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Posts Tagged ‘international student in Australia’

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

OzTREKK office closed for Christmas holidays

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

OzTREKK office closed for Christmas holidays

Enjoy your break!

It was our pleasure to assist all of you over the past year. We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season, and we can’t wait to help our new students in the new year and greet our current students in Australia for OzTREKK Orientations!

Don’t forget to visit the OzTREKK Boarding Pass for the latest information about your Australian university orientation dates, accommodation options, student visa tips, and much more!

Like our Australian universities, the OzTREKK office will be closed during Christmas and the New Year—from Friday, Dec. 22 at noon to Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, and will reopen at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018—bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!


If you are a current OzTREKK student getting ready to study in Australia for semester 1, 2018 intake and you have an emergency, please contact OzTREKK at info@oztrekk.com, as it will be checked periodically during the holidays.

Friday, November 24th, 2017

Driving in Australia

You’re going to study in Australia. At first, you may live on campus. Then, when you’re comfortable and have made friends, you may choose to live off campus in the city. While city transit may work for some people, others may be interested in driving themselves around!

Driving in Australia

Be prepared to look right, left, right!

Relearning to drive (on the opposite side of the road) can be a little intimidating. OzTREKK Admissions Manager Nicole Bowes has been to Australia oh, just a few times, and knows what it’s like to drive on the left side of the road. Here are some of Nic’s “driving in Australia” tips for everyone!

On my most recent Australian adventure, I made the daring decision to drive on the other side of the road. While I had done this once previously in England and it was a success, I had some reservations about doing it again. I should have probably started by saying that I am an extremely nervous driver in my own car on a clear day in Canada.

Now that I am on the other side of my Australian driving experience (and I came out unscathed) I thought I would share my journey with you.

Many of our students will drive while they are Down Under and some will even purchase a car during their time. If you don’t want to commit and buy a car and just want to go for a bit of joy ride to see the sights, renting a car in Australia is super easy. You will want to educate yourself before driving in Australia to make sure you are following all rules and licensing procedures.

Much like here in Canada, transportation is pretty great in most places around Australia, but if you really want to get a feeling for living like a local, driving around can help you see things off the beaten path. Most airports have a selection of rental companies to choose from, and in a lot of places you can pick up in one location and drop off at another. You can also find a car via different car share companies and local rental offices, too.

Driving in Australia

Nicole, a little freaked out as the passenger…

I recently flew from Sydney to the Gold Coast and picked my rental up right from the airport. The Gold Coast was super easy to get around as there is a main highway running close to the ocean that gets you to most places. The trick is to not stare at the ocean while you drive.

I drove from the Gold Coast to Byron Bay, which is about an hour, and made the following observations:

  • I never use my emergency brake in my automatic car. Do you? I pulled the rental out of the rental parking lot and could not figure out why the car was beeping at me. Turns out, the e-brake (referred to as the hand brake Down Under) is used all the time. Park the car, set the brake. Start the car, take the brake off.
  • Your signal lever is now your windshield lever and your windshield lever is now your signal lever. You will accidentally wipe your windows a number of times when you first start driving. It’s okay. The best part comes when you realize you aren’t doing it anymore!
  • Right-hand turns aren’t easy anymore. Left hand turns are.

My most stressful moment occurred in my first large roundabout. As I was coming in to the roundabout I jumped back in to Canadian driving mode and turned right to head around the circle. I should have gone with the flow of traffic and kept left. I immediately knew something was off… because there was a car coming straight at me. I stopped my car, took a deep breath and turned myself in to the closest lane of traffic going with the flow of traffic. I was heading away from my destination, but was able to turn around at the next road and make it back through the roundabout successfully!

The best advice I can give to you if you plan to drive in Australia is to be patient with yourself (this applies to most things in life!). Pay attention. Go slow in to the first few turns and the first few roundabouts. It won’t take very long to get used to and before you know it, you won’t hit the windshield wipers to turn or try to climb in through the passenger door!

Planning on driving in Australia, or buying a car? Make sure you get in touch to ask questions about each state process for licensing.

Monday, November 20th, 2017

Thank you for attending the OzTREKK Pre-departure Meet & Greets!

At OzTREKK, we are proud to assist our students in any way we can—including holding in-person pre-departure get-togethers, which have now morphed into full-blown Meet & Greets!

Sydney Dental School

Of course we had pizza!

Our pre-dep prep aims to guide students through the final steps as they prepare to live and study in Australia.We planned them this way so everyone has the opportunity to meet other students who will also be travelling to Australia to study—and to meet future friends and roommates.

Because each year gets bigger and better, this year we hit Toronto and Vancouver and Calgary, and we are so pleased we had a chance to meet you!

This year was so amazing. Many of our OzTREKK students and some of their family members joined us for these important meet-ups, and, as always, it was just as fun for OzTREKK staff as it was for the students! What a great way to prepare for your trek to Australia and get the latest 4-1-1 on what to expect—and meet some students who will be studying with you!

So, we send out a big thank you to everyone who came out to participate, and especially to Cathy and Bob Belanger, who helped us organise the OzTREKK Parents’ Network—it is very appreciated! We hope you all enjoyed your time with us, and if you have any suggestions for future Meet & Greets, please send them our way!

Australian medicine degrees
Tim Tam slam!
Australian universities
Australian universities
Signing in
Australian medicine degrees
Toronto Meet & Greet
Australian universities
Getting ready for trivia time
Australian universities
Parents’ Network in action


Monash medicine
Simran is heading to Monash Med School!
University of Sydney Dental School
Future Sydney dental student, Konnar, and family
Griffith University dentistry
Griffith dent student Monica and her lovely mom
Griffith Dental School
Monica G, trivia winner
UQ Dental School
Carly R, trivia winner
UQ Medical School
Yasaman M, trivia winner


Would you like more information about how you can study in Australia? Are you getting ready to go and have questions? Contact us at info@oztrekk.com or call us toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.

Friday, January 13th, 2017

How expensive is it to live in Australia?

Cost of Living in Australia

How expensive is it to live in Australia?

Your adventure in Australia awaits!

It can be challenging to advise students how much it will cost for one year of living expenses, as this depends on where a student lives and his/her lifestyle and spending habits. Obviously, a student living in Melbourne will have higher expenses than a student in Townsville.

Generally speaking, the cost of living in Australia is comparable to Canada. Most OzTREKK students find that living in Australia is more expensive than living in North America, especially clothing and dining out.

According to Australian Government records, the average international student in Australia spends approximately $380 AUD per week on living expenses, and this includes international and domestic travel costs. 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 in spending your cash!

As an international student in Australia, we recommend you factor in the following estimated costs:

  • Tuition: Know the cost per year and the cost per program in Australian dollars (as outlined on your offer letter). Note that tuition fees will increase each year of your program.
  • General living costs: $19,830 AUD per year
  • Travel: Can be up to $2,400 CAD (return airfare to/from Canada; you could also consider a one-way ticket, although this won’t be significantly less if you fly in January/February, which is peak season)
  • Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC): Approximately $500 AUD for 12 months for a single person
  • Australian student visa application fee: $550 AUD (one-time fee)

Of course, you must include things like internet, phone, clothes, activities, food, etc. Insider Guides has a very handy Cost of Living Calculator so you can choose your city and your living arrangements to get a ballpark idea of what you’ll be spending per month.


Need more moving-to-Australia tips? Contact OzTREKK!

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

Driving in Australia is easier than you think

As an international student studying in Australia, understanding the country’s traffic system is essential. When OzTREKK staff and students head to Australia for the first time, getting used to looking right then left can become a bit tricky, but everyone gets the hang of it!

With Australians driving on the left side of the road, it can be a challenging adjustment for Canucks who are used to driving cars on the right side. In most Australian states and territories (the exception is the Northern Territory), you are able to drive on a overseas licence as long as it is current. You can only drive vehicles which your overseas licence authorises you to drive and you must drive according to any conditions on your overseas licence. Here’s a breakdown by state:

Look left! Driving in Australia is easier than you think

You will get used to driving on the left. You will!

New South Wales
As you will be in NSW for more than three months, you can be issued with a Temporary Overseas Visitor licence. If you’ve been driving for more than three years, you’ll be issued an unrestricted licence. If you’ve been driving for fewer than three years, but more than 12 months, you’ll be issued a Provisional P2 driver’s licence. However, with both, driving and knowledge tests may be required. Also keep in mind that you cannot, by law, hold more than one licence at a time in Australia. Once you’ve been issued with a NSW licence, including a learner licence, it becomes the authority under which you can drive or ride on NSW roads. Your overseas licence is not recognised and has no authority while you hold a NSW licence.

Queensland You can drive in Queensland if you have a valid overseas licence; however, it is important to understand the state’s rules. Be sure to contact the Queensland Government for restrictions and other important info.

Victoria You must be at least 18 years of age to get a driver’s licence in Victoria. You will be issued a P1 probationary driver licence if you are under 21 years of age and have held an overseas driver licence for less than 12 months from your 18th birthday. You will be issued a P2 probationary driver licence if you are under 21 years of age and have held your overseas driver licence for more than 12 months, or are 21 years of age or older and have held your overseas probationary driver licence for less than three years. You will be issued with a full Victorian driver licence if you are 21 years of age or older and have held your overseas  probationary driver licence for at least three years, or hold or have held an overseas full driver licence.

Driving tips

Here are some tips on navigating your vehicle in Australian traffic and knowing what to look for as a pedestrian.

Look left! Driving in Australia is easier than you think

An Aussie reminder for those on a one way… seems natural for the Canadian though!

In the driver’s seat When driving on the left, you’re going to be tempted to inch away from the right-hand side in an effort to stay clear of the oncoming traffic. While it’s good to be cautious, you may find yourself inching too far to the left, either on the shoulder or a neighbouring lane. To ground yourself, place your right foot straight. This will help you understand where your right tire is located, thus giving you a better idea about spacing.

Merry go round We’ve got a quite few in Canada now, and we’re getting more every year! Roundabouts are extremely common in Australia and Europe. If you don’t understand how roundabouts work, you will! Roundabouts keep the flow of traffic going and don’t depend on lights to navigate traffic.

  • Traffic in a roundabout flows in a clockwise direction in Australia.
  • In a two-lane roundabout, you keep to the left lane if you’re turning left or going straight ahead.
  • You keep to the right lane if you’re turning right. You can also use the right lane in a two-lane roundabout if you’re going straight ahead.
  • You use your left-turn signal for a left turn, the right-turn signal for a right turn. If you’re turning right and are on the right lane, switch on your left-turn signal when exiting. It has become law in New South Wales that motorists must signal left, in every instance, whenever exiting from a roundabout.

Walk this way
When crossing the street in Canada, we look left then right. You have to change your mind set for life Down Under. You must look right, as the cars will be coming from this direction. International visitors often look left and inch out onto the road without realizing the traffic is coming from the opposite direction. Before you get confident crossing the road, get into the habit of looking both ways.

Easy-peasy We know it seems intimidating, but before long, you’ll be whizzing around like a local and forget that traffic is opposite in the Great White North. Just ask OzTREKK Director Jaime Notman. She only turned her wipers on 56 times before she remembered the indicator switch was on the right.


Are you getting ready to go? What else can OzTREKK help you with? Make sure you log in to the OzTREKK Boarding Pass site to give you the inside scoop on becoming an international student in Australia!

Friday, November 18th, 2016

JCU medical student: Australian snacks you need to try

Former OzTREKK student Helena Xiang is back, and she’s got some snacking tips for everyone headed to JCU Medical School in Townsville, Queensland… and for everyone else, too!

Confession: I am a habitual snacker. There are always food packages sprawled across my desk for my convenience when I study. That’s why I’m always on the hunt for new snacks I’ve never tried before. I’ll be talking about different foods to try while you’re here.

When you travel, eating the food from that country is a way to experience their culture. Although Australia is very similar in culture (and food) as Canada and the US, you can still find some foods that are iconic or only available in Australia.

JCU med student: Australian snacks you need to try

Have you tried a Tim Tam slam?

Tim Tams

One of the most iconic Australian snacks, Tim Tams consist of cream between two biscuits and covered in chocolate. There are so many different types of flavours, including the original, three bean, mango, etc. This is probably one of the first snacks to try.


It’s an acquired taste. Only a thin layer of it on bread is needed. Any more than that and the taste becomes too strong. I heard that it tastes best in a grilled cheese sandwich. (OzTREKK note: Vegemite is a yeast-based product. It is extremely salty and bitter and most people won’t like it right away… or ever!)

JCU med student: Australian snacks you need to try

Do you dare to try Vegemite?

Red Rock Deli chips

These are really good chips, but really expensive (for a poor student on a budget). They have a selection of cool flavours that aren’t available where I’m from, like Wagyu Beef and Wasabi Cream, and Creamy Saffron and Sage. (OzTREKK note: Director Jaime Notman’s favourite flavour is Green Chilli & Coriander!)

JCU med student: Australian snacks you need to try

Red Rock Deli chips—Green Chilli & Coriander!

There are many other snacks that are worth trying, including the selection of Arnott’s biscuits, and some chocolate and candies.

On a side note: Townsville is a small city, and there aren’t that many restaurants and stores close to campus. I talked to some people I know on campus, and realized that not many people know of nice Asian stores and restaurants. If you’re like me, and enjoy eating Asian foods or want to find certain oriental ingredients, the following are a couple places worth visiting.

For oriental foods and groceries, such as frozen dumplings, steam buns, spices, and instant noodles, it’s worth visiting Oriental Food Supplies. It’s close by (near Stockland), and the prices are reasonable.

Sun’s Chinese Dumplings

Great dumplings and fairly cheap as well! It’s a family business, and they have free delivery to select places on certain days. Worth a try! You can visit their Facebook page.

Hope you enjoyed it, and happy eating!


Think you might be interested in studying at JCU Medical School? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Medical Schools Admissions Officer Courtney Frank at courtney@oztrekk.com for more information about your options!

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

OzTREKK pre-departure events a success!

At OzTREKK, we are proud to assist our students in any way we can—including holding in-person pre-departure get-togethers. Our pre-dep prep aims to guide students through the final steps as they prepare to live and study in Australia. It is also a great opportunity to meet other students who will also be travelling to Australia to study. This year, we hit Toronto and Vancouver, and we are so pleased we had a chance to meet you!

OzTREKK pre-departure events a success!

OzTREKK staff in the “photo booth”

This year, many of our OzTREKK students and some of their family members joined us for these important seminars, and, as always, it was just as fun for OzTREKK staff as it was for the students—just check out video slideshow! What a great way to prepare for your trek to Australia and get the latest 4-1-1 on what to expect—and meet some students who will be studying with you!

So, we send out a big thank you to everyone who came out to participate!

Next OzTREKK pre-departure webinar

Missed the in-person pre-dep events? No worries! You can still watch a live, online OzTREKK pre-departure webinar this Sunday!

For all students beginning Semester 1, 2017
Sunday, November 20 @ 8 p.m. EST

Check the time in your location with the Time Zone Converter.

Are you getting ready to go to Australia? Have you visited the OzTREKK Boarding Pass?

We created the OzTREKK Boarding Pass site to give you the inside scoop on becoming an international student in Australia. Here you can find out more about your student visa, accommodation, travel arrangements, banking, health coverage, and a lot more. Our goal is to get you organized, save time and money, and get to Oz with a smile on your face!


For more information and to register for an OzTREKK Pre-departure webinar, please contact us at info@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.

Friday, October 28th, 2016

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

When we talk about pre-departure prep, we’re talking about the whole kit and caboodle: understanding your offer letter, 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.

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

Former OzTREKK students during our pre-departure seminar


In a few short weeks, you will be an international student in Australia. An OzTREKK pre-departure webinar and in-person meet-up 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! Whether you have already accepted your offer, will be doing so in the next couple of weeks/months, or are yet to meet the conditions of your offer, you are invited to attend.

We strongly recommend that you attend a session!

OzTREKK’s Pre-departure In-person Events and Webinars

A few months ago, we surveyed current students, and one recurring suggestion was that OzTREKKers would like the opportunity to meet one another prior to landing in Australia. So, we’re taking that advice and are hosting a student meet-up and social event!

We have a fun event planned in Toronto and one planned for Vancouver as well, and you’re all invited! We are going to keep it casual, Australian and informative. We will have a few brief presentations, but the intention of the evening is for you to meet and build some lasting friendships. Don’t forget: meeting in person can equal meeting potential roommates and lifelong friends!

In-person OzTREKK Pre-dep Events

Vancouver: 4 p.m. Sunday, November 6
7 p.m. Sunday, November 13

OzTREKK Pre-departure Webinars

Think you might need to watch the webinar more than once? Be our guest and register for as many as you wish!

Tuesday, November 1 @ 4 p.m. EDT
Tuesday, November 3 @ 12 p.m. EST
Sunday, November 20 @ 8 p.m. EST

Check the time in your location with the Time Zone Converter.

Don’t forget: You can get useful pre-departure tips on the OzTREKK Boarding Pass

You will receive an email from your OzTREKK Admissions Officer for OzTREKK’s Pre-departure In-person Meet and Greet and Webinar details!

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

How to tell your family you want to study in Australia

You may already be a university graduate, but that doesn’t mean your parents won’t mind if you move, say, to the other side of the planet, and this is especially true for anyone who has just graduated high school!

You’d like to study in Australia, but knowing how to communicate this desire with your parents and family members may prove to be a bit tricky, especially if you’ve never been abroad for long periods of time. While some parents may be completely supportive of your adventures, others may be hesitant to wave at you from the tarmac. Whether you’re on either side of the spectrum, or fall somewhere in between, OzTREKK has some advice when it comes to approaching your parents and family members about the idea of studying in Australia.

How to tell your family you want to study in Australia

Some former OzTREKK students now studying dentistry at JCU

Determine the why

Yes, Australia is a beautiful country with lots of beaches, kangaroos, koalas, and a casual lifestyle. What else does it have to offer? For students, Australia pretty much has it all, which is why it currently hosts more than 490,000 international students, making it one of world’s most popular foreign study destinations.

Besides being a great experience, studying at an Australian university is a great way to gain an edge in an increasingly globalized economy. No matter which university or program you choose, international study in Australia will give you access to unique academic, professional and personal opportunities.

This is all fine and dandy, but what’s your reason? Once you determine that, you’re ahead of the game!

Research, research, research

What do you plan to study? Which Australian universities do you have in mind? Why is that? What makes this university better than that university? Simply slurring a “So I was thinking of going to Australia for school” while you’re visiting probably will result in a barrage of questions. Have your arsenal fully stocked, and make sure they’re not duds. Be sure to research the university and program, your accommodation and financial options, and all the pros and cons. Check university rankings, student reviews, graduate reviews, etc. Providing a plan to your parents will allow them to take your idea more seriously.

Listen to your parents/family

This is a two-way street. Though it may be tempting to dismiss any parental concerns, listening to their point of view will earn respect between both parties. If they know you’re listening to their opinion and considering their feedback, they’ll be more likely to reciprocate by lending an ear.

Outline expectations

If you intend to complete a four-year degree medical degree in Brisbane, how will you pay for it? How often would you come home to visit? Where will you live following graduation? Having these discussions before filling out application forms will put your parents at ease as they’ll know what to expect should you go down this avenue.

Attend OzTREKK events

OzTREKK provides multiple opportunities throughout the application and pre-departure phases to call, email, and meet with us in person so we can answer any questions you, or your parents, may have. Our pre-departure sessions are held across Canada and via webinar, giving you and your family an outline of how to best plan for your time in Australia.

After all, your family is your roots, and your education is your wings. Up, up, and away!


Would you like to study in Australia? Is right for you? Contact OzTREKK at info@oztrekk.com or 1-866-698-7355 to discover your options!

Friday, August 12th, 2016

Heading to New South Wales as an international student? This is for you!

Are you a future University of Sydney, University of Newcastle, or Macquarie University student?

Heading to New South Wales? This is for you!

Sydney Harbour Bridge

StudyNSW is excited to announce a new partnership with Service NSW offering dedicated and centralised information and referral advice to international students in New South Wales: the NSW International Student Support Service.

Service NSW delivers a broad range of transactions on behalf of the NSW Government.

International students can contact Service NSW via a 24/7 contact centre (13 77 88) , a website (www.service.nsw.gov.au), and service centres located across Sydney and NSW to undertake a range of everyday transactions such as applying for or transferring a driver’s licence or ordering an Opal card. Students will also be able to access referral information on support services provided by government agencies like NSW Fair Trading, the Overseas Student Ombudsman, NSW Police, the Fair Work Ombudsman and non-government organisations such as Redfern Legal Centre who provide free legal advice for international students in NSW.

International students can also access free verbal interpreter services if required, provided by the Translating and Interpreter Services (TIS) and funded by StudyNSW.