Migrating to any country is ALWAYS a major decision, not only for what we have to consider to start a new life, but also what we will no longer have in it.
Studying abroad is always a good option, it involves a very big challenge but it has innumerable benefits in your life. However, if you also want to work while you study, well this changes the game a bit.
Often, in countries like Australia, you have the opportunity to work part-time while studying, but BE AWARE, that does not mean you are going to find something immediately, so we have to be WELL AWARE that months can go by without us finding any jobs, and of course, you have to eat, transport, pay rent, telephone, etc without having an income.
And it’s just now when I’m going to tell you the truth. If you want to migrate for any reason, the first thing you should have is a good economic margin of maneuver, especially if you do not have a specific job opportunity at the door. Many times we think we can get something quickly as waiters or cleaners, but the truth is that you will be facing a very harsh reality, where many people like you, from all countries that you can imagine, with masters and doctorates, are fighting for a position in a restaurant or local. This, as a consequence, increases competition and lowers the remuneration, which is usually the minimum wage.
Obviously, a country like Australia, offers a minimum wage that literally is what you need to pay for your rent, food, studies, transportation and other needs. However, if you are keen to live the nightlife or buy stuff in sales, then consider that the minimum will be insufficient and that you will have to spend your savings. When looking for a job, you should always keep in mind that it may take an average of 3 months for it to arrive.
This is a very hard reality and it causes you a shock especially the first time you go to the supermarket to buy your basics and you realize that your shampoo, the same one that you bought in your country, costs $ 18 in Australia – and you’re unemployed!
Now, consider that school costs and that at least in Australia, to get the VISA you have to pay in advance. That’s right, if you do not pay, you can not even apply for the VISA, and we’re talking that at least if you want to study English, the cheapest ones (and still reputable) you’re going to get are courses where the week costs $ 200 aud, so you have to do the maths and add other expenses such as enrollment, medical insurance that is MANDATORY, study materials and, where appropriate, the school’s credential.
As for the student VISA, there are different options, but you should consider at least $ 575 aud only for the application (which are not reimbursable in case you do not get it), as well as at least another $ 300 aud in medical exams and take of biometrics, and if required by the Government. Consider another $ 300 aud in certified translations of your documents. Another very important point is that to grant you the Visa, the Government needs to know that you can keep live decently even when you do not have work and that is why it asks you to check at least $ 20,290 aud for each year that you want to be in Australia, either yours or of a direct relative. Sources of evidence available to be used are bank accounts, savings, and loans, since credit cards, properties and investment funds are not usually accepted as proof of economic solvency, so the more you want to stay, the more you need to prove in your application.
Now, the flights. Flying to Australia is EXPENSIVE. A round flight can be between $ 1,500 and $ 2,500 in economy class and with a stopover in LA (so consider the American VISA also in the expense in case you do not have it). Depending on the season the flights rise or fall in price, for example, in May I paid $ 1,800 aud for the round flight to Melbourne, but in January, which is the summer and holiday period in Australia, I paid the same amount but for a flight simple.
Imagine that you arrived, that you have your Visa, course and your health insurance. Now you have to live somewhere. Well, the bed rents (depending on the area) can be between $ 150 and $ 200 aud per week. If you want an apartment, it will be more expensive than that. To transport you have to buy a Myki card that allows you to use trains, trams and buses, and which maximum rate per day is $ 9 aud (I’ll explain the subject of transport in a separate post), if you buy the monthly pass you will get it in $ 170 aud per month.
To communicate over the phone, I recommend using a prepaid plan of $ 20 to $ 40 aud maximum per month and use your unlocked cell phone.
Regarding food and entertainment, you should consider at least $ 250 a month. To give you an idea of the prices, in Coles you can find something like this:
- One cucumber: $ 1.99
- 2 liters of free milk: $ 2.00
- 500 gr flour tortillas: $ 3.20
- Box of 6 cereal bars: $ 1.99
- Lettuce bag of 120gr: $ 2.00
- 737gr of apples (4 apples): $ 2.36
- Tuna can of 95gr: $ 2.00
- 1Kg of yogurt: $ 6.00
Every week there are offers and you can find good options, but it is very important to realize that almost nothing costs less than $ 2.00 aud.
However, not everything is so difficult, for example, do not have to spend to drink water, here you can take it directly from the tap. For stationary, you can buy some things in places like Daiso that sells Japanese products very very cheap and of good quality, it is very good to buy things from school such as notebooks, pens, plates, glasses, containers and others, since almost everything costs $ 2 or $ 5 Australian dollars (aud) at most. Another option is Aldi, where you find German products that are the “copy” of those you already know but cheaper, for example if you want a Philadelphia cheese in Aldi you can get a Manhattan cheese!
You can have coffee almost always for $ 3.50 aud or up to $ 5.00, an ice cream costs between $ 3 and $ 4 aud. A 600ml Coca-Cola can be found at $ 3.00 or up to $ 4.50 aud.
The cinema costs on average $ 15 to $ 20 aud, in normal room without mega screens or 3D, if you want to go to the VIP do not ask me because I’m afraid to know, HA!
But do not be scared, there are also many free or cheap things. In Melbourne especially there is always something to do, you can take advantage of paying the full day of transportation and get to know the city. Since there is street art everywhere, there are also artists always playing in the center of the city and they are super talented, there are beaches like Brighton, St. Kilda or Elwood where you can have fun without spending a dollar.
Anyway, what I want to transmit to you is not anxiety, but precaution. It is always better to prepare ourselves for difficult times especially when we are facing a change as strong as going to another country, particularly for Latinos when we migrate to dollarized countries.
I hope this information will help you, and whatever you need to know specifically, do not hesitate to ask me!