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Articles categorized as ‘Predeparture’

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

OzTREKK Ambassadors: Predeparture tips for future students!

Meet Kim, our OzTREKK ambassador who has just embarked on her journey as a University of Sydney Master of Occupational Therapy student!

University of Sydney occupational therapy student

Just enjoying the view in Hong Kong!

Here, Kim shares some awesome “getting ready to go” predeparture tips, so file these away for later. 🙂

Double check your flight details in advance—specifically, baggage allowance, to avoid being slapped with a $700 + bill at the airport.

Double check your baggage allowances for all of your flights, especially if you have a layover and the tickets were bought separately. Yes, this sounds like common sense, but I did not pay attention to it as my flights were changed several times. As a result, I had a bigger allowance on my first flight compared to my second flight with Qantas (only allows 30 kg max) and was almost stuck with paying over $700 for an extra 15 kg from Hong Kong to Sydney. To put this into perspective, this costs about the same price or more than a round-trip from Hong Kong to Sydney.

University of Sydney occupational therapy

Getting settled in

What to watch out for if you are under the age of 25 trying to rent a car.

Car rental is extremely helpful if you are just arriving and will be getting around a lot for house inspections or just settling into a place and need to buy and move a lot of things. However, many of my friends managed to get through the entire move-in process relying on public transportation.

If you plan to rent a car in Australia, make sure you are comfortable with driving on the left side of the road before you do it! If you are under the age of 25, make sure you correctly enter your personal details and that the quoted price was for under age of 25 drivers. I had an incident at the airport where they told me I didn’t include my age. I double-checked my itinerary and I did input my age, but I must’ve missed it in one of the options and therefore, it didn’t account for my age. Anyhow, the original quoted price of $260 for 10 days became nearly $600 for 10 days. That was a massive difference!

Finding accommodation is stressful, but trust the process and be patient.

University of Sydney Master of Occupational Therapy

With my new roommates!

Don’t stress too much early on because there’s only so much you can do while being overseas. However, when you are getting close to your departure date (about a month), it would be a good idea to start looking and having discussions with people to get a better idea of what to expect and what you are looking for. If possible, a week or two before your arrival, try to line up some inspections so that you will be able to start looking at places shortly after you arrive.

Finding accommodation is definitely stressful but my advice would be to be patient and trust the process. As stressful as it may be, don’t rush into anything because I nearly rushed into signing a lease for a house that had some issues with pest control. I nearly ignored/missed it because I was feeling such a rush to settle into a home. It took a long time to finally find something and an even longer time to settle in. Eventually, my roommates and I are all settled in and I honestly don’t think we could’ve found a place more suitable for our needs!

OzTREKK’s Facebook page was a game changer for me.

Make good use of the OzTREKK Facebook page! Prior to my departure, I posted in the OzTREKK Facebook page and through that, I got people to message me about their interest in living together. This is where I found my roommate who introduced me to her other friends and now I live with three other Canadians that I love so much. This is all thanks to a quick post on the Facebook page. Through that page I also met other people going to Australia from Vancouver (my home), other people from Canada going into my program, and just Canadian students in general who are on the same boat with making a big move to Australia! Make good use of the page and meet lots of people prior to moving because it will provide you such a good support network for when you first get to Australia!

Follow me on Instagram! @kberli

Learn more about the University of Sydney occupational therapy program

Program: Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)
Location: Lidcombe, (suburb of Sydney), New South Wales
Semester intake: March
Duration: 2 years
Application deadline:October 30, 2019. Offers are made throughout the year based on academic merit and subject to availability in the program. Candidates are encouraged to apply as early as possible as this program can fill quickly.

Apply to Sydney Occupational Therapy School!

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Do you have any questions for Kim? Need more predeparture tips? Wondering about studying occupational therapy at the University of Sydney? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Occupational Therapy Schools Admissions Officer at rehabsci@oztrekk.com!

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

OzTREKK Ambassadors: Moving to Brisbane

“Housing” the big move

I think I can speak not only for myself, but the vast majority of others when I say that your home should be your own personal oasis. A place where you can come home from a long day of studying/working and be able to sit back and relax. With that being said, as a student your home should also be close to bus stops, places to eat and entertainment.

The first thing you should do (while in Canada) is try to find an Airbnb or a place that would be cheap for the first couple weeks when you arrive.  I was lucky and had a friends’ parents put me up for three weeks before I could actually get my lease to my condo.

Once you are in Brisbane, you can actually see the houses/condos in person and get a better feel for what is around them as well.  This is the best way to find a good place to live.  Accommodation in Brisbane can be a bit of a tricky situation. Considering the town itself is built around a river that flows throughout the city, you need to take that into account when you are looking for a place. So, with that being said I have made a list of the top seven suburbs to live in Brisbane with a little description of each and what you will expect to pay per week.

1. St. Lucia

This would be a good option if you want to live right beside/on the University of Queensland campus. Its major plus is that it is close to campus, grocery stores and a gym. Other than that, there is not really any entertainment/nightlife. If you aren’t looking to live by a very loud and busy place and be walkable to classes, this is your area. Accommodation here can go anywhere between $180 –$250 for shared accommodation.

2. Toowong / Taringa

I’m going to be a little biased with this one because this is the area where I live.  It’s really close to campus and Toowong village. Buses come every five minutes in the morning, and takes only seven minutes to get to campus. Toowong village has a grocery store, gym, Kmart (it’s big here still) and a post office. There are also a couple little food shops around the village. There isn’t much for entertainment: no movie theatre, sports venues or bars really (minus the Royal Exchange). Shared accommodation can be around $260 – $300 per week.

3. Bowen Hills

If you don’t want all the fast-paced aspect of downtown and tall buildings, Bowen Hills would be your option. This area has a lot of modern apartments that can start at $250 per week. The only downside is that it is quite far away from campus and doesn’t have a great entertainment aspect.

4. South Brisbane

South Brisbane is right in the heart of South Bank: a busy riverfront stretch with cultural and science exhibits at the Queensland Museum, as well as art galleries and a giant Ferris wheel. Other major entertainment venues are the cineplex, brewpubs and uptown tapas bars. This would be a great place if you want to experience Brisbane culture and are a true foodie. You can find shared accommodation from around $250 per week, or a one-bedroom apartment from around $350 per week.

5. West End

West End is a good place to look if you are looking for cool cafés, weekend markets, and a big artsy vibe. Shared accommodation can be around $300 per week, or if you want to go up to around $500 for a really nice place if you have a bigger rent budget.

6. Highgate Hill

If you are on the lower end of the budget scale, Highgate hill is a good option. It’s close to transportation and tons of shops but does not offer very much for entertainment. If you just want a place to live to live this is a good place to look. Shared accommodation can start at $140 per week.

8. Woolloongabba

This is one of the main hubs for transportation to and from UQ. Woolloongabba is also home to the Brisbane Cricket Ground, also known as the Gabba, a vast sports stadium that hosts professional Aussie Rules football and cricket matches (a lot of fun to go!). There are a ton of great restaurants and vintage fashion shops. You can find shared accommodation from around $180 per week, or a one-bedroom apartment from around $300 per week.

Figuring out your housing arrangements

With all of these areas, the prices are just a guideline.  If you search hard enough, you can find some really good places at really good prices. It all depends on where you want to live and what you want to be around you. Do you want to live right in the thick of downtown with all the bars? Maybe a happy medium with food marketplaces and an art vibe? Once you have the area mapped out, you can start to look to getting all of your utilities and all that sorted.  Below, I’ve provided five tips to remember when figuring out your final housing arrangements.

  • Rent in your contract is due weekly rather than monthly. This seems like it’s a cheaper option when you look at the price initially but you have to remember that there are 52 weeks in a year and that you will be paying an “extra” four weeks of rent this way. Just something to think about when you are planning your budget.
  • If you get an apartment or condo, it doesn’t come furnished at all. My roommate and I were lucky enough that the two girls who lived there before us sold us everything in the apartment when we moved in. I mean everything: beds, desks, chairs, tables, washer, dryer, dishwasher, etc. When you look at the ad, be sure to check if it is furnished or comes with beds because it would be a nightmare to get all that settled.
  • Use Facebook marketplace or Gumtree (the Australian Kijiji) to find couches, TVs, and other appliances. If you are looking for a TV or a couch, Facebook marketplace usually has people giving them away for free as long as you come pick them up.
  • The price for rent is almost always without utilities. Sometimes back in Canada you have your utilities paid by the owner and included in the price. Here, it almost always doesn’t include utilities so you will need to set that up yourself as well as internet.
  • Don’t cheap out on the internet. Home truly is where the WiFi connects automatically. Get unlimited Wifi for your place, because after studying you’ll want to relax and binge watch Netflix. Trust me.

Before I end this blog I’m going to list a couple websites you can use to find your accommodation! As always, may the odds be ever in your favour.  😉

Anthony out.
@anthony_caiazzo

First-year UQ physiotherapy student

Links

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

How to Get from Eh to Oz: Travel

Whether you consider yourself a travelling expert or not, the majority of your anxiety likely comes from picking up your life, packing it in a suitcase, and moving it across the world.

We’re here to help! In this “How to Get from Eh to Oz” blog, we’re going to discuss tips, tricks, and things to remember about travelling to Australia.

OzTREKK travel tips

Getting ready to travel!

Tip #1: Flight Rewards

Time to investigate flight rewards programs and Air Miles options (especially if you’ll be making the Canada-Australia trip a few times… you might as well snag a deal or some free stuff along the way).

The following flight rewards programs will allow you to collect points you can redeem for discounts on future flights or in exchange for other great perks like cash back, flight upgrades, skipping the line…. We’re pretty sure most of you will be familiar with these babies!

You’ll also want to look into airlines that cross the Pacific and are based in Australia, as each airline will have their own rewards program (or one that’s linked to a group of airlines). And when you’re in Australia, take advantage of their budget airlines Jetstar and Scoot.

If you’re willing to do some searching, you’re bound to find the perfect rewards program for you and your lifestyle!

Tip #2: Pick a Route, Pick a Seat, Pack a Suitcase

Air Canada offers a direct flights to Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne from both Vancouver and Toronto, and you no longer have to fly via the U.S. (a big bonus, when you have a year’s worth of luggage and avoid US immigration!). Try to pre-select your seat for the long-haul flight portion and opt for a window or aisle seat. If you are travelling alone to Oz and don’t pre-select a seat, you will often get allocated a middle seat, which is not ideal for a 14- to 15-hour plane trek. Ick.

Pack a set of summer clothes to wear when you disembark, and change in the airport in Oz when you arrive, so that once your luggage comes out and you clear customs, you’re already dressed in shorts and flip-flops, ready to enjoy some lovely Aussie weather. Keep in mind, our seasons are reversed!

For your carry-on luggage, designate a specific compartment of your bag where all important documents will be placed, such as your boarding passes, passport and wallet, Confirmation of Enrolment/Letter of Offer so they are handy and easy to access and won’t get lost in the shuffle of your luggage.

Tip #3: Download Netflix Series/Movies

This is a great opportunity to catch up on all those series your friends are talking about. Download the episodes in advance on Wi-Fi and delete them as you watch them; this will help make room for all those amazing pics you’re going to take.

Tip #4: Stay hydrated

May seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be suprised at how many people “forget” to drink enough water when flying/travelling. If a flight attendant goes by with water, you should probably fill up.

Tip #5: Travel Register

It’s important to think about safety when travelling and while you might be lost in the thrill of it, it’s crucial to take the right precautions. A great idea is your national travel register.

Even if you don’t register and you need emergency consular assistance while in Australia/travelling, the Government of Canada will still help you. You do not need to register for Registration of Canadians Abroad to receive consular services. The Canadian Consular Services Charter outlines the assistance the Government of Canada can provide in an emergency situation.

The Government of Canada strongly recommends that all Canadian citizens travelling or living abroad sign up for Registration of Canadians Abroad. It allows the government to contact you to provide important information in advance of an emergency abroad and to send you information on how to stay safe and secure as you travel.

The decision to travel is your responsibility, so remember to

  • find the location and contact information for the Canadian embassy or consulate closest to your travel destination. Always keep this information close at hand while travelling in case you need emergency assistance. P.S. They’re on Facebook, too.
  • alert your university and your family in Canada of your address in Australia as soon as possible.

Tip #6: Enjoy yourself!

This is going to be an experience you will remember for a lifetime. Don’t stress about the little details because when you’re sitting on the pier looking at the Sydney Opera House, the cankles will have been well worth it!

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What are you predeparture questions? Send them our way: info@oztrekk.com or call us at 1-866-698-7355. We’ll get you ready to study in Australia!

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

How to Get from Eh to Oz: Money

When you’re getting ready to study in Australia, it’s common to think of the major stuff like getting your student visa, arranging flights, and acquiring accommodation, but there are a few things that sometimes get missed. The “From Eh to Oz” team wants to help you ensure you can pay for your schooling and living and that you have a heads up about everything involved when studying internationally, including finances!

money

Predeparture prep: Let’s talk about money!

Today, we will discuss a few main points:

  • CIBC Contest
  • Cost of Living
  • Transferring Your Money
  • Loans
  • Banking in Australia
  • Tax File Number

CIBC and the Student Life Network Full Ride Contest

CIBC and the Student Life Network Full Ride Contest is open to all Canadians. You have an opportunity to win $35,000 for tuition. You simply need to get a new CIBC student bank account, credit card, or line of credit and join the Student Life Network to enter. You must complete this by December 31, 2018 to be eligible.

Cost of Living in Australia

The average international student in Australia spends about $390 AUD per week on living expenses, approximately $20,290 AUD per year. This figure really depends on the city in which you live, whether you live on campus, just off campus or in a less expensive suburb near your university, and how frugal or reckless you are with your cash! Check out the Cost of Living comparison tool to get a better idea.

Transferring Your Money

Throughout your studies, you are likely going to need to get money to Australia to pay your tuition fees and living expenses. In general, a wire transfer (called a telegraphic transfer in Australia) is the most effective way to do this. There are a few options of which you should be aware. Paying attention to rates can save you thousands of dollars (in some cases over ten thousand dollars) over the course of your full degree.

Over the last few years, OzTREKK has been a proud supporter of Cohort Go, an Australian company specializing in international student services. The company is incredibly responsive, and our students are treated well—as they should be! Cohort Go allows students to make tuition payments in their local currency and convert their AUD tuition fees at a significantly lower foreign exchange rate while eliminating extra international money transfer fees from the equation. We have found this is the cheapest way to pay your tuition and save as much as $15,000 over the course of your studies. You just need to make a local bank transfer and Cohort Go takes care of your payment from there.

OzTREKK isn’t any getting any referral rewards, we just really think this is one of the best solutions available for our students.

Loans

OzTREKK students usually use a combination of professional student lines of credit, Canadian student loans, and personal / family savings to fund their studies. Canadian students who study outside Canada are eligible for loans provided by the federal government through the Canada Student Loans Program, in addition to loans provided by their province of residence. Provincially, students from Ontario can received $10,000, while BC students can receive $20,000, and Alberta students can receive $30,000. Please note that these are approximate amounts and your student loan will be release after your program has commenced.

Banking in Australia

Many OzTREKK students recommend you open a bank account before you leave for Australia as securing accommodation is often much easier when you have an Australian bank account!

Some Australian banks allow international students open an account online from overseas up to three months before you arrive—and many OzTREKK students recommend doing this. When you arrive in Australia, the bank will require you to show proof of identification in person at a bank branch.

  1. Your letter from the bank after you’ve opened the account
  2. Your passport
  3. Your student ID or proof of enrollment
  4. Australian cell phone number if you have one

Australia’s major national banks include

OzTREKK also recommends that you have a Canadian credit card with a reasonable maximum limit to take with you to Australia. It is not the best option for exchanging money from CAD to AUD and paying for things in Australia, but it may be helpful for emergencies and when you first arrive in Australia while you are setting up an Australian bank account.

#OzTREKKTip: Find out which bank has a branch on your university campus!

Tax File Number (TFN)

When you apply for your Australian student visa, make sure that you write down your Transaction Reference Number TFN (also called Tax Identification Number TIN) at the end, and save and print copies of the forms and receipts. A TFN reduces the tax rate you need to pay, and is required if you plan to work in Australia and for lodging tax returns. International students who are enrolled in a course that is longer than 6 months are considered residents for tax purposes.

Organisations such as banks, financial institutions and employers are entitled to ask for your TFN. For more information about TFNs and to apply, go to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website.

It may be necessary for you to file a tax return with the Canadian government for the year(s) you were studying in Australia. Visit the Canada Revenue Agency for more information.

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Stay tuned for more OzTREKK Predeparture tips! Questions or concerns? Please let us know! Email us at info@oztrekk.com or call toll free at 1-866-698-7355.

Friday, November 2nd, 2018

OzTREKK’s medicine students talk about their first impressions of Australia

You’re almost there! Only a few short weeks and you’ll be heading off to the Land Down Under!

We know you have a lot on your plates right now, but we’d like to encourage you by sharing former OzTREKK medicine students‘ first impressions of Australia and how they are getting along in their medical programs. No surprise—no one misses Canadian winters!

OzTREKK's medicine students talk about their first impressions of Australia

OzTREKK students (now at UQ Med School!) at our 2017 Predep Meet & Greet

Med students share their first impressions of Australia and their programs

Settling into Australia has been very easy thus far. I’m not missing the cold weather and snow in Canada all that much haha! – Monash medicine student, Aaron

Things are going great! I survived my first week of medical school and I’m really excited for what the first year of medical school will be like. It was initially really stressful moving in because of the many things that I had to do after landing, but all is well now. I have settled in pretty well and I’m really enjoying my time in Australia. I have met some amazing students and staff members and everyone is really helpful and supportive! – Monash medicine student, Simran

Things are going great.  I’m fairly lucky as my partner came with me and my dog arrives from Canada in a week so it is easy to make this feel like home!  I love the snow but its hard to miss the cold with the beach so close 😛 … I got the chance to head down to Byron Bay last weekend and that was definitely a highlight.  Its nice having it so close.  I will have to try make it a more regular trip when I have the time! – Griffith medicine student Kevin

Everything is been going well. Settling in with the workload and getting to know the coast quite well. Highlights have got to be the beaches and the surf. So different than home. – Griffith medicine student, Jonathan

Things are starting to be sorted now and I’m feeling more organized.  No time for fun for me. The program has been pretty full on. I’m definitely not missing out Canadian winter though. – Griffith medicine student, Julia

I have been good since moving down under. The first month was quite hectic, trying to settle in and get used to the Aussie way of life, but I think I have managed pretty well. I will say, they are not big fans of Winter Olympics here. Especially on the Gold Coast, all eyes here are to the Commonwealth Games in April. – Griffith medicine student, Nishu

So far it going pretty well. I haven’t stopped sweating since I’ve arrived, but I don’t miss the snow one bit. I’ve explored a bit, but plan on doing much more. The Gold Coast is just amazing. I’m finding things are going well, but it’s really picking up and a lot of work. I’m really enjoying it though. – UQ medicine student, Kate

I feel settled as our workload intensifies in week 2 but, I really enjoy the program. I don’t miss the snow one bit! I was able to do some exploring the week prior and went to the botanical gardens, koala sanctuary, and surfers paradise! I have to say, the koalas are to die for! – UQ medicine student, Kevin

Everything has been good! I made plenty of friends, explored the city. School has been manageable although disorganized, and I miss home a bit. Overall, it has been good. – UQ medicine student, Kevin

Don’t forget! We are hosting our 2018 Predeparture Meet & Greets starting this weekend!

Toronto: Saturday, November 3
Calgary: Saturday, November 11
Vancouver: Saturday, November 13

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Don’t forget: You can get useful predeparture tips on the OzTREKK Boarding Pass!  If you have not yet received your invitation to attend an upcoming Meet & Greet, please contact your OzTREKK admissions officer or call 1-866-698-7355. See you soon!

Monday, October 29th, 2018

Get ready for your OzTREKK Predeparture Meet & Greet!

Get ready for your OzTREKK Predeparture Meet & Greet!

Getting ready to study in Australia? We got your back.

When we talk about predeparture preparation, we’re talking about the whole kit and caboodle: understanding your offer letter, learning about OSHC, student visas, money, accommodation options, travel… and more!

We also know that you are about to fly around the globe to the other side of the planet, and while this is an exciting time in your life, it’s also a bit stressful.

OzTREKK Predeparture Meet & Greets

Don’t miss the OzTREKK Predeparture Meet & Greets!

Cue OzTREKK.

To help alleviate as much stress as we can, last year we decided to “upgrade” our predeparture services by making our in-person events as rewarding as possible!

So what does this mean for you?

In a few short weeks, you will be an international student in Australia. An OzTREKK Predeparture Meet & Greet will guide you through the final steps as you prepare to live and study in Australia. It is also a great opportunity to meet other students who will be at your university and in your program (aka future roommates)! Whether you have already accepted your offer, will be doing so in the next couple of weeks, or are yet to meet the conditions of your offer, you are invited to attend.

OzTREKK in-person Predeparture Meet & Greets

Toronto: Saturday, November 3
Calgary: Saturday, November 11
Vancouver: Saturday, November 13

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Don’t forget: You can get useful predeparture tips on the OzTREKK Boarding Pass!  If you have not yet received your invitation to attend an upcoming Meet & Greet, please contact your OzTREKK admissions officer or call 1-866-698-7355. See you soon!

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

How to Get from Eh to Oz: Accommodation

So, are you ready to go apartment hunting?

If you’re a little nervous, that’s completely understandable. But hundreds of former OzTREKK students have done it—and so can you! We have assisted thousands of students understand the steps required to securing accommodation in Australia—and we haven’t lost a student yet.

OzTREKK Student Tips: understanding accommodation in Australia

Don’t let finding accommodation stress you out!

First, do your best to arrive a few weeks before Orientation gets going. This will give you enough time to find suitable accommodation and settle in before classes commence. Many OzTREKK students have told us that it takes 2–3 weeks to find accommodation (sometimes longer), especially in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. And keep in mind that if you arrive just after Christmas, you can bet real estate agents are still on holidays!

Things to consider…

  • Ensure you have temporary accommodation arranged.
  • Be prepared financially for the time you may need to spend in temporary accommodation.
  • Make housing your first priority.
  • Avoid rushing your house hunting. Feeling rushed can hinder your ability to make wise choices.
  • Be informed. Before you arrive, read as much as you can about the various housing options and how to arrange them. Then you can get straight into house hunting after you arrive, rather than trying to figure out where to go and what to do.
  • Have a bank account set up before you get to Australia—you usually cannot pay bonds and deposits in cash!
  • It’s okay to choose on-campus accommodation for the first semester/year! Lots of OzTREKK students do this. Easy-peasy!

“Be prepared for it to take over one month to find a place—this is something a lot of people have told me they experienced. Try and find an airbnb close to your school. Look on Facebook Marketplace. Check out the place before you make a commitment. Check how often public transport runs in that area, preferably trams and trains.” OzTREKK student Yewande A

1. Think about your needs and budget.

Like most of the decisions you are making as you prepare to become an international student, there are many issues to consider. Your accommodation options in Australia are varied, and when searching for off-campus housing, you will need to contemplate location, public transportation accessibility, proximity to campus and shopping, lifestyle, your study habits, and cost, among other factors.

2. Understand your rights and responsibilities as a tenant in Australia.

As an international student, it is important for you to review and understand your rights and responsibilities for renting property in the Australian state in which you are planning to rent. Visit Australian Government: Buying, selling or renting property for more info.

3. Research your long-term accommodation options.

To begin your research for accommodation, you need to know how to find and view rental properties. Generally, most Australians would view private rental listings via the internet (e.g., realestate.com.au, or craigslist), in their local newspaper or through a local real estate agent, who will provide a listing of local rental properties currently available. Most Australians rent an apartment or house through a real estate agent, who acts as the landlord for the property owner.

Take the time to explore your Australian university’s “Accommodation” website. Most universities have extensive information about where to look, which suburbs you should consider, and outline your choices for on-campus and off-campus housing. For off-campus accommodation, most Australian universities have private rental databases for students to explore options before they arrive in Australia. So many tips!

It is recommended that you do not pre-book rental accommodation (unless it’s student housing), but use the private rental database to become familiar with your options before arriving in Australia.

“Start looking at realestate.com.au before you come. Make sure to have previous landlord references. Give yourself more time than you think you need to get into a place (there’s more paperwork and waiting involved than in Canada). Start getting to know the area where your university is early (like how close grocery stores are/other common places you would go). Google Maps is your friend!” OzTREKK student Devon L.

4. Know how to secure off-campus accommodation.

Here is a general overview of the process to secure a private rental apartment or house in Australia:

Complete a Rental Application: This application will have to be approved in order for you to begin your tenancy. It’s a good idea to prepare an “accommodation folder” with copies of everything you may need. We highly recommend you bring the following documents with you from Canada, as you may be asked for these when applying for a rental property:

  • receipts from previous landlords
  • reference letters from previous landlords
  • passport/visa
  • driver’s licence
  • student card
  • health card
  • bank statement / evidence of money to pay your rent and bond deposit

Sign a Tenancy Agreement: Once your application is approved, the real estate agent or landlord will give you the tenancy agreement to read, understand and sign. Any questions should be directed to the real estate agent or landlord for clarification. Keep a signed copy of this.

“Pair up with an Australian; it’s easy to stick to what you know, but it’s great experiencing more of the Aussie culture. Real estate also goes very quick, so what you see two weeks before probably won’t be available when you get there. Use flatmates.com and post in the uni Facebook groups to find someone you are compatible with.” OzTREKK student Kleopatra M

Pay a Bond and Rent Advance: Most properties require a bond, or security deposit, to be placed on the property when a rental application is accepted. This is usually the cost of one month’s rental. The security deposit is paid into the Residential Tenancy Bond Authority (RTBA)—a government body—and it remains in this trust account until you vacate the property.

The bond will be refunded at the end of your lease if you return the property in the same condition (excluding reasonable wear and tear) as when your tenancy began. You will also need to pay your landlord a rental advance (usually the first month’s rent) up front to secure the property. These funds go to the landlord as part of his rental earnings.

To complete this phase, you pay the bond and the amount of rent required in advance. The real estate agent or landlord will give you a bond lodgement form to complete and sign. Keep a signed copy of this. You will then receive a receipt from the RTBA within seven days of receiving the bond. Keep this receipt as you will need to access your bond money at the end of your tenancy!

Complete a Condition Report: The real estate agent or landlord then fills in a property condition report and marks down what he/she believes to be the condition of the premises. You can then make comments on what you believe to be the condition of the premises and hand in the condition report within seven days.

How to protect yourself

  • Never pay a deposit on a private rental until you’ve seen it in person.
  • Always inspect a property in person. If the landlord doesn’t let you, move on.
  • Search the property online and find out where it is and if it suits your needs.
  • Ask about all the terms and conditions of your stay.
  • Try to look for accommodation through official channels and websites rather than through forums and social media.
  • Keep copies of all correspondence with the people you’re renting from.
  • When you find a place you like, take your time going through it when you’re filling out your condition report. Take photos if you think you should!

Consider on-campus or managed student housing

Offered at all our universities, on-campus residences can be individual bedrooms or shared bedrooms with shared facilities. These on-campus residences are called “colleges.” Some have everything included, like meals, furniture, internet, etc. OzTREKK recommends on-campus accommodation for all high-school leavers or if you would prefer the convenience of “just getting it over with!” Many OzTREKK student choose this as the first step, then meet new people (future roommates!) and decide to get an apartment.

“Living on campus is a great option. It’s fully furnished and can be organised before you even arrive in Australia. I haven’t had any issues with my accommodations and it’s so close to campus. Living in a private rental would be a cheaper option, but finding roommates and a place to stay beforehand may be challenging.” OzTREKK student Aaron E

Managed student housing is sometimes off campus. These are similar to on-campus colleges and are student-purposed apartments. These are usually fully furnished and either managed by the university or through a private company. Students living in these apartments are usually self-sufficient, although it may be possible to purchase meal plans. Students are usually responsible for connecting and paying for utilities such as water, telephone, electricity and gas in their own name and at their own cost. They can be booked in advance, from home.

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We’re here to help! Please reach out to us if you have questions about securing accommodation and getting settled to study in Australia! Contact your admissions officer or call us at 1-866-698-7355.

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

How to Get from Eh to Oz: Student Visa Tips

How to Get from Eh to Oz: Student Visa Tips

Okay, folks! It’s time to talk about getting your Australian student visa!

Keep in mind that OzTREKK is not an official immigration agent of Australia, and so while we are happy to provide you with information and guidance about requirements in general, you will need to contact the Global Service Centre in Australia directly with any specific visa-related questions. Of course you’re welcome to run things by us first, but you will usually need to confirm details with the visa office.

Onward! Here are some important tips for you to consider before, during, and after you complete the application.

Australian Student Visa Application Tips

How to Get from Eh to Oz: Getting your student visa

Valid Passport
Have a valid Canadian passport before you apply for your visa. If you renew your passport after applying for your visa, your passport number will not match your visa details. It is best to apply for your student visa with the passport you will use to enter Australia.

Health Check
At the end of your online visa application session, you will be notified if you are required to have a health check. You are encouraged to complete your online visa application before you book a medical appointment with a panel doctor. If you are required to do a medical exam/health check, it must be done by one of the doctors in Canada who have been approved by the Australian High Commission. These doctors are referred to as “panel doctors.”

Learn more about arranging your health examination. (https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa/Heal/meeting-the-health-requirement/arranging-a-health-examination)

Learn more about approved Australian visa panel doctors across Canada. (https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about/contact/offices-locations/canada)

Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE)
This section simply asks you to indicate that you are entering Australia for genuine reasons and provides you with a section to write a statement and upload documents. As a student, you will want to cover things such as your choice of course, your choice of education provider, your choice to study in Australia, what benefit you believe your study will have for your future career plans and what ties you have to your home country. As well, you could include a copy of your offer letter or anything else you think might support your being a genuine student.

Financial Capacity Requirements
You need to have enough money that is genuinely available to you to pay for your course fees and travel and living costs for you and your accompanying family members (if applicable) while you are in Australia. You might need to provide evidence of your financial capacity with your visa application. If you need to provide evidence of financial capacity, you will be able to demonstrate this by providing one of the following:

  • Evidence of funds to cover travel to Australia and 12 months’ living, course and (for school-aged dependents) schooling costs for the student and accompanying family members
  • Evidence that you meet the annual income requirement
  • A letter of support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or Department of Defence.

Response Times Vary
Application response times can vary. Applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and actual processing times vary due to individual circumstances including

  • whether you have lodged a complete application, including all necessary supporting documents;
  • how promptly you respond to any requests for additional information;
  • how long it takes to perform required checks on the supporting information provided; and
  • how long it takes to receive additional information from external agencies, particularly in relation to health, character, and national security requirements.

Declare All Family Members
Declare all family members on your application, even if they do not plan to travel with you to Australia. If you do not do this, your family members will not be eligible to join you in Australia on your student visa. If you did not declare a family member and they need to join you in Australia at a later date, you will need to apply for a new student visa including them and explain why they were not included on your application. An exception to this is if they became your family members after your student visa was granted and before a subsequent application is made.

OSHC Policy Number
Ensure you have OSHC policy number. If you purchased this through the university, your CoE should have this. If it’s not there, let your OzTREKK admissions officer know right away. If you have purchased your OSHC independently, the policy number will not be on the CoE, but you will want to have that available to you for the visa application. If you have a partner and/or a child coming with you, they need to be on your visa and your OSHC plan.

ImmiAccount
You can log in to your ImmiAccount (https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/trav/visa/immi) at any time to check the status of your visa application. Your student visa grant notification will be emailed you by the Australian government. It’s a good idea to save this email and print out a copy of the email and take it with you in your carry-on luggage to Australia.

Need more student visa tips? Check out Tips to prepare your Australian student visa application!

Coming up next on your predeparture journey… accommodation!  And don’t forget: if you need help at any time, please feel free to contact us at info@oztrekk.com or call toll free at 1-866-698-7355.

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

Introducing your “How to Get from Eh to Oz!” predeparture guide

Getting ready to study in Australia is probably the most stressful for most students. But it doesn’t have to be!

By using a combination of past student surveys and our own expertise, we have come up with an informative guide to get you ready for your big move!

How to Get from Eh to Oz Prep Guide

How to Get from Eh to Oz! Prep Guide

This predeparture guide will involve a series of videos, emails, webinars, and blogs to keep you on track during the weeks leading up to your arrival in Australia.

The webinars will feature detailed info and specific guidance (like university-specific accommodation), so you can tune in and ask questions in a live setting. Bonus? Videos and webinars will be made available as a playlist, so you can refer to them at any time!

What will you learn about?

  • Student Visa – Review the student visa process and what you can expect.
  • Accommodation – The latest information on accommodation options in Australia. Learn exactly where OzTREKK students have stayed.
  • Money – Review cost of living in Australia, banking, loans, transferring money, etc.
  • Travel – Get you prepared to pack, fly, land, and more!

Our First From Eh to Oz Webinar
The “From Eh to Oz 101” webinar will be held Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 6:30 p.m. EDT. This webinar will cover everything you may encounter while getting ready to go to Australia. Get your questions answered!

Facebook Group
We have created a private Facebook group for OzTREKK students with CoEs and offers. Feel free to post questions—OzTREKK staff will be able to help. There might even be a contest or two!

Contact List
Connect with fellow students, classmates, and potential roommates! If you’re interested in connecting with others, add your name and info to this list!

Predeparture Meet & Greets
We hold super-amazing meet-ups in Toronto, Vancouver and Alberta (locations TBD) in early November that you must attend (okay, not mandatory, but it should be 😉). This is a great opportunity to meet future roommates, OzTREKK staff, and have any last-minute questions answered.

OzTREKK Boarding Pass
Your predeparture one-stop shop! The OzTREKK Boarding Pass is a great resource to get you ready to go to Australia. We encourage you to browse this site thoroughly. This is where you’ll find detailed predep info about student visas, accommodation, airport arrival, cost of living, travel options, and much more—including student reviews about where they live!

Check-in Survey
We’ll check in with you to gauge how you are feeling. If you are feeling prepared and ready, awesome! If you are feeling overwhelmed and confused, that’s okay too, and we will help you accordingly!

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So stay tuned… and don’t forget, we are always just an email or phone call away! Have questions? Give us a call at 1-866-698-7355 or email info@oztrekk.com.

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

Your Australian University Orientation Survival Guide

I cannot believe that plane tickets are being booked! I really can’t believe we’re well into “predeparture” and are starting to quickly get to orientation time—both with your Australian university and with OzTREKK!

I will not lie: OzTREKK Orientations are my single-most exciting time of the year. Beyond the whole “skipping winter” thing, there’s something a little magical about being able to observe, first-hand, so many lives changing. I tell all my friends that I really do feel our office is lucky to play even a teeny role as our students are on their way to becoming doctors, dentists, physios, vets.

Your Australian University Orientation Survival Guide

Learning what classes will be like at UQ med school

The first thing I want to promise you is that something is going to go wrong.

Our goal at the office is to try to ensure that the thing that goes wrong isn’t giant—but just be prepared. You’re travelling around the world, you’re losing days, you’re bringing luggage and your stomach is full of nerves. A little hiccup here or there is really a part of the experience, right? 😊

Anyway, outside of trying to remain as calm as possible, I thought I’d put together a few tips for you to try to make your first few weeks in Australia a really exciting and enjoyable time:

Be mentally (and physically) prepared for the weather

You’re leaving in the worst of winter and you’re arriving in the best / worst of summer. Take your vitamin C, drink water and get a lot of rest—your body is going to need it. You are going to have a shock. In OzTREKK Orientation 2015, I left Ottawa with a -40 degree wind-chill and I landed in Brisbane where it was a steamy +33. It was hot. I mean, it’s great when you settle but it’s a bit of a shock to the ol’ body!

Give yourself some time

I totally understand the desire to maximize every minute at home, but don’t forget that you’re making such a giant investment in time and money that you don’t want to short-change it! We recommend giving yourself at least a week to settle, get over jet lag, get your bearings, meet some people and be prepared for the start of classes. If you are hunting for housing when you arrive, you will want to give yourself at least two weeks. If the stars align and you have a week off, then get yourself to a beach, explore your city and try to embrace the Aussie lifestyle!

Your Australian University Orientation Survival Guide

The OzTREKK Shuttle—we legit fit everything in there!

Attend the OzTREKK Orientation

In the leading-up to your orientation, you received an invitation to attend an OzTREKK breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Depending on the number of the students, it may be a casual fish and chips, or it might be a large breakfast. Either way, I promise you, you will not regret going.

Last year at the UQ MD orientation, I remember thinking that all participants got a head-start: their tour involved the best places to sit in class, tips on the anatomy labs, the secret study spots, and guidance on how to start out strong on your PBL. It really was valuable! And it also means that you’ll get a really great opportunity to network with your future cohort. You’ll meet people in your program and not. You’re going to be there for years, so take this opportunity to make some friends when you land!

Get out and explore

Sometimes with all the prep of immunizations, enrollment, offers and deposits, this fact can be lost: you are going to study at a world-class institution in Australia! ENJOY it! Spend a little time and prep your “before I leave bucket list” and do some dreaming. You’re in an incredible country and there is a lot to see. Explore the little things (the great night market in the Gold Coast) to the big things (um, the Great Barrier Reef?)—there is a lot to do everywhere. I remember a rural dental student years ago saying, “If you’re bored, it’s not because of your surroundings.”

Anyway… the clock is ticking and the days are sliding by. I can’t wait to get on that plane (I’m a person who loves the plane—a delightful mix of sleep and so much TV)!

See you all in Oz!

Jaime.

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Have you received your OzTREKK Orientation invitation? If you haven’t, please let us know by emailing your Admissions Officer or info@oztrekk.com.