Life in Melbourne
We know that moving to a new country to learn English is a very exciting experience but can be a bit daunting at times, so we would like to give you as much information as possible about life in Melbourne so that you can enjoy your time in Australia from the start!
In this section you will find everything you need to know to get settled in your new city:
- Finding Accommodation
- Finding a Job
- Internet and Mobile Phones
- Money and Banking
- Important Contacts
In addition we have also put together lots of useful information about Melbourne:
- An Introduction to Melbourne
- Getting Around Melbourne
- Melbourne's Suburbs
- Event Calendar
You can also download our Student Manual for more advice on studying at Lyceum.
We can help you out with finding short term accommodation in homestays, hostels or hotels for you. If you are looking for more long-term accommodation, you have the following options:
If you want to rent a room in an apartment or house with other students or housemates, you will pay between $100 - $250 per week depending on how many people you will share with. This price usually does not cover utility bills such as electricity or internet but the home and your room will normally be fully furnished. You can find shared accommodation ads on Gumtree or Domain.
Rental accommodation in Melbourne will be approximately $350 - $450 per week for a studio apartment. In addition, you will have to pay for bills and a bond and most probably also for furniture, since most places are rented out unfurnished.
When signing a lease agreement, you shoud read the fine print of your contract very carefully and you should know your rights and obligations as a tenant. Consumer Affairs Victoria has lots of information on their website and you can also find useful information on the Australian Government's Website for International Students (http://www.studyinaustralia.gov.au/global/live-in-australia/accommodation).
Useful Phrases when Looking for Accommodation
"Hi, my name is .... . I saw your advertisement on Gumtree/Domain/... and would like to get further information about the apartment/room and tell you a bit about myself."
"How many people are living in the house? Can you tell me something about them?"
"When is it possible to view the apartment/room or meet the housemates?"
"When is the apartment/room available? How long is it available for?"
"How much is the weekly rent? Does this include bills?"
"Is there a wireless internet connection available?"
"How far is the apartment from the city centre? How long does it take to travel to the centre at peak hour? Are there good public transport connections available?"
"Is there a bond to pay? If so, how much?"
"Is the apartment/room furnished?"
"Is bed linen provided?"
Finding a Job
While you are studying at Lyceum, it is a good idea to find work. Not only because of the financial support, but also because it will give you the opportunity to improve your English in a natural environment, meet new people and gain valuable work experience in a foreign country.
If you are on Student Visa, you are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during your course. On a Working Holiday Visa you can work for one employer for up to six months with unlimited hours per week. For other visas please refer to the Australian Department of Immigration for more information.
Before starting any job, you will need to get a Tax File Number (TFN). You can register on the Australian Taxation Office (www.ato.gov.au) homepage to apply for one.
For more information on working in Australia, visit the Study in Australia website.
How do I find a job?
The first thing you will need to do is to get your CV or resume up to date. We have put up a sample resume to help you with this. If you need further advice, please come and see us in reception and we will be happy to go over your CV with you. You can also find useful phrases and expressions related to job hunting in our English Language Tips page.
If you are interested in hospitality or retail jobs, we would recommend that you visit places where you would like to work, in person. This is great practice and it also shows the potential employers that your are keen and serious about finding a job.
You can also look at the following websites:
Useful Phrases when Looking for a Job
"Hi, my name is .... I am looking for a job in retail/waitressing/administration/etc. and would like to hand in my CV. Is the manager available please?"
"Ok, if the manager is not available, could I tell you a bit about myself and my work experience? Would you be able to pass the message and my CV on to the manager?"
"I really like your bar/shop/company, so this is why I am here today."
"Do you have any job openings at the moment?"
"I am qualified as .... and have been working as ... for ... years in (your city/country). I love working in this industry and am very passionate about... ."
"Would you mind telling me what your pay rate is for this position?"
"What are the working hours?"
"What is the start date for this position?"
"Is it possible to arrange an interview?"
"Do you need me to provide references? What paperwork do you need me to provide?"
Internet and Mobile Phones
We know that staying in touch with family and friends back home is important and you will probably want to contact them as soon as you have arrived. If you want to get connected to the internet, there are various options:
There are many places such as coffee shops, shopping malls or public libraries that offer free wi-fi connections. You can use your laptop or smartphone and connect to the internet. We have free wi-fi in the school as well, so please feel free to bring your laptop and use our common room after class.
If you don't want to depend on wi-fi hotspots, but want to be able to use the Internet flexibly when you are out and about, you can buy a wireless dongle. These dongles plug into your USB connection on your computer and let you use the mobile broadband network. You can buy them at phone shops like Optus, Vodafone, Telstra or Virgin. They usually cost about $50 and will have some credit included. After that, you will have to top them up regularly.
If you are renting your own place, you can sign up for a home Internet connection. There are many different contracts that vary in price and contract length. There are websites such as www.comparebroadband.com.au that compare the different contracts on offer for you.
In student residences or shared accommodation, there will probably already be an Internet connection when you move in. It is advisable that you check costs or usage limitations before you move in.
Before coming to Australia, we recommend that you check with your home country mobile phone provider if your phone is unlocked so that you can use your phone in Australia as well. You can also buy a phone when you arrive in Australia.
There are many mobile providers in Australia and apart from the major companies (Vodafone, Telstra, Optus, Virgin etc), there are smaller providers that use the big providers' networks and often specialise in cheap calls to overseas landlines and mobile phones. Lebara, for example, offers you free unlimited calls to a number of different countries if you top up your phone for $50 a month (See the Lebara Unlimited Plan for more details).
Money and Banking
Our currency in Australia is the Australian Dollar (AUD). You can find all the latest exchange rates on xe.com/currencyconverter.
Before coming over, we recommend that you change a bit of cash into Australian Dollars so that you have got money on you when you arrive. You should also speak to your local bank in your home country and inform them that you are travelling to Australia. Make sure that you will be able to use your bank cards over here.
If you are going to stay here for longer and are also thinking of working during your stay, you will need an Australian bank account to receive payments, pay bills and rent and receive an Australian bank card.
Opening a Bank Account
There are many different banks available and some of the bigger ones will even have multilingual staff that can assist you with opening an account.
You will need to bring your passport with you to open the account.
Many banks such as the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac or ANZ give you the option of opening your Australian bank account before you arrive. All you will have to do when you get to Melbourne is activate the account by proving your ID.
Here is a list of important contact details that you might need:
Emergency Calls - 000
This number connects you to police, fire service or an ambulance and should be used if you are in danger and need help urgently.
Police - 131 444
If you need to speak to the police but the matter is not urgent, please call this number or visit the police website.
Fairwork Ombudsman - 13 13 94
The average waiting time on the phone is 30 minutes if you want to speak to an adviser. We therefore recommend that you check their website first to see if you can find the information that you are looking for.
International Student Care Service - 1800 056 449
ISCS can help you with various different matters such as legal problems, housing, health issues or impartial advice.
An Introduction to Melbourne
Culturally rich and always diverse - Melbourne is a city that is exciting to explore and offers so much to discover! It is a visually beautiful city and has much more to offer than what meets the eye. Whether it is the arts, music, food or sports, if there is one thing that Melbourne can offer you, it is choice and the experience of something different. It is a truly multicultural city so no matter where you come from you will feel at home in your new city.
Getting around Melbourne
Melbourne has a great public transport system and its trams are world-famous. The local train system is also excellent, and there are lots of bus routes as well. Trams, trains and buses run every couple of minutes during peak hours. If you want to check timetables in advance, you can do so on the Public Transport Victoria Website and there are handy apps such as TramTracker, which you can download on your smartphone for free.
For all forms of public transport, you will need to have a Myki Card. This card can be bought at train stations, in 7/11 Stores and other outlets. You can find further information on the Public Transport Victoria Website. When you arrive in Melbourne you will have to buy a Myki Card, which is $6. In addition, you will have to put credit on it, so that you can use it. You can choose between a Pay as You Go option (Myki Money) and a weekly or monthly pass (Myki Pass). There is a tool on the PVT website that will help you decide, which Myki top up is better for you: http://ptv.vic.gov.au/tickets/metropolitan-myki-fares/.
If you live in the inner city suburbs, you will find that many people use bikes and that it is very easy to get around by bike. Melbourne has a great network of cycle paths and bike lanes, so cycling is a very easy and affordable way to get around.
You can buy a second-hand bike on offer on www.gumtree.com.au.
When arriving at the airport in Melbourne, the best way to get into the city is the Skybus which departs every 10 minutes 24 hours a day.
Melbourne's suburbs are all very different and unique in character and lifestyle. Of the Australian cities, the Melbourne city centre is the most lively and lived-in. You will find busy streets, restaurants and bars full of people every day of the week. The centre is surrounded by a circle of interesting and diverse inner city suburbs with beautiful Victorian architecture. The Northern inner suburbs are known as the artistic and creative hub of Melbourne, whereas the inner South is more quiet and closer to the bay. You can find lots of useful information on Melbourne's different suburbs and their food and coffee culture in the Melbourne International Student Guide.
|Arts and Culture|
|Melbourne Fringe Festival||September/October||www.melbournefringe.com.au|
|Melbourne Comedy Festival||March/April||www.comedyfestival.com.au|
|Melbourne Food and Wine Festival||March||www.melbournefoodandwine.com.au|
|Melbourne International Film Festival||July/August||www.miff.com.au|
|Australian Open Tennis Championships||January||www.australianopen.com|
|Australian Rules Football||March - September||www.afl.com.au|
|Formula 1 Grand Prix||March||www.grandprix.com.au|
|Spring Racing Carnival||September - November||www.racingvictoria.net.au|
|Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix||October||www.motogp.com.au|
|Australian A-League Football||October - March||www.footballaustralia.com.au/aleague|
|Rip Curl Pro||March/April||live.ripcurl.com|
|Melbourne International Jazz Festival||May/June||www.melbournejazz.com|
|Big Day Out||January||www.bigdayout.com|
|Future Music Festival||March||www.futureentertainment.com.au|
|St Kilda Festival||February||www.stkildafestival.com.au|
|Meredith Music Festival||December||www.mmf.com.au|
Melbourne has a number of beaches very close to the city centre. Depending on what you are looking for you might choose St Kilda Beach, which is Melbourne's best-known beach and gets very busy and lively in the summer, evening or day. If you are looking for a quiet, relaxing afternoon on the beach front, you might choose nearby beaches, South Melbourne or Brighton Beach.
If you want to experience one of the most famous surfing beaches in the world, you don't have to travel far either. Bell's Beach is just one hour away. Why not take some surfing lessons at one of the many nearby surfing beaches?