Pre-departure – Australia

Ok, so I’m leaving to start my Australian exchange 13 days from now and I have to admit it is getting pretty scary but thankfully I have got most of the things I needed to do done.

So far, getting to Australia has seemed relatively easy. The flights I found were reasonably priced but I did have to book a couple of months in advance. It is much better booking in advance than waiting to find out exam results as the nearer you get to departure, the more expensive flights become. I am not really a fan of the “long haul flight” but luckily enough Emirates fly out of Glasgow through Dubai and onto Brisbane. This makes the journey slightly more acceptable as I only have a 7 hour and a 14 hour flight rather than a 22 hour monster flight.

Getting a Visa was remarkably easy as well! After receiving my confirmation of enrollment from UQ I simply applied online and 3 hours later I had a Visa that was electronically attached to my passport. The Aussies definately have a better systems than the Yanks.

What you don’t realise with an exchange is that there is an awful lot of organisation that needs to be done before you leave. Often your UK bank account will not work abroad or charge high rates to withdraw cash. Therefore, I opened an account in Australia. Luckily enough I am with the Clydesdale Bank, a subsidiary of the National Australia Bank, and so setting up an account was easy enough. I also set up an account with a company called Moneycorp who specialise in overseas exchange rates which make it cheaper to transfer money from the UK to Australia than it would be if you carry out a electronic transfer.

I also wanted to make sure once I leave that I do not have to deal with things I’ve forgotten about back home. Things like pre-registering with Websurf and ensuring SAAS know that I am going away and pay my fees and give me a loan are important to do as you don’t want to have additional worries when you are away from home.

One of the major things that I have not managed to do so far is find somewhere to live once in Australia. I have looked at Halls of Residence but they seem very expensive and give you little reposnibility. They provide meals so if you are out with friends or something and you miss dinner you go hungry. This is really not the kind of thing that I want to do and as I have lived independently for the last 2 years I would see it as a step back. I am therefore looking to finding a share house (in Queensland they tend not to have flats but houses). The only problem with this is that you are expected to view it so can’t really sort out anything until you arrive and so I am leaving 3 weeks before term starts to find somewhere to live. UQ are really helpful though as they have a rentals database that is updated almost daily. They also provide an airport pick up service and temporary accomodation. I have chosen to stay in a Backpackers Hostel for the first 6 days, however there are also places available in halls but expect to pay a bit more.

As i said most of what needs to be done has now been done and I can’t wait. Next time you hear from me will be in Australia and I will have hopefully have found somewhere to live and be settled. Until then, goodbye.


3 Responses

  1. Oh man, that’s annoying, i’ve only just found your reply. No notification of it on my emails…

    Anyway, i just got back today, i was in Brisbane for a while so we could have met up if i’d seen this. oh well, you’ll have an awesome time dude, loads to see and do. Did you go to Ekka? And how’s the studying going?
    I’m leaving for Montreal on 20th, so lots and lots of packing to do.

    Good luck mate, enjoy UQ

  2. Hey Michael, how you settling into Ozzy life?
    Well i got into Brisbane just the other day and i was thinking we could meet up seeing as though we’re both in the same city, let alone the same continent.
    Anyway, i’m around till 4th july, so if you’re too busy don’t worry about it.

    • Hey Andy

      For some reason I only got your post today so you’ve already probably left Brisbane. I haven’t actually left yet – I do so tomorrow which is pretty exciting. Hope you’re having an awesome time traveling etc and you’ll have to keep me posted on what there is good to see/do.


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