Uni Life

15 things I wish I knew before going to Australia

The one and only Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays, Queensland


Search for international student groups on Facebook to make a little network before getting to Australia to chat about trips, where you’ll be living, find roommates and friends.


Talk to your agency (if you’re going through one) to chat with someone who studied at Griffith University recently to pick their brain about what to bring, where to live, what to do, transportation, and learn the little tricks about living on the Gold Coast or in Brisbane.


If you’re 20 years old or older, I would recommend living off campus as student residences are typically filled with 17 and 18 year olds. You can find accommodation before landing in Australia via flatmates.com.au or realestate.com.au. On the Gold Coast, the tram (also known as the GLink) runs from Broadbeach to Griffith Uni so living close by the tram is an excellent way to enjoy living by the beach and have a reliable way to get to school. In Brisbane the South Bank, Nathan and Mt Gravatt campuses are on the Busway.

View towards the mountains from Surfers Paradise, Queensland

View towards the mountains from Surfers Paradise, Queensland


On your first few days upon arrival, go to Student Administration to get your photo taken for your student card. Then go to a 7-11 or tourist information stand to get your GoCard, which you load with money and use for public transportation.


Always carry your Student ID and GoCard on you at all times.

Beautiful Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast, Queensland

Beautiful Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast, Queensland


If your mobile phone is unlocked, you can buy a SIM card for under $5 at Optus or Telstra. Pre-paid plans are relatively cheap.


If you’re studying here for more than one trimester, get a casual job. It’s an awesome way to meet people and gain international work experience. You can find jobs on gumtree or seek. or the old fashioned way of walking in with your resume always works too. Or enrol in an internship through uni. If you need help with your resume or finding work, make an appointment with the Griffith University Careers Service.

3 students being interviewed World Surf League Internship

On internship with the World Surf League


Get involved in a club or student group and attend uni events. In Brisbane student clubs are organised by Campus Life and on the Gold Coast they are organised by the Student Guild.


If you can, schedule class on your campus market day – market days on campus are the best way to kick back at uni and score some cheap, yummy food.

The beach on Fraser Island Queensland

Fraser Island, Queensland


Coles and Woolworths (the 2 biggest grocery stores) home deliver when you order online.


If you’re coming from Canada, open a bank account with ScotiaBank as they have a sister bank in Australia called Westpac. This way when you use the ATM, you won’t get charged international fees when withdrawing from your Scotia account.


Schedule an appointment with an international student advisor as soon as you can to ensure you are enrolling in the correct courses that transfer to your school back home and/or ensure you graduate on time.


Find videos on YouTube or BuzzFeed to learn some Aussie lingo before you get there.


If you’re studying here for one year and also want to do some travelling while you’re in the country, have $30,000AUD (not including tuition) saved for living expenses and travel costs.

At the beach along the Great Ocean Road

Along the Great Ocean Road, Victoria


Mark your assessments and exams in your calendar as soon as possible in order to have a rough idea when you can go on trips. Try to coordinate road trips with people you meet to keep the cost down.

I hope these tips help!melissa-iarusso-head-shot

– Melissa

Melissa studied a Bachelor of Journalism at the Griffith University Gold Coast campus and was President of the Canadian Students Association.

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  • Reiseblog
    November 24, 2015 at 1:29 am

    Good to know – thanks for sharing.
    By the way: The pictures are amazing! 🙂

  • jini frankline nkeh
    December 17, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    intersting tips indeed. but what about your sisterly love. can you please help me get an admission. i realy will like to be enrolled there in january 2016, but i do not exactly know how to make things done this fast. i hope am asking too much from you. God bless you and wish you the best of health.

    • Lara
      January 11, 2016 at 10:28 am

      Hi – please send us an email at [email protected] so we can help you further 🙂

  • alem halefom
    January 21, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    I want to study master degree in chemistry fieldes

    • Lara
      January 27, 2016 at 10:50 am

      Hi Alem – you can search our degree finder for a Masters program that suits your interests https://degrees.griffith.edu.au 🙂

  • Pedro Menezes
    April 13, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    Can I leave a recommendation to find flatmates? I was there and I used https://www.flatmatefinders.com.au – By far the best matching service for Flatmates in Australia 🙂

  • Johanna
    February 7, 2018 at 12:40 am

    Very interesting post. The images are amazing! I look very much forward to study next year in Australia, too! 🙂

  • Moi Raho
    February 11, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    Very much interested. Looking forward to study next year 2019 in Australia.
    Undergraduate studies, degree in Architecture.