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Posts Tagged ‘international student in Australia’

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

OzTREKK Ambassadors: Life doesn’t stop when you’re in medical school

Griffith Medical School student Cameron Bowers would like to share some valuable advice for everyone considering studying medicine in Australia!

Griffith Medical School

Life doesn’t slow down when you’re in medical school!

We are so focused on the future.
I just need to finish my undergrad, then I’ll…
I just need to study for the MCAT, then I’ll…
When I finish with med school applications, then I’ll…
After I get prepared for medical school to start I’ll…
Once I get settled into med school I’ll…

But the truth is that life doesn’t ever really settle down, especially in this career that is so future-focused. It’s always about the next degree, the next exam, the next placement, the next specialty.

I was naïve in thinking that life would somehow magically settle down once I was finally in medical school, a goal I’d been working towards for years. That my days would just be classes, study groups and late nights of self-studying. Don’t get me wrong, all of those things happen, but life doesn’t stop just because you’re in medical school.

All of the normal stressors are there, just take away energy and time to deal with them.

When you go abroad for school you add new issues to deal with. They say Canadians actually have the hardest time with culture shock because it feels so similar to Canada here that it’s easy to forget it’s a different country—until something very different happens. Take holidays for example. Fun fact in Australia, all the supermarkets are closed on certain holidays (e.g., closed Good Friday but open Easter Sunday and Monday). It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but if you forget that all grocery stores in the country are closed on a certain day it can be rather difficult to get the last ingredients you need for dinner, potentially leading you to buying mozzarella cheese from a pizza restaurant.

When you’re far away for school your friends and family’s lives don’t stop either. Things happen and you suddenly have to learn how to deal with it while being 16 hours in the future. Phone calls and texts require an eight-hour delay sometimes for a reply. The best time to call home is in the morning, but those moments are limited because classes start at 8:30 a.m. most days. By the time you’re out of class at 4 p.m. it’s too late to call North America.

medical students

Try to take time for some adventure!

The truth is it’s hard to manage it all while attempting to stay on top of school. A lot of times I put school first and my to-do list grows week to week, but the pace of medical school doesn’t allow for anything other than full focus. I laughed the other day remembering what is was like to procrastinate when I was in my undergrad. There’s no option to procrastinate in medical school. You stop for a minute and everyone has already ran past you.

I wish I could offer some concrete advice for how to manage it all, but the truth is I am still trying to figure all this out. Some days I feel like I’m on top of the world: exercising, studying effectively, marking off my to-do list, eating healthy, making time for my relationship, making time for myself. But other days attending seven hours of lecture with only a 30-minute break in the middle is all I can accomplish and I try to tell myself that it’s okay.

It’s okay to not have all the answers right now. It’s okay to not pre-read for lectures for the sake of sleep the night before. It’s okay to have breakdowns and let it all out. It’s okay to wake up the next morning and be excited that you’re in medical school and one day you will become a doctor.

So for now, all I can say is wherever you are in your life and your career journey, try to be present and enjoy it. Life doesn’t happen in the future, and learning to be present, while never easy, is so important because none of us has a guarantee of what the future will bring.

Cameron
Griffith Medical School student

Follow Cameron on Instagram! @noborders.md

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Would you like more details about Australian medical schools? Contact OzTREKK’s Medicine Admissions Officer Amanda Rollich at amanda@oztrekk.com to learn more about your options!

Thursday, April 25th, 2019

OzTREKK Ambassadors: Transferring your money

In part one of my banking and finances blog, I talked about banking in Australia. Here, I’d like to chat about transferring your money!

transferring your money

Consider using a money transfer app

My first little bit of advice would be before you even arrive in Australia, go to a foreign exchange place and take out probably $500–$600 for the first couple weeks you are in Australia just to get settled in. Once you have the bank account set up and are actually in Australia, then you can think about transferring some money over.

Don’t use your bank to transfer funds

Do not use your bank when transferring money to Australia. Why? First, you will pay their exchange rate from CAD to AUD, which is outrageous and close to 3–4 cents on the dollar, worse than what you get with other transfer companies. Second, it will take weeks for your money to come in, and sometimes it doesn’t even come in full installments. Third, they will also change you an extra amount to deposit it into your account along with a bunch of other fees—just awful altogether.

The way that I transfer my money is through a third-party app called “TransferWise.” Now, this app only lets you transfer amounts of up to $9,500 at one time and $25k per week. I don’t see why you would need any more than that so this app is perfect. Unless of course you want to transfer all of your money at once (which I would highly suggest against), then you would have to go the direct wire transfer through a bank.

The TransferWise app is very easy to use. All you do is register for an account. They ask for two-factor identification as well as a bank statement or rent cheque to make sure you are a Canadian citizen living there before coming to Australia. Then once your account is verified, it is easy to go on and see what they are offering for rates. As an example, $9,500 CAD got me $10,041.85 AUD.

Keep an eye on the exchange rate

When you are using this app it will always tell you the current rate that you are getting and the rates will vary each minute. So, in saying that, please be careful and make sure you check the forecast before changing money over. Wait until the dollar is on a rise before transferring your money over. Because I was watching the rates, I made more than $400 on the exact same dollar amount transfer than a friend did—just by waiting a day and a half! This may seem small to you, but over the course of a two-year program (or longer) and transferring money over in small amounts, you could net a total of an extra $10k based on current standards, which would really help! I would also suggest to download a Forex (foreign exchange) currency converter that converts currencies in real time just to keep up to date.

That is the major basics of finances for Australia and if you have any questions at all about physiotherapy, finances, UQ, and Brisbane life don’t be afraid to DM me on my Instagram! I will be uploading weekly content and be following the top professionals in my field come this mid-semester break so stay tuned!

Anthony C, first-year UQ physiotherapy student

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Find out more about Anthony! Read part one of his “money” blog OzTREKK Ambassadors: Banking in Australia, or follow all our ambassadors’ stories!

Would you like to be an OzTREKK Ambassador? Let us know! Please contact us at social@oztrekk.com and share your stories!

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

OzTREKK Ambassadors: Banking in Australia

I feel like I can speak for the entire population of international students when I say that this is a very big financial decision that you are making to study abroad.

Don’t be taken aback by the fact that you are going to be looking at paying six figures for your education, but instead look at this as an investment for your dream job that you will have for the rest of your life.

Now, with all of that being said, let’s talk finances and banking in Australia.

study physiotherapy in Australia

When in Australia, don’t forget to explore! Hanging out in Hosier Lane, Melbourne.

Banking

Australia has four major banks: Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), Westpac Banking Corporation, National Australia Bank (NAB), and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ).

The bank I chose is Commonwealth Bank of Australia because from the upper-year students NAB was not the greatest for customers service; ANZ was a little less common so it was harder to deal with; and then Westpac had kept a hold on some of the students’ wire transfers for tuition (which charged them extra money for late fees).

I will talk about money transfers and all of that in my next blog, but for now, let’s stick with banking.

1. Get a Student Card and a Cell Phone

First thing you need to do is when you become a University of Queensland student is receive your student card and also get a cell phone number. You will need this in order to set up your Commonwealth bank account.

2. Set Up Your Banking

Once you have those two pieces of information (including your Australia address, which can change after), you just need to walk into a Commonwealth bank and talk to a specialist there.

3. Get a Travel Money Card (if you want!)

Third, this is by no means a necessity, but if you want, CommBank offers something called “Travel Money Card.”  This is a free feature (when you apply online) and it is great for someone who either buys a lot of things online or travels. The card is good up until three years after you order it and it holds up to 13 currencies on the card at once. You just pay the conversion fee from Forex trading rate and it changes on your card automatically. I got this card because I frequently travel and it just takes out all the hassle from paying your own bank fees for international conversions each time.

Let’s say you travel to the states, with this card if you have $100 USD on the card, it acts as an American credit card (valued at $100). Then when you buy things there aren’t any extra accumulated fees associated with your purchase.

Pretty cool, right? And this works for over 47 different currencies around the world! So even if you don’t think you will use this once you are in Australia, I think (if you travel) it would be a good thing to get a month or so before you leave. As long as you have some money in your Australian bank account, you can have an international credit card for travelling with no secondary bank fees!

Another cool aspect of the app is that all of their features are instantaneous. From daily purchases to sending friends money it all happens within seconds of each other (rather than a couple days for e-transfers back home).  It also works from bank to bank (you send it via SMS) to any contact in your phone! I have an apple watch (CommBank also offers Apple Pay) and every time I make a purchase I’m notified on my watch and cell phone; therefore, if any purchase is made that wasn’t from you (card is compromised), you will be notified the second it happens and where it happened.

The app itself also groups all of your spending based on groups for you to see how much you have spent on food, health, entertainment, groceries, rent etc., which helps to easily keep track of your budget (which I’m seriously hoping you have!).

Another cool thing about this app is it also shows you where the closest ATM is located (which comes in handy), although there is a CommBank full branch right on the UQ St Lucia campus—which is really convenient!

Anthony out.
@ac_mpt

First-year UQ physiotherapy student

Interested in Anthony’s blogs? Read his blog OzTREKK Ambassadors: Moving to Brisbane, or follow all of our ambassadors‘ stories! Would you like to be an OzTREKK Ambassador? Let us know! Please contact us at social@oztrekk.com and share your stories!

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

OzTREKK Ambassadors: My first impressions of Griffith Medical School

OzTREKK Ambassador Cameron Bowers has just begun her journey at Griffith Medical School, and she’s here to share her very first impressions!

Griffith medical school

First day at Griffith Medical School!

My first day

I’d been dreaming of the first day of medical school for years. I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I was so excited. I felt like a little kid on their very first day of school!

Truth be told the whole day felt surreal. It was a lot of different presentations by faculty welcoming and congratulating us on getting into medical school. They told us that our careers would be full of ups and downs, and stressed the reality that we would be in charge of people’s lives in a matter of years. I soaked it all up and with each “congratulations,” it started to feel more and more real.

The day ended with all of us standing and reciting our “Medical Students’ Affirmation.” It’s the equivalent of vows for medical school—promising to uphold respect for the profession we are entering, pledging to pursue our study of medicine with integrity and honesty, etc. I must admit that hearing ~160 students reciting these affirmations about our future was very powerful. It was the moment that made all of this feel real for the first time. I could feel the emotions mixing up inside, a combination of sheer joy, giddy excitement, fear of the unknown, and being overcome by the power of all of these voices together. We were all about to start something that would fundamentally change every single person in the room and yet no one could possibly know in which ways we would all evolve.

Some things I wish I had known

The first few weeks have been incredible, challenging, exhausting, exciting, and inspiring. It’s really fun to learn about a topic that I am so passionate about. It feels very different compared to undergrad (or grad school) because everything we are learning is applicable to a future patient. I think that might be why sometimes it feels more exhausting, because everyone is so keen to take in all of the information for fear we won’t know everything. But I am trusting in the curriculum to eventually get us to become competent physicians in four years (which at the moment still sounds surreal).

With all of that said, there are a few things that I wish I had known in the first few weeks:

Griffith University medical school

Enjoying the view — view of Griffith University campus from PBL rooms

1. Griffith undergraduate bridging program
Griffith has a two-year “bridge” program for Australian high school students to go directly from high school into a two-year medical science undergrad program. After those two years, the entire medical science cohort (~60 people) enters the medical school. This has a few implications:

  1. The age of the “med sci” students is young; I believe about 25% of my class is <20 years old.
  2. They have been in a program together for the last two years so they all already have friends and friend groups. This was a bit confusing to a lot of us Canadians on the first day as everyone appeared to already be in friend groups.

2. Anatomy labs
The anatomy labs (cadaver labs) are “self directed,” which means it’s a bit of a free-for-all. There are a number of second-year students you can ask for explanations or to clarify where something is, and they are fantastic! Seriously hard to imagine I will get to that level in just a year.

But other than that there is no structure. They give you a few pages as a lab worksheet to fill out the night before that outlines the main topics for the lab, but the actually learning is up to you. It’s definitely not like undergrad anatomy labs. You have to make sure you bring questions to ask, and be outgoing enough to ask those questions in a loud environment with lots of other people trying to learn using the same cadavers. It is an adjustment, but I’ve had three labs so far and it’s completely doable, just a bit of a surprise in week 1.

3. Griffith is amazing
I wish I had really understood how incredible Griffith University is and how they focus on creating well-rounded people, who are also fantastic doctors. I didn’t realized how unique Griffith Medical School is compared to other schools with regard to their focus on communication and the other “softer” part of being a great doctor (more on that to come in future blog posts!).

Overall I couldn’t be happier with my decision, and I am slowly settling into a schedule trying to work on finding balance between school, exercise, social life, and my relationship with my incredible husband.

If you ever have any questions about Griffith medicine, please feel free to reach out.

Until next time!

Cameron
@noborders.md

Thursday, February 21st, 2019

OzTREKK Ambassadors: Being mentally prepared for your move to Australia

Welcome to the very first OzTREKK Ambassador blog!

At OzTREKK, we are proud to assist you throughout your entire journey—from your very first questions to predeparture to greeting you in Australia for our on-campus In-Australia Meet-ups.

Because we’ve been doing this since 2002, we know there can be bumps along the way. The key to traversing the bumps and hairpin turns is to have a positive attitude and to know you have a support system (and when to seek help if you need it!). In fact, all our Australian universities have international student support services available to help you with any issue, especially when you may feel overwhelmed and homesick.

University of Melbourne MD student

Follow Josh on Instagram!

Meet OzTREKK student ambassador Josh Walt, a Melbourne MD student who has agreed to document his Australian journey—including some of the stuff other people may forget about—like how to adjust to life in Australia and how to make sure you have a support system in place.

Take it away, Josh!

The Overwhelming Beginning and The Importance of Coping Mechanisms for Mental Health

I would be lying to you if I said that moving across the world didn’t come with its challenges.

After landing, it took over two weeks to find a place in a location somewhat close to campus and another week to settle in comfortably. Maybe my roommate and I were some of the unlucky few, but on move-in day we were shocked to see the apartment that was “professionally cleaned” still had Oreos under the mattress, dark brown stains on them, gum between the couch cushions and multiple miscellaneous sticky and greasy substances all over the cutlery, plates and other furniture. Setting up our WiFi took two weeks longer than the company had guaranteed. It’s a good thing phone plans here provide you with 40GB of data a month!

Although, after going to the Victoria night market, the Royal Botanical Gardens, the storage units on Brighton Beach etc., it is safe to say it was all worth it!

First Day of Orientation

To add to the stress of moving across the world, the first thing that was said in orientation was that the MD program at The University of Melbourne was one of the hardest and most demanding courses offered. The school’s academic mentors, counselling and psychological services then followed this speech by stating more than 50% of the students who see them seek support for mental health issues. A larger portion of these students have never experienced mental health problems before. Leading to why I am reaching out to all you prospective students today…

The Most Successful Students

My point is not to scare anyone off, only to share that it was a difficult move. I want to emphasize the importance of coping mechanisms for mental health. Especially as an international student, you have the pressure of school and the added stress of moving across the world without a social network.

These counsellors went on to say the most successful students are the ones who make time for their music, sports, social life, travel etc., because it is so important for your mental health as a student in a challenging professional program. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to manage stress that will help you succeed and attain your dream degree—the reason you headed to Australia in the first place!

I know it’s a long time away, but I know once I finish and get that medical degree all the stress and hard work will be worth it!

Excited for the next chapter!

Josh
@mddownunder

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.

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!

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

UQ celebrates 55 years of speech pathology studies

If you’ve ever wondered what it is like to study speech pathology, and where those studies could take you, pull up a chair.

Professor Liz Ward from the University of Queensland’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences currently holds a joint position as a Professor of Speech Pathology at UQ, as well as Professor of the Centre for Functioning Disability and Health Research within the Metro South Hospital and Health Service at Queensland Health.

UQ celebrates 55 years of speech pathology studies

Speech Pathology Prof Liz Ward (Photo: UQ)

The university caught up with her for a Q&A—in celebration of 55 years of speech pathology at UQ!

UQ: What inspired you to get into speech pathology?

LW: Unlike some, I was one of those students who was not really certain it was the career for me until I did my first adult placement, then I was hooked! I knew then that I wanted to work with adults in hospital services, and 25 years later that’s the clinical group upon which I have focused my entire career.

UQ: What is your area of expertise/favourite topic within the field?

LW: My main area of expertise is speech and swallowing management of patients with head and neck cancer. I am also very passionate about improving critical and intensive care services and tracheostomy management. It’s the complex medical conditions and the challenge of making a difference to recovery patterns in the hospital and health environment that are a real interest area for me.

In addition to those clinical areas I love health services research in general, and developing new services and models of care, such as telehealth, which are changing practice and improving the patient experience.

UQ: What has been the best moment of your career so far?

LW: I am incredibly fortunate as I have had many. From a research perspective, seeing the many research initiatives I have led become part of routine clinical care is the greatest reward.

From a personal perspective it was the recent honour of presenting the Chris O’Brien Oration at the Australia and New Zealand Head and Neck Cancer Society conference. It was a lovely acknowledgement of the research profile that speech pathology has in this field, and recognition of the important role speech pathology has in head and neck cancer care.

UQ: What would you say to a person considering a career in speech pathology?

LW: Do it! But bring your A-game and always be the best you can, and understand that being a consumer of, and engaging in, clinical research will be an integral part of being a speech pathologist.

UQ: What are some of the lesser known career paths that a qualification in speech pathology could lead to?

LW: I once met a woman who had been a speech pathologist and had then gone on to use her skills in linguistics and phonetics to work as a speech analyst for an international law enforcement agency.

Find out what OzTREKK students think of the UQ speech pathology studies program!

Think you might be interested in studying speech pathology at UQ?

Did you know that students have ranked speech pathology at UQ is ranked #1 in Australia for its teaching quality and educational experience ?

The UQ speech pathology program is an accelerated program for students who have already completed an undergraduate degree. The program 2.5 years in length and will prepare graduates for a career in speech path across any of the diverse areas in which speech pathologists practice, such as education, health or private practice.

Program: Master of Speech Pathology Studies
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Next semester intake: July 2018
Duration: 2.5 years
Application deadline: March 30 each year

Apply to UQ Speech Pathology School!

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Do you need help with your UQ speech pathology studies application? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Speech Pathology Schools Admissions Officer Heather Brown at heather@oztrekk.com.

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!

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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.