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One of the biggest draws of studying overseas is the chance to explore and experience the cultural events of a different country. That’s why this time of year is often such a rich experience for international students in Australia. With so much happening in Melbourne and other cities for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, it’s an exciting opportunity to see new things.

Here are some of the many events and sites you should consider visiting if you are an international student in Melbourne this holiday season.

Christmas at Fed Square

Looking for something unique and fun to do the weekend before Christmas? Consider visiting Fed Square, where the largest LEGO Christmas tree in the southern hemisphere has been erected. Along with other LEGO creations, a building event, and outdoor movies for the holidays all month long, this is a great place to spend an afternoon.

Christmas Festival

Melbourne’s City Square is transformed every year into Christmas Square – featuring a range of Christmas staples from around the world, and operating all day, every day through Christmas next Friday. This is a great opportunity to check out one of the centrepieces of Melbourne’s celebrations each year.

Christmas Lights Melbourne

One of the most exciting parts of the Christmas season is tracking down the biggest and best holiday light displays. Christmas Lights Melbourne offers a search tool by suburb or postcode to help you find displays in Australia (or in Melbourne specifically) near your apartment or homestay. It’s a great way to spend an evening after visiting the nearby festivals.

One Day Events throughout the City

If you’re looking for something specific or a little smaller in scale in Melbourne for the holidays, check out the full list of events gathered by Only Melbourne. Consisting of more than 25 events taking place throughout the month of December and representing different communities and activities in Melbourne, there are a lot of options here for someone who wants to explore the holiday season in Melbourne.

New Year’s Eve in Melbourne

Melbourne has a spectacular series of New Year’s Eve displays, starting with the early-family friendly display. Visible from Yarra Park and Footscray Park, this display happens at sundown and is perfect for a family with young children or anyone who doesn’t want to stay up past midnight.

For the big display at midnight, you can see the fireworks from anywhere you have line of sight to the city. There are several live sites throughout the city, as well including Kings Domain, Treasury Gardens, Flagstaff Gardens, Docklands, each located on a different side of the city, offering a range of options for anyone – regardless of where you are in relation to the fireworks. You can download a map of the festivities from the official website here.

The glitz and glamour of an overseas study trip can blind you to the fact that you are still at university and still have classes that require the bulk of your time so you can maintain the best possible grades. If you fall behind in your classes, it can have serious repercussions long term. So it’s important to stay ahead, but not at the expense of the opportunity to explore a new country. To help you do both, here are some study trips for your time overseas.

Put Classes First and Foremost

As you would back home, put emphasis on your classes before anything else. Set aside that time every day, even if you don’t have classes, for study. Be sure you are in class and on time for every session and get to know the professor early so that if there is a problem you can communicate with him or her what those problems are. Absences can count against your grade in some situations, but more than that, you’re missing the opportunity to get the most out of your education.

Join Campus Organisations

Most universities have numerous organisations and clubs designed to help students socialize and explore outside interests. Take advantage of this fact and join as many groups as you feel comfortable maintaining while in class. This will help you socialize and meet other local students as well as learning more about the area.

Connect with Study Partners

For each of your classes if possible find at least one other person with whom you can connect after classes. This person will help you stay caught up on your notes if you do have to miss class for some reason and will also help you to connect with classmates early and make friends. Home sickness is inevitable when studying overseas – the sooner you make friends, the less likely this will become a problem.

Utilize International Student Support and Organisations

Most campuses have advisors as well as support groups for international students in general and those from specific regions or countries. Seek out these groups early and communicate with their organisers. It may be you never feel the need for their help, but if you start to have a hard time or are feeling homesick, it can be immensely helpful to have a group of likeminded international students and advisors nearby with whom you can talk.

Lean On Your Host Family

If you are staying with a host family, don’t be afraid to lean on them for support when you need it. Study time may become harder to find as the lure of a new city looms large. There are so many exciting things to do when staying in Sydney or Melbourne – a host family can help you to stay focused by providing guidance on what to see and when, and offering a caring, quiet environment in which to study.

If you are preparing to study overseas or if you are already in Australia and looking for the best way to get the most out of your situation, connect with Global Experience. We work with students from around the globe and can help you to stay ahead in classes and enjoy your time in Australia.

It’s one of the most exciting moments of your life – that last step before you get on the plane for your overseas study trip in Australia. It’s coming up soon and probably the only thing you can think of is what you’ll do when you get there.

Before you get to the airport, though, and well before you start planning your weekends in Sydney or Melbourne, there are a few things you should do back home. Here are five things to make sure you have checked off your to do list before your trip.

Figure Out a Low Cost Calling Option

Calling home will get expensive if you bring your mobile phone without preparation. There are several options to avoid this problem, though. You can buy a local disposable cell phone, use Skype and other online calling options, or buy a calling card with low international calling rates. Research this now, rather than when it’s potentially costly.

Map Out All Possible Travel Plans

Before you land on the other side, make sure you have a clear path laid out for transportation in your new city. If you are staying with a host family, communicate with them early and often for airport pickup. If not or if they will not be picking you up, figure out which busses or trains you’ll be using.

Get Copies of the Most Important Documents

There are several documents you should have copies of before you embark on your trip. Your birth certificate, proof of health insurance, the calling card you’re bringing (if you have one), and the informational pages of your passport should all be with you. In fact, it’s good to have several copies of each, some left at home and some with you when overseas.

Look Up Electronics in Your New Home

Will your adapters and electronics work in your new home? Every country has different standards for power adapters and other materials. There is some overlap, but it’s good to know in advance rather than risking that your power runs out or you cause damage to your devices.

Review All Course Credits in Advance

Getting accepted into an overseas university is immensely exciting, but don’t let the thrill of the acceptance affect your academic plans. Make sure the courses available to you will count for credit back home and that you will be accelerating your degree. If you plan on finishing your degree in Australia, this is less of an issue, but may still affect your ability to get a job back home depending on the nature of the education you are getting and career you are pursuing. Simply put, make sure you speak with an advisor.

Have Fun!

Preparations will be over before you know it and you’ll be ready to step on that airplane and embark on the trip of a lifetime. Enjoy that moment and be ready for everything it has to offer.

If you are still in the planning phase and are interested in learning more about homestay or student support services in Sydney or Melbourne, contact Global Experience and learn how we can help.

Are you planning to visit Australia as a student for part or all of the academic year? If so, you’re in for a treat. Australia is regularly named one of the best places in the world for international students, and for good reason – the relaxed atmosphere, beautiful outdoors, and plentiful activities offer students of all types something to do in addition to their high quality education.

But Australia is a big country and there are several cities home to universities that might be a good fit for your education and travel goals. We regularly get this question and wanted to share some of the factors that go into deciding where in Australia you should visit during your homestay.

Top Universities

Australia’s education system is exceptional and has frequently been ranked among the best in the world, most recently 9th according to Study in Australia. With 8 of the top 100 Universities in the world and 5 out of the 30 best student cities in the world, there are a lot of options here for those that want to study in the country.

To start, you’ll find Melbourne and Sydney among the top 5 student cities in the world according to TopUniversities. Other Australian cities that make the top 30 include Canberra, Aukland, and Brisbane, giving you numerous options across the eastern side of the country to choose from.

Sydney and Melbourne’s Main Attractions

In Sydney and Melbourne specifically, though, there are several things to consider. Melbourne is known for its plethora of historical and cultural sites, as well as its big market scene – something you’ll find throughout the city during the fall months. We regularly write about Melbourne’s events and how they attract people from around the country and the globe each year.

Sydney offers a similarly urban experience, surrounded by the beauty of the country. With the Northern Beaches offering plenty of opportunities to relax and enjoy the outdoors, the Blue Mountains to the west offering getaways in the great outdoors over the weekends, and extensive cultural opportunities in Sydney’s Opera House, museums, gardens, and parks, there is enough to do here to keep you busy for several years, let alone months during your study program.

Where Should You Stay for an Australian Homestay?

There are many options, and even if you haven’t yet selected a University to apply to for your overseas study, you’ll find that each of the cities listed above offers substantial opportunities for you to explore a new culture and enjoy what Australia has to offer.

If you are considering Sydney or Melbourne, contact Global Experience. We work with students and host families throughout both cities to help them find the perfect homestay matches.

If you are considering becoming a host family for international students visiting Australia, there are a number of things to consider in advance. Most important of all, you want to be sure that the experience will be mutually beneficial – a chance to expose your family to new cultures and ideas while sharing the very best that you and the country of Australia have to offer to someone from overseas.

To help make your decision and to ensure you are fully comfortable and ready to welcome new people into your home, here are three questions you should ask yourself before signing up.

Do you have the time to help a student explore a new country?

One of the greatest benefits to both the international student and the host family is the ability of that family to include the new arrival in regular Australia activities. Visits to local events, celebrations of National holidays, or local sporting matches. These are all exciting events that your students will love.

But before signing on, ask yourself if you have the time to go to these events and enjoy them. If not, it may just not be time yet. Your children may be too young or work too hectic at the moment. Or you may need to rearrange some other responsibilities. Whatever the case, make sure everyone involved will have the time needed to fully enjoy the experience.

How will your family react to having a new person under the roof?

You will surely discuss the prospect with your family in advance, but think beyond their initial reaction to how they will interact with a new person in the house. How will children interact? How will they enjoy the new responsibilities or outings? Will it work within the schedule and the needs of everyone currently in the house?

More often than not, you’ll find hosting an overseas student to be incredibly beneficial to children. It helps them to really get to know a new culture and a new country. It helps them to bond with someone outside their family, and it helps them to explore their own country through the eyes of a new arrival.

Do you have the resources to welcome someone additional into your home?

Finally, there’s the matter of resources. Having an extra person under your roof will require you to spend time and some money to help them out. The cost isn’t the same as a child, but it does exist. This is often a reason why some host families hold out for longer before volunteering.

If this is the case, consider contacting Global Experience and asking to learn more about what we can do to help you prepare for an international student in your home. It truly is the experience of a life time and if you match the questions above, you will be a great fit. Contact us today to learn more.

One of the hardest things to do in University in general, let alone as an international student in Australia, is to get real world job experience. The rigors of full time university studies as well as the opportunity to explore amazing cities like Sydney and Melbourne are alluring, and there are a number of restrictions and requirements for students from overseas seeking employment in Australia.

Restrictions and Rules for Student Employment

As a student in Australia, your student visa permits you to work up to 20 hours while school is in session and full time during school breaks. Keep in mind that work cannot begin until after classes have begun though, even if you arrive a couple of months beforehand. Additionally, volunteer and unpaid work counts towards your 20 hour limit so it’s important to track these things carefully.

Permission to work can be acquired at the time of a student’s visa grant for both the student and any family members who will be traveling with the student. Again, this requires acceptance and enrolment at an Australia university before you can do anything. Once you have a job in Australia, you must also acquire a Tax File Number (TFN) and file a tax return each year.

Professional Year Program

The above option allows for any form of traditional employment while you are a student in Australia, but there are other more specific programs that allow you to gain additional experience while in the country.

One of those programs is the Professional Year Program. This program lasts for 44 weeks and allows you to earn credit toward your degree as you build on your overall soft skills in the workplace. The program also includes a three-month internship in your area of study which will further help you toward application of what you are learning in an active workplace in Australia. Eligibility for the program requires you to have Temporary Resident status with 10 months or more of validity, an IELTS certificate, and a Skill Assessment Certificate.

Your University’s guidance department can help you to prepare for and take the next step in joining this program if you are interested.

Keeping a Job After Graduation

If you are interested in staying in Australia after you acquire your degree, there is a Visa program for this. Through the Graduate Visa 485, you can stay on and work full time in Australia for 2-4 years (depending on the type of degree you received). You’ll need to have completed a health assessment, police certificates and have current OSCH health insurance coverage at the time you submit your application. The coverage you need for this visa is different than when you were a student so you’ll need to change your coverage before applying.

Getting a Job in Australia as a Student

If you are interested in working in Australia while you study or staying on after you graduate to continue working in the country, there are a number of options to do so. The key is to follow the procedures put in place and start networking early and often so you can find a position that best fits your interests and expertise.

As a student considering staying in Australia for several months to study, there are a number of things you’ll want to consider – from the University at which you will study to the location where you want to live and the stuff you want to do for fun. That’s a lot to take in for a single trip, and yet taking these extra steps will ensure you have that much better of a time on your trip.

How to Start Thinking About Your Trip

Step one is to prepare mentally for your trip. With cities like Melbourne and Sydney consistently ranked among the most liveable in the world and the best destinations for International students, there are a lot of things to like about either but part of your decision will depend on your personality and the type of place you feel you will be most successful.

Here are some things to think about further for that trip:

  • Will You Stay Alone or with a Family – Homestay is a great option when staying in Sydney or Melbourne but it’s not your only option. Which will better suit your expectations from such a trip and make you comfortable.
  • How Long Will You Stay – Are you expecting to be in Australia for 3 months? Six months? A year? The duration will impact and be impacted by a number of factors but make sure you have a clear cut plan in place for what your trip will look like.
  • Is This Purely Educational or Half and Half – As a student your primary goal is to study and learn as much as you can while in Australia, but there are other things to consider. Will you have a job while you visit? Will you set aside time for sightseeing and travel within the country? Do you plan to return home for holidays? This all affects the trip as well as your budget.

By thinking about these things and answering the questions above, you can ensure that the process will be much smoother when you are prepared for your time overseas.

Preparing for a Trip to Australia

After you’ve thought through the process, the next step is to consider what it will take to make your dream trip a reality. There are a lot of logistical steps here to keep in mind including:

  • Visa and Passport – Get the paperwork needed to go on your trip and ensure it is for a student and that you have all the paperwork needed for the University at which you will be studying.
  • Go to the Doctor – Get copies of your medical records, sufficient prescriptions for the trip, and any other documentation needed to get you through your trip.
  • Get Insurance – Check to see what the insurance you have covers while overseas and if needed, purchase supplemental health insurance, as well as travel and accident insurance for your time overseas.
  • Learn More About Your Destination – Part of the fun of your trip will be exploring and getting to know Australia, but take some time in advance as well to learn what you can about your destination. If you are staying with a host family, you’ll have a major benefit here as well.

There are a lot of other factors to keep in mind and prepare for when you get ready for this trip. Allow plenty of time from when you confirm to the departure to go through and make sure you have covered them all. This will be one of the best trips of your life – make sure you are fully prepared for it before you set off.

On 13 October, the 18 finalists for the 2015 StudyNSW International Student Awards gathered at Sydney’s Opera House for the award announcements. Global Experience was honoured to be among those nominated and humbled to be pictured with the other incredible nominees.

2015 StudyNSW International Student of the Year Awards


The awards, presented by the Premier and Cabinet of NSW, are designed to celebrate the contributions made by International Students to the communities of NSW. They also include the international student organisations and community groups that work with those students, such as Global Experience. Here is a video introducing the category in which we were nominated:

The winners this year of the awards were announced at the ceremony on 13 October. Here include:

International Student of the Year Award

  • Zaki Haidari (Afghanistan) won in Vocational Education and Training (VET)
  • Dunya Alruhaimi, from Iraq, won in the Higher Education category
  • Ting Ting Chen (China) won in English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)
  • Mingjun Zhang (China) won in Schools.

International Student Community Engagement Award

  • Business/Community Group – NSW Police Force
  • Education Provider – University of Newcastle in conjunction with Jesmond Park Uniting Church

Stay tuned to Global Experience’s social media channels to keep up to date with news in the International Student community, including new awards, recent events in the community and active discussions among community organisations that work with the students represented by awards like this.

Congratulations again to the winners! We’ll be posting throughout the coming week with images and videos of the event and the winners. Keep an eye out for those posts and share your own on our channels!

If you plan on studying overseas, you have a number of options for how to do so. In fact, it may seem like there are too many options, making the decision much harder. But depending on the experience you want to have and the resources you have available, we can narrow down your choices to one or two good options. Let’s take a look at how to choose housing for your overseas study trip.

What Kind of Experience Do You Want to Have?

If you will be overseas for 3-6 months, start by asking yourself a few very important questions. These will help you determine what type of experience you want to have:

  • Do you know anyone on this trip? Are any friends going as well?
  • How intensive will your study be? Do you plan on getting a job?
  • What are your non-academic goals for this trip?

If you plan on a purely academic trip with intensive classes and little time for much else, a student apartment where you will have the space and time to think when studying may be a good fit for you. Or you may want the support and assistance of a host family who can reduce the stress of decisions like where to go grocery shopping.

On the other hand, if you are planning for a more social trip, you will want to be with people who know the area and who can help you get acclimated and enjoy your time. Staying with friends is certainly an option if you have friends also going on this trip, but if not a homestay will be a good fit.

A host family that knows the area, especially if you are considering Melbourne or Sydney, and who is friends with other host families and can introduce you to fellow international students will help you get acclimated and enjoy your time overseas more quickly.

How to Factor in Budget to Your Decision

Another major factor is budget. How much money do you have to spend on housing while overseas and how can you still enjoy your trip without running out of money?

Again, this is a situation in which homestay makes a lot of sense if you are on a tight budget. Because you will be able to share meals with your host family and because they know the area and can direct you to lower cost grocery stores and events and destinations that don’t cost as much, you can still enjoy your time in a new country without paying for it like a tourist.

Determining if Homestay is Right for You

If you plan on visiting Melbourne or Sydney as an international student, homestay is one of the best options. Because of how much there is to do and how costly living in these two cities can be if you don’t know the area, a host family will become an important point of support for your trip. They can help you make smart, budgeted decisions and guide you in enjoying your time in Australia for the several months you will be here.

Learn more about staying with a host family and other options for housing when staying overseas from our site here.

For an international student spending several months in a new country, there’s often a checklist of things to do – the places you want to see, the food you want to try, and the events you want to be part of. But, as many international students can tell you, there’s also a list of things you don’t realize you missed until you return home. If you are preparing for a trip to Melbourne or if you are currently in Melbourne as an international student, here are five cultural highlights you should make sure to see while there.

Royal Exhibition Building

Named a Unesco World Heritage site in 2004, the Royal Exhibition Building has been a cornerstone of Melbourne since 1880 when it was built for the International Exhibition. The first Australian Parliament was held here in 1901, it was the first building to fly the country’s flag, and now it is home to some of the biggest cultural events in the country each year, including the Melbourne Art Fair very two years.

Luna Park

You’ve probably seen pictures of Luna Park, one of the most famous amusement parks in Australia and home to the oldest continuously operating wooden rollercoaster in the world. Open for more than 100 years now, Luna Park is something you have to see if you are in Melbourne in the spring or summer.

Melbourne Museum

The Melbourne Museum is home to unique specimens and exhibits from the surrounding Melbourne and Victoria region. It is home to all things that make the culture of this beautiful city so unique and one of the great museums of Australia – a must see for anyone who visits.

Melbourne Cricket Ground

Capable of holding 100,000 people (and frequently filled to capacity), the ‘G’ is one of the most impressive and highest attended sporting venues in the world. Here you’ll find cricket matches in the summer, AFL in the winter, and events throughout the year, as well as tours available on non-game days. This is a once in a lifetime experience for a sporting fan.

Shrine of Remembrance

Originally built to remember the Australians whose lives were lost in World War I, the Shrine of Remembrance is now used to commemorate all Australian lives lost in wars. Major events are held here each year for Remembrance Day (11 November) and ANZAC Day (25 April. There are free tours here each day or you can visit and tour the memorial on your own.

This is only a list of the highlights in Melbourne. There are so many more things you should make the time to see while you are here – from the Royal Botanical Gardens, to the 600 traders hocking their wares in Queen Victoria Market. Make your trip to Melbourne an experience you will never forget.