[a brief survival guide for new ausaiders]
New to Sydney? Don’t worry, you are one of many people on earth feeling the same. Here are some tips that will ease you to survive at least in the first few days.
- Where to Stay? Temporary accommodation
Senior students in UNSW have tried hard to provide temporary accommodation for you. The accommodation is usually a room that is temporarily vacant because the owner (usually a student) is in a holiday. You will be safely placed in one of the temporary accommodations which is arranged by senior students who pick you up at the airport. Don’t worry about the place and transport, a senior student will take you to the door of your temporary room.
- Feel Kangen? Call Indonesia! It is cheap!
Calling Indonesia from Sydney is not a big deal. Sydney provides you with a huge number of calling card choices. Calling card is a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)-based card that enable you to call overseas in a very affordable price. By using a calling card, you spend only AUD 10 (sekitar 70 ribu rupiah saja) to call Jakarta for about 4-5 hours. Yes, you are right! It is even much cheaper than calling Jakarta from Bali. However, The rate to call other place than Jakarta is more expensive. To Bali, for example, using Call Express will cost you AUD 10 for 3-hour effective call. Some recommended calling cards are: Sunshine, Global Connect, Call express, Star Card, etc. They are purchasable from almost any news agent around Kingsford, Kensington and Randwick (the three closest suburbs to UNSW). Each card has its own advantages and disadvantages. You can try one by one till you find the one that suit you best.
- What to Eat? Indonesian Shops Everywhere
We understand that some people find it is not easy to abruptly change their diet behavior. Sambal terasi and indomie goreng are sometimes not displaceable and still occupy the top rank of your favorite meal list. If it happen to you, Sydney is the right place for you. You can easily find Indonesian (or oriental) shops and restaurants around Kingsford, Kensington and Randwick. Around Kingsford, which is 5-10 minute-walk form UNSW, you can find Andalas, Ayam Georeng Jakarta, Ayam Goreng 99, White Lotus, etc. In short, it is easy to find Indonesian food. No worries lah!
- ISS: Your First Home at UNSW
ISS, standing for International Student Service, is the first place you’re gonna visit at UNSW. There, you will be given a ‘survival’ kit and briefing to living in Sydney. Senior student will take you to ISS to register, so you don’t have to worry where to go. It is located in the red center, one of the most famous building in UNSW. ISS will be your comfortable refreshing place where you can access the internet for free and consult any problems related to your settlement.
- Banking Matters
To be able to receive your stipend (the scholarship: your major source of income in Sydney), you are expected to open a bank account. Commonwealth is the most favorite one. Don’t ask me why! You will be assisted by senior student to open your account and deposit your first salary (settlement allowance) in it. Please be advised that you can get the most out of banking service. You can use the telephone and internet banking for almost any transactions (pay your rent, electricity bill, telephone bill, credit card, etc). Make sure you understand how to utilize the two important services. You can also ask the bank customer service when you open your account. Still can’t get it? Ask one of the senior students. They will be more than happy to help you :). For sure, it is a lot easier than the ADS selection test!
- Renting a Permanent Accommodation
Now it’s time to think something serious: a permanent accommodation. Everything about renting an accommodation have actually been provided in a booklet called “Renting Guide”. However, sometime people find it is not fun to read everything in such a book. Here are some items you should now about renting an accommodation:
- List of available accommodation can be obtained for free in a housing agent (e.g. lj hooker, ng farah, laing & simon, etc). The one that I am using is LJ Hooker Kingsford, Phone: 02) 9662 6555
- Find a good one in the list? You can inspect the flat/house by depositing approximately AUD 50 (or more) to get the key. The inspection is usually no longer than 1 hour. Get your money back as the inspection done.
- If you wish to spend less money for rent, it is recommended to share a two (or more)-bedroom flat with other student[s].
- Once you’ve found a good place and flat mate, apply to the agent and deposit some money if needed.
- Before signing the contract, the agent will, for once again, inspect the flat, list its physical condition and give the report to you.
- You will need to re-inspect the flat and decide whether you agree or disagree to the condition report.
- The rent is usually calculated per week and paid biweekly. At the beginning of contract you have to pay bond (deposit money) that usually worth 4 week of rent. The bond is refundable as long as you keep the flat in good condition. (refer to the inspection report)
If you decide to be an anak kost in a flat or house you don’t have to worry about all items above. Everything is much easier!
- How to Install your Own Telephone?
Unlike Indonesia, Australia has more than one telephone providers that you can choose. The infrastructure is already established so it will not take a long time to have your telephone ready. All you have to do is to register to one of providers you like. If you want to install Telstra, let’s say, simply call 132200 and your phone will be ready in less than 2 days. Be advised that you will be charged for installation fee. To get a better idea about the advantage and disadvantage of a provider, ask a senior student. They will help you without charge 🙂
- Internet @ home
Many internet options are available for you. You can select either prepaid or plan (postpaid), dial-up or broadband. Each service has its own special features. If you need only to check email sometimes at home, a prepaid option is enough. Many prepaid cards are available (e.g. UDUS (UNSW’s prepaid internet) planet, hello, MyNet, etc). They are available in some price schemes ($5, $10, $20, $50, etc). Prepaid internet is a dial-up service, and easy to set up.
FYI, internet is available for free and in unlimited quota at your school, sometimes it is not necessary to set up internet at home. However, if you want to have unlimited internet access from home, you can try other service such as ADSL/broadband. Some students have installed those kind of services and, for sure, they can help you to make decision.
- Summer: The Beach is Calling
Ever think that living overseas will make your skin look brighter/whiter? Not in summer mate! January is very hot in Sydney and it is a good time for swimming. The beach is calling you to come and sunbathe. You can go to Coogee beach, Bondi Beach (the most famous beach in Sydney), La Peruse (where the Mission Impossible 2 was filmed), Maroubra (our favorite BBQ spot). January-February will be quite fun time for you before the courses started. Yes, you will be obliged to attend the Academic Preparation Program (APP) but don’t worry too much about that. It will not be better than your EAP in Jakarta or Bali. Enjoy your time as you will never have that much fun during course. Believe me!
- Mailing List: email@example.com
The last but not least, join our mailing list as soon as you arrive. It is a MUST since you will never be recognised as a UNSW-Ausider without subscribing to the group [I am kiddin’, mate!]. Just send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let the moderator[s] do the rest.
Hope you can get a clearer picture in your mind. Welcome to Sydney!