close to university you are studying in because if you are actually serious about attending classes, you might not wish to spend a lot of time traveling because you will also need to come for group meeting which may last for a short while. I say this because I know a lot of people who chase money and skip classes to work. That is something that I never do but preferences differ from person to person.
Traveling in Melbourne
Public transport is not very reliable or cheap in Melbourne. For the sake of comparison, it is much easier to get around places at cheaper prices in Mumbai. Melbourne has three main modes of public transport: trains, trams and buses. Buses are very unreliable. So, try and find a place of residence close to either a train station or a tram stop. After a point of time, you will want to buy your own vehicle because public transport will not take you everywhere you have to go. If you are traveling in Melbourne, you will have to walk a lot. That helps with my cardio so that I don’t have to work hard in the gym. :P Jokes apart, trains and trams run at a high frequency during peak hours and they run till late night on the weekends.
Culture in Australia
Australia is pretty laid back. The pace of life is very slow here. People hardly work over time. They do not work on the weekends. There is a good work-life balance for someone who is working full-time.
Melbourne has a brilliant food culture. You will find a variety of cuisine here ranging from 5 dollars a meal to 200 dollars a meal. People barely cook here. Take-outs are very common. I used to cook all my meals earlier and now, there are days don’t cook at all. Food-wise, you will not find it difficult to adjust here even if you are vegan or vegetarian. During the weekdays, most restaurants close early but the nightlife during the weekends is pretty smashing.
You will find a lot of Chinese and Indian diaspora here in the city. Australians primarily inhabit the regional areas of Australia. Australians do not generally go for a tertiary degree, at least not in the field of business and management. Don’t be surprised if you don’t find local students in your classes.
For those who love to shop, Melbourne is the place to be. Shopping here is a part of Australian culture and the cherry on the cake is the sale. There are sales going on all year round.
Weather in Melbourne
As you must have already heard, weather here is erratic. You sometimes get to see 2-3 seasons in a single day. Winter clothes never go into storage because it can get chilly anytime. The seasons are opposite to what they are in India. It is summer during the months of November - February. It gets pretty hot. Winters get harsh in June and July. It sometimes goes as low as 1 degrees at night. Moreover, winter here is accompanied by the monsoon season. So, every morning when you wake up, check the weather for the day before you check your emails and whatsapp messages from your girlfriend/boyfriend (haha!).
I do not agree with those who say Indians have to face racism abroad due to their accent and the color of their skin. Would you believe it if I said I have been a victim of racism in my own country, and yes that is India. I have studied in Chennai and I was an outcast there because of my color and cultural background. Racism is everywhere in the world. You will be a victim to it if you try to be an American in Rome. The saying ‘when in rome, be a Roman’ does actually hold a lot of meaning. Try and acculturate yourself when you go to a country. Be sensitive towards others, no matter where they are from. Something that might be a joke to you can be offensive to another person. People will be biased against you if you don’t behave in a civilised manner. I have, fortunately, never been faced with racism ever since I got here. As long as you don’t try and poke someone, you will be fine.
Studying in Melbourne
I am a student at Monash University and I like it here. Not because of the university and its infrastructure but because of the relationships I have cultivated here. Professors are very helpful here. And I am not just talking about Monash; I speak for most the universities. If you want their help, you have to ask them for it. Beating around the bush will not help. Maintain a healthy relationship with your professors. That will not only help with your assignments but also will help you with internships and jobs after your graduation. I have friends who have been offered jobs by their professors and I have been too. Look for internships during your vacation times. Check with your university if they offer any units or opportunities that you might apply for. This will help you gain local experience and improve your employability according to the Australian way.
To sum up, I would like to say that every individual has a different experience. My opinions and advice are based on my experience and you might hear something different from another person. So, don’t take my words to be the gospel truth but regard this article as a trailer to a movie. The reality is revealed when you sit through the movie experience. I hope you guys enjoyed reading this and found it helpful. Have a positive outlook and your experience will be rewarding. I wish you all the best. :)
Monash University, Master in International Business (prior an engineer)
(Harleen is an Education Street student. They can be reached at http://www.educationstreet.in )
STUDY ABROAD GUIDE