I’m Frazer, a History and Politics student currently on exchange at the University of Western Australia in Perth.
Some of you may have read stuff I’ve written on here before, but this is a little bit more personal as I blog out my time Down Under. Hopefully this will be both informative, engaging and all those other cliched year abroad buzzwords!
We’ll start from the top: travelling. Nothing can quite prepare you for the joy of 17 hours on a plane, the screaming babies, Australian women slamming gin and tonics for 10 hours, or over excited children (my flight highlight had to be the kid who, as the plane began to move, yelled “Abu Dhabi HERE! WE! COME!”).
However, you can control certain other things. Try and book ASAP because you can save a lot of money. Look at when the UK schools break up as that jumps the price dramatically. Also check your baggage allowances, you may think that 20kg is a lot but when you’re trying to pack your life in a suitcase the day before you travel as your mun keeps sneaking in extra pairs of socks you’d be surprised how it piles up. I also benefited from a long layover, staying in Abu Dhabi for 21 hours which both broke up the 17 hours and helped significantly reduce jet lag.
I benefited from being able to stay a week with friends so got to know the city a bit better before moving into halls. University accommodation here is horrifically expensive, even with food included, but I’d say it has already been worth it as it’s the best way to meet people. Though it may be scary meeting new people it’s worth remembering that everyone is in the same boat!
Freshers week here was a bit different as the halls I’m in runs a ‘Dry Freshers’ because of a strange uni policy, so any nights out were on our own time. This did mean that events were way better organised in the day and included Laser Tag, a scavenger hunt around Perth and a night trip to the old prison (which was pretty creepy!). This all has to be fitted in around boring admin stuff, but getting a bank account isn’t too complicated, the main issue is that it takes five days to get a card so I’d advise bringing cash with you.
The other issue is that the Australian bars and clubs only accept Australian driving licenses, so you either have to take a passport with you everywhere or fork out £25 for a UWA proof of age card (I don’t know if these exist in other Australian states). Also, if you want to work you have to get something called a TFN, that basically means you will get a tax rebate at the end of the year, Google this for more information.
Since writing this piece, I’ve done two weeks of classes and a heap more besides, stay tuned for more from Adelaide over the next few weeks!
This article is cross posted from the University of Southampton Exchange and Study Abroad blog.