So you’re planning your study abroad in Australia… your visa’s been granted. Your saving is going… okay. You’ve put your deposit down on your Air New Zealand flights. You’ve already selected the classes your taking.
Do you sit and apply for internships or jobs in your chosen city of residence? Look for your university’s (also called ‘uni’ in Oz) dorm options or hit Google on the apartment hunt? Find people to share a house with? Research how to buy textbooks once you arrive? Sensible answer? Yes. All of these things.
…But on any year in Australia, remember that classes, responsibilities, routine and general adulting, while important, can all wait, because actually seeing this big, beautiful country comes first.
And I should know, as I spent a whole year Down Under not so long ago. Here’s six reasons why you should kick off your semester studying, working and living in Australia with a tour, or end it with one when you’ve earned the cash to pay it off!
1. You’ll see a ton of Australia.
Sure, the classes you plan to take are important, but so long as you have enough money in your pocket to pay rent and feed yourself for those few months, it’s the traveling part that you reeealllyyy came all this way for. It’s the road trips, the beaches and the long nights spent with new friends that are also important – not just the four walls of a classroom.
So if you do have the funds… use a decent amount on seeing the country before you settle right down and get busy with your classes. There’s no time like the present.
Take it from someone who arrived in Sydney carefully planning for enough dollar to live on a day to day basis, but still enough to travel and see everything I possibly could. Balancing that desperation to get on my feet after exhausting much of the semester studying. I never really ended up seeing as much of the country as I wanted to, because that semester flew by FAST, and I spent all that hard earned cash on having the most awesome time EVER while studying and living in Sydney (which is also equally as important).
Having said that, it’s crucial not to bankrupt yourself – when studying abroad for a semester, a good quantity to have saved up to support yourself while you try to get on doing the aforementioned ‘adult’ bit we suggest at least $1200 (that’s US Dollars; around $1,700 Aussie dollars). Like buying textbooks, feeding yourself for those three-four months, and still getting out and making new friends in the process.
2. You’ll find your tribe
Heading to a new city, even for a short time, is a bit like being a freshman in college. If you’re heading on a quest to Oz alone, with a friend or just with some other students from your university, you’ll probably want to forge a slightly bigger support network. In order to make those solid life-long friends, you’ve got to be in the right place, right time, and all of that.
And the easiest way to make new besties, and find people maybe you’ll even want to live with once the ‘travel-bit’ is over, is by traversing the country with a bunch of like-minded backpackers who want a whole lot of social interaction too. And if you choose a tour, there’ll be plenty to choose from.
Bunks, beaches, boats, bars or on the bus each day – it’s all fair hunting ground for your new BFFs.
3. You’ll stay in the best places
When you go on an Australia tour, you may find yourself in a hostels such as BUNK, Nomads and Bounce. These are large, sociable hostels, so they’re the perfect place to start until you find some friends that you want to live with, study with or hang with during your time in Australia. Or just friends for the evening.
We’re not saying you have to meet your lifelong soulmate over the flames of the hostel campfire or share shots with your newfound roomies within the first hour of checking in. But we promise, give it a few hours in hostel bars you visit each night on your tour, and at the very least, you’ll gain valuable insider travel tips and advice about studying and living in Australia for a semester from others who’ve been in the country longer, doing just what you plan to.
…You’ll find out where and how to get a job part-time job, the best local markets are (pssst Paddington Market or the Rocks, in Sydney, Victoria or Brunswick flea each Sunday in Melbourne), which Sydney college bars not to be missed (Side Bar, Scary Canary or the Regent Hotel).
4. It can be budget friendly
It’s a longstanding assumption that if you’re a budget traveler, your best bet is doing it independently, rather than jumping aboard a group tour.
But when you consider things like the cost of buying a trapped-out camper, the fuel for it, roadside assistance when it breaks down, the post-travel tolls (UGH.. watch out for these, you might not even know you drove under one), accommodation, bus passes, boat trips, extra days spent hanging around because the boat trip you wanted was full, and all of those unexpected surprises to your wallet that come with traveling, it can all add up. FAST.
Our tour providers like Contiki and G Adventures are your transportation, accommodation, off-the-beaten-path experiences, knowledgeable guide, and often even your meals all rolled into one.
And since you can book them long before you leave for Oz, and secure them with a small deposit if you need to, you’re laughing before you even arrive.
5. You’ll get the real deal Aussie experience
Cruise through the gorgeous beaches of the Whitsundays, learning to dive on a certified course in the Great Barrier Reef, exploring Tasmania, or camping out before watching the sun rise over Uluru… We’re serious when we say there’s so much of Australia to see, so get out and explore those Aussie vibes without having to lift a finger.
6. …And have plenty of amazing stories to take with you on the next chapter of your study abroad adventure.
Want to experience the best of Australia’s swoon-inducing beaches, Aboriginal culture and rainforests, and meet lifelong friends to share the ride with? Check out all of our trips Down Under right here!