First of all, congratulations! You are part of the Griffith University community now, which means you are about to start your journey to Australia and open a new chapter of your life. Or, perhaps, you’re here already and opened this post to find out what should you do now…
Stay in touch
If you’re an international student you’ll love to stay in touch with family and friends back home. Luckily, most Australian telephone companies provide good plans to help you keep in touch. Personally, I was really confused at first when I got my Aussie plan and tried to understand how it all worked. But I found that all you really need to know is how much credit you get with your plan and the cost of one minute to call home. Being very lucky I received around $500 credit on my monthly plan and I was able to call to various cities in Russia and have half an hour conversations with friends. But before you try to repeat my success – check with your provider (e.g. Vodafone, Optus, Telstra etc).
It’s important to keep your finance situation under control. Most Aussie banks (e.g. NAB, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ etc) have special offers for students with low service payments and good savings plans. It’s up to you whether you’d prefer to open an account while you are still in your home country or upon arrival to Australia. Just Google bank websites and compare options to chose what’s best for your personal circumstances.
I’m a student
The first thing you should do when you arrive on campus is get your student ID. Just head to the Student Centre and smile for a photo to get this wonderful card. Not only will it help you to remember your student number (believe my experience, in first days you will use it a lot and your ID will save you time remembering), but your student ID will also open a world of student discounts.
Travel safe, legal and cheap
Speaking of discounts, since you’ve just picked up your student ID with a happy smile on it, make sure you go and buy a concession go card. You are required to have your student ID and concession go card with you at all times to get discounted prices on your public transport travel. To find out more about public transport in South East Queensland and requirements visit the TransLink website.
Sunscreen and glasses
The Gold Coast boasts 300+ sunny days a year. You may not believe it if you arrive during rainy season in February – March, but it is true! And even when it is overcast the UV here is quite high, so learn from my experience of being exposed to the sun and turning red during my first days. Apply lots of sunscreen every couple of hours and after every swim, and get yourself a pair of good quality sunglasses. The sun is shining and life is great!
Being a recent graduate I still remember what it’s like to be a student, especially in the beginning of semester. You’ll go out. You’ll do that probably way too much. I’d like you to remember to bring with you your ID with your birth date and photo on it and if you chose to drink do it wisely and don’t drive after.
And my last piece of advice, I can’t say anything about Brisbane, but the Gold Coast weather is too good for studies, so you may need to go to the library and lock yourself in from the sunshine and beach temptation 😉
Enjoy your studies and life in Australia!