Share your first few weeks in Australia with your colleagues

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Share your first few weeks in Australia with your colleagues

Post  Admin on Thu Nov 22, 2007 11:51 am

Guys.

The first few weeks arriving into Australia is a great time with many challenges, lots of highs and lots of lows.

Please share your experience with the new guys that are arriving, and give some lessons of what you have learn't, and what you may do differently if you had you way round again.

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Coming to Melbourne - FAQs

Post  Abdullah Nadeem on Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:12 am

Here are answers to some questions on various topics that I received - hope you'll find them helpful


o What do you think about the International Student Services http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/international/
Our MBA program at Melbourne Uni has its own student services office, separate from the international student services at the campus. Ali Al Qahtani should be able to tell you about it because he’s in campus.

o What about Airport Reception by university?
I think this is one of Dr. Antonio’s duties. Check with him. He is a good man!

o What do you suggest more?
Most importantly, get a temporary accommodation for at least 3 weeks because finding an apartment/house in Melbourne takes some time. I recommend you to get a room at www.graduatehouse.com.au because it is very close to campus


• Transportation
o What do you usually use and when (from home to university, city center, between cities) Bus, Trams, Trains?
It is very easy, I don’t have a car because I don’t really need one. I buy a monthly “met card” for $104 for unlimited use of trams, trains and buses. It takes almost everywhere. I live in the main part of Melbourne (they call it “the city”) but most people who live in the suburbs of Melbourne own a car. I recommend you to live in the city because it is safer there, and close to everything.
o What is the cost of each type?
o I find many of maps on http://www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au ? What is the most used one?
Don’t worry about that at the moment because getting around Melbourne especially the city - is very easy.
o What about buying a Car?
Very expensive to buy, park and refuel.. I am only in Melbourne for 20 months so I found it not worth it to buy a car. People have different opinions of course. When you come, you’ll see and then you can make your own judgment based on your needs. Again, if you live in the city, you won’t really need it.
o Do I need to have International Driver License?
It is better to have one so if you’d rent a car you can use it
o What if I need to rent a Car?
o What is the cost of Taxi?
Not that cheap. You won’t need them regularly though if you have met cards … by the way, there are many, many types of met cards…there’s a daily one, weekly, monthly and others. If you will use the tram/train on a daily basis, get a monthly one
o What do you suggest more?


• Accommodation
o What do you suggest for Accommodation Temp/permanent
Again, it my opinion, get an apartment in the city. Close to school, malls, restaurants, cinema and everything. It is more expensive than the houses you will find in the suburbs but you will save by not having a car. Plus it is safer in the city (put a price on that!!).
o How can I make reservation?
Unfortunately, you can’t reserve an apartment beforehand. You have to come here and get in touch with (real estate agents) who have apartments for rent. If they tell you they have something in the area you want with the price you like, then you can go see it and apply for it. They will get back to you in a few days and tell you whether you got it or not. The process takes some time so you’ll have to see several ones until you land on one that you like.
Remember to get a letter from Aramco stating how much you’ll get paid monthly. Attach that with the apartment application. Bring several copies.
o What about the Student Housing Services. Is there any special discount
Sorry I don’t know what that is!
o At what area do you suggest I should look for (Parkville, Carlton, Fitzroy, Brunswick, Coburg, North Melbourne )? What is the cost on each area and how long is it from University?
o Where most of students live?
I live in southbank – very close to the city. Most Saudi and GCC people live everywhere actually. A lot of them live in some suburbs in which there are Arabic grocery stores. Personally I don’t find living there convenient and safe. Prices vary a lot. I recommend you to get a place in the city or Carlton. Close and safe.
o For family (husband & wife), What type of accommodation should I look for (studio, One Bedroom,…)? What is the cost on each area?
o For family (husband & wife, two kids), What type of accommodation should I look for (studio, One Bedroom,…)? What is the cost on each area?
For family with kids, it could be more practical to live in the suburbs because there you can get a house. It would cost less than an apartment in the city.
o What do you suggest more?
Again, it really depends on your needs and sort of your lifestyle, lots of Saudis like the suburbs because lots of Saudis live there! So they want to cluster and live next to each other and have a Saudi community. Lots of other Saudis live in the city because it’s more convenient, closer to everything, and save on not having a car. The suburbs are very quiet and get kind of dark at night. The city on the other hand is very much alive. It will be much easier for you to make a decision when you see that yourself. One caution, don’t make a decision based on price only. I know many people who did that but that regretted it and broke their leases to move to the city…


• University
o What thing do I need to arrange with the university before I arrive? Whom should I contact first?
Dr Antonio (Aramco representative in Melbourne) and the international office will surely take care of your academic stuff. Also, you got my # and Ali’s
o Do I need to make any registration for Orientation & enrolment? When should I do this?
Sorry Mojahed as I said before, my program is totally separate from most of the other degree at melb uni so we have a separate orientation program. I am sure Ali Al Qahtani can help you with that because he had to attend it. Refer to Antonio too.
http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/international/orientation/
• When usually Aramco buy for university? Do we involve or get notify about these financial?
All bills go to Dr Antonio – if you get a bill when you’re here, you may call him just to make sure he’s got a copy of it
• Can I have a mailbox from the university, how, cost?
I am not sure there is! Usually mail comes to your home address
• What about e-mail & internet connection on the university?
They will hook you up right away. There is wireless almost everywhere. Many, many PCs available at the libraries.
• What about these Student Service Organization membership
Not sure, for the same reason above
 Melbourne University Student Union
 University of Melbourne Postgraduate Association
 Melbourne University Sport
o What about books cost and other stuff (pens, notebook ,paper.. )
Books are kind of expensive – you don’t always need to buy them though, depends on your program. Also they are all available at the libraries. Sometimes you’ll find used ones which would be a lot cheaper. But anyways Aramco pays you US$1000 twice a year – that will cover it easily
o How is the university library?
It’s awesome – got everything you need
o What additional fee do I need to bay for university services? (library, printing, internet, association, club)
You pay for printing – I think 10 cent a page or something … that clubs we have at Melbourne Business School are for free, I am not sure about the clubs in campus but even if there’s a fee, it wouldn’t be more than $20 or something
o What do you suggest more?
o Is there any thing that I should consider?


• Money & banking
o How mach AUD$ should I have for arrival?
o What about Travel Cheque
You’re gonna need lots of cash in the beginning. Here they require a big deposit when you get an apartment (e.g. I paid $3,500 deposit). In addition, getting a phone, gas, internet, electricity and these things will require total of about $250 upfront fees. Add to that whatever you’ll pay for the temporary housing (if you get one in graduate house as I said above, you will pay that online). Food will cost you – lets say $50/day per person (at least in the beginning because you may not be prepared to cook and eat at home)
Have some cash and some traveller’s check – so when you come you deposit the checks I the back right away. By the way you can open the account in the same day
o What do I need to open bank account?
Get a student account at ANZ bank – they are everywhere and their ATMs are everywhere – have your passport and any document that shows your enrolled like the CoE to open an account
o What do you suggest more?


• Needed Documents
o Passport, Aramco Salary certification
Yes get the salary thing, definitely – many copies of it. Also, have certified copies of your passport (the personnel department can stamp the passport copies for you as “true copy”)
o Is there any thing that I should consider?
Have personal photos just in case – and have copies of everything you have e.g. uni documents

• International Calls
o How do you usually communicate with your family on Saudi? Are you using any prepay card, net to phone, Skype or massager?
Yes we communicate over the internet – you can also buy phone cards online – don’t buy phone cards from the store unless you really have to because they are expensive
o Is there any thing that I should consider?


• Mobile Calls
o It seams there are many service provider? What do use?
You’re right – many of them. I use a company called “Three” .. frankly, there aren’t many differences between all of them. there are shops for these providers EVERYWHERE so you can go around and pick the cheapest at that time. they always compete on price with each other so there is not one provider that is always cheaper that the others.
o What things should we take into consideration when making a decision or have contract with any of them?
Not sure there is anything specific. I have a 2-year contract and they gave me a free phone. Have no problems with them
o Can I have mobile Calls & internet connectivity for my laptop from same provider? Will it be cheaper?
Most likely it would be cheaper because they bundle them together. Internet also has many, many providers. Most Saudi have both with optus I think.
o Is there any thing that I should consider?


• Others
o How much is the Internet fee for laptop?
It is more expensive than the home internet. Prices vary and you can check them online
o I am thinking of buying a Mac Book Pro 17” with 250HD. What is the price there? Is Mac popular there?
Not sure but computers and devices in general are more expensive in Australia than Saudi – I recommend you to buy it there
o What about Cooking, Eating & laundry?
o How is the Islamic culture, prayer times?
Mosques are available almost in each university campus so don’t worry about that. Get prayer times from www.islamicfinder.org
o What about electricity and its standard
220v is the standard – the plug looks like TYPE I in this link http://users.pandora.be/worldstandards/electricity.htm#plugs go to Extra and buy a converter for the devices you’ll bring from Saudi
o Does Bathroom have Water hose?
No
o How the weather is and what type of clothes should we bring thick or thin?
Both – hot in the summer and very cold in winter – no snow though
o What about shopping? What’s cheap & what’s expensive? (food, electronics, cloths,…)
Everything is more expensive than Saudi
o What type of entertainment for weekend, cost? (kids games & fun, Movie, Sports, camping)
Lots of cinemas and restaurants – also there are many one-day trips you can take to many places e.g. Phillip Island to see the penguins and many things like that. There are brochures for these things are everywhere – there are also “visitor centers” everywhere in the city and they can tell you about of these things and how much they cost
o How about TV channels and satellite?
There are 5 standard channels on TV – you could also get a cable (fox) for more channels – I don’t have that – you can check the prices online
o How is the medical services there?
Aramco insures you

Abdullah Nadeem

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