for all new international students

Month: December, 2011

Southern cross station

At some point during your studies you might have to make a trip out to this all important station, whether it would be going to the airport or to a country town. Or going shopping at DFO or Harbour town in Docklands. You most probably likely going to need to use the station when you have your exams at Melbourne Sports and Aquatics centre to enter and exit trains there.  And of course there is the Graduation ceremony at Ethihad stadium.

Southern Cross station is one of the larger city loop stations. It not only houses metropolitan trains, trains and buses from the country start and end there. Vline is the company that runs Victoria’s country trains.  And of course Skybus departs here in the coach terminal. There are two sides to the station; a country side and the city side. The city side where all the metropolitan trains depart is closest to Etihad stadium.

At Southern Cross station you can buy tickets for the country trains and buses as well as the city trains.

Also Southern Cross station has a great many food outlets, as well as a newsagency and some shops. Here you can find Red rooster, Coffee HQ, Sugar station as well as a whole heap of other outlets. And Gloria Jeans and more cafes such as the City Blue Fish and Choix (you can read all about them in just across the road from the station. Hungry jacks is right outside the coach terminal.

Need help? There is a travellers aid at the Collins st end of the station.

There are a few atms here as well, but they are all spread out all over the station.  Some of them are on the metro side of the station.

On weekday afternoons you can collect a free MX paper to read on your way home from two of the MX boxes. One of them is at the Bourke st end of the station and the other is at the Collins st end of the station.

The other day there was a cheap cosmetics stall at the station just a few metres from the newsagency. Here they sell some makeup and beauty products at really good prices. I bought a couple for my friend from that stall. All the makeup there is under $20.

DFO is at the Bourke st end of the station

Occasionally they do have some sort of freebies every now and then.


designer clothes that you can rent

Here’s a website that lets you rent designer clothes for free

Cheap McDonalds ice cream vs Mini Melts and expensive ice cream.

Mini Melts:

These are only $4 for a small tub but I do love it for its popping sensation in the mouth and the burst of flavour.

The expensive Ben and Jerry’s ice cream

They have a wide variety of flavours and I sure do love them, but for $6 a bucket its not exactly cheap hence I will only buy it once in a while. They are from the US hence the hefty price.

Cheap $0.50 McDonalds ice cream

Cons: Its artificially sweet

Its full cream

The machine is a little dirty

There are not many flavours at Maccas

Staff seem a little distant

Macca’s is more money focused


Its really smooth

Big and filling for the price paid

All the ice creameries:


You know that the machine is clean

There is a wider variety of flavours in an ice cream shop

At least the seller knows their stuff

You can mix and match flavours to your liking

The ice cream is fresh and so good


It can be expensive

$2.90 coffee deal at RJs sandwich works in QV

RJ’s sandwich works is a sandwich store in QV. They also have one in Melbourne Central, but I am yet to go there and visit.
Although their main focus is on sandwiches, they do coffees. All of their hot drinks is $2.90 and it come with a free mini muffin. I had that coffee deal.

They also have other coffee and lunchtime specials and they sell baked potatoes.
Since this is in the food court, there is no seating anywhere.
The ladies there were a little hostile and I was surprised to see that their shop was quiet given the fact that I got there around morning tea time. In fact I was the only one there.
I did ask for a couple of sugars for my coffee but they must have forgot, because when I tried it it wasn’t as sweet as I would have liked.
The mini muffin was good and the coffee was a tad too bitter and a bit strong. And it was so hot that it almost burnt my hand on the walk back to the office. They didn’t have any serviettes anywhere for me take to make sure that I don’t burn my hand.
All in all I’d like to try their sandwiches and not so much coffee. This isn’t the best coffee place in Melbourne

Coffee at Sunny’s bakery

Sunny’s bakery is a small little Vietnamese bakery in Smith st, Fitzroy. Because it is so small it is mainly a takeaway place.
But here their coffees are really cheap; $2.50 for small, $3 for a medium and $4 for a large cup of coffee. But this wasn’t the best coffee that I have had. Their coffee is from Beraldo, not known for best coffee.
I had a long black.
They have a huge selection of rolls. They have about 13 different varieties on the menu from pork to salad and egg. Their prices were between $4-$6 which is not bad for a student since they were huge and filling. I got to admit though the price was good, the vegies were not as fresh as they should be and the carrot didn’t have enough vingar to it to make it strong and pickly like vietnamese cucumber.
The only thing being a letdown was the dragon ladies behind the counter saying no pictures. But I managed to sneak in all my pictures.

Visa Issues

The application costs $565 to process in Australia. It does not cover your English language test fees as well as your Health check fees which are $300.
Then there are the English language test fees which are between $150-$400. For some courses you might have to sit a English language test.
You can only work 20 hours per week on your visa unless you are on holidays from uni. If immigration finds that you are in breach of that policy you will be kicked out of the country.

You can bring your family here if you want but they too have the 20 hour per week working restriction
You then have to maintain good grades otherwise you will be kicked out of your course and country according to RMIT’s policy. If not you will be reported to Immigration by RMIT International and you will have to explain the bad grades.

Make sure that you choose a good migration agent as there are some dodgy ones around. Ask friends and family which migration agent they found was useful.

Another condition that you must have is Overseas Health cover. In Australia this costs around $300-$400 depending on which health insurance company you choose. Should you need some medical treatment in Australia this can insure you and you might not have to pay a single cent depending on what you signed up for and what your insurance covers.  But if you don’t have health cover you will have to pay lots more. The only students that are exempted are the Swedish, Norwegian and Belgian students who have their own insurance covered by their government.

You also need to find somewhere to live and make sure that you inform RMIT of your address withing seven days of moving there.

Universities should also make sure that you have good English language skills before you commence study. Some of them like RMIT don’t. RMIT offers foundation courses and English language courses but for some students it might not be enough to study successfully here. You might have to do VCE in Melbourne before going to RMIT. There are several schools in Melbourne which happily accepts international students. Check out: for more information

Students often bribe lecturers in some subjects and universities just to get good grades so that they can stay in Australia. This is not allowed. There has been a few instances at RMIT where International students bribed their lecturers for good grades.

Most students at some point or another feel homesick. This is not uncommon and there are ways around that such as doing your research about Melbourne before you come to Melbourne. Another way is to join RMIT Mate and talk to someone who is already in Australia and studying.

For most International students plagiarism is a problem as their English is not as good as local students. In the last year or two this problem is reoccurring in RMIT,  particularly for RMIT business students. Plagiarism is where one copies someone else’s idea and use it as their own without acknowledging the source. There are really harsh penalties for this.

In 2005 a lot of students from RMIT business, particularly Asian students applied for Special consideration due to anxiety problems. Most of the Asian students didn’t have good English and haven’t really got used to the idea of living away from home. In their Special consideration applications many said that they were “ill” and got doctors to give them medical certificates just so that they can sit the exam at a later date.  Now this is not on and hence in 2007 RMIT tightened its policy on special consideration.

Special Consideration

I have tried to get Special Consideration for some of my problems during exam time and it is hard for me to do so. RMIT has rejected my special consideration a few times in the past for legitimate things.

RMIT is making it quite hard for me and other students to do so without any complaints.

What is Special Consideration?

Special Consideration is something that you apply for at RMIT if you experience some sort of hardship during your studies. It can be used when you are doing you assesments for an extension of time,  deferred assesment, etc

Why you ask, is it hard to get special consideration?

First of all you need to fill out the form and take it to the Hub before your assesment date or 48 hours after your assesment.  This is not a lot of time after the assesment compared to what other universities such as Victoria University give, which is about seven days.

And then you need to supply documentation five days after that. RMIT requires all the supporting documentation such as a death certificate which is not always possible or a police report if you have been a victim of crime. It is hard to speak to Police and you might be fearful of them for the first few days after the assault.

Or you might go to the DLU and they might recommend special consideration instead of giving it themselves. Which is what they should do. After you apply for it you are then asked to consult the DLU which might be hard to understand because they suggested that you apply for special consideration.

After you apply the special consideration panel meets to discuss your case. They then will give you an answer within 5-10 working days after you apply, which most people’s application is declined. Or they would write “Student to liaise”, meaning that students must talk to their lecturer. But what if the lecturer was the one who suggested Special consideration for the student or if the student doesn’t want to talk to the lecturer?

And then if you don’t like the decision you then have to appeal to University Appeals Committee. Here they are stricter with stricter reasonings such as “new evidence” or ” RMIT broke the rules”. Even that is really difficult to argue.

The only other avenue is to make a complaint and even that takes time. It can take up to a month’s time to resolve the complaint,  by then the assesment would have been completed.

The effects of this:

For some students it may lead to a wider case of cheating in exams, especially if the student knows nothing about the subject because of their anxiety or depression. It could also to more discipline hearings and harser punishments, neither that you as students want.

This might the cause of being a victim, of someone close to you dying or a disability.  Disabilities can affect all students whether it will be mental, learning or physical. Physical trauma such as injuries from a road accident can be classified as a disability according to the Disability standards. RMIT does not always follow these.

For more information see: and the Grow a heart campaign

Melbourne vs Sydney

Melbourne is the most liveable city in Australia. Here we have all our cheap foods and great public transportation. Most of the people here are patient compared to Sydney. The roads in Sydney are terrible and there is not much transportation except for inner city buses and trains.

And unlike Melbourne where you buy one ticket for everything, in Sydney you have to buy more than one ticket to travel on the buses and the trains depending on how many trips you have. Here this is way more expensive than Melbourne

Lentil as anything- pay as you go

I visited the Lentil as anything in Abbotsford.This is the second outlet in Melbourne and it is right next to the Abbotsford Convent and next to the Convent bakery.
Here it has a very homely feeling.This place is run by volunteers who all love to cook vegetarian food. It has some wood tables to give it that warm feeling. There are childrens games as well as books to keep the kids occupied. Michael and Cindy from Where’s the beef visited the one in St Kilda but they are yet to visit the one in here.
The toilets are out the back.
It is open seven days a week from 9am-9pm and you can catch the 200, 201 and 207 bus from the city to here. Or you can ride your bike here. This place is very dog friendly. They have outdoor seating which you can see the lovely scenery on a nice day.

They have an array of vegan meals there that you can choose from and it is a buffet. You grab a plate and you take from whatever they have. They have a few mains, a salad, an entree and a dessert. The menu changes all the time. All the food is vegetarian You pay whatever you feel like paying as it is a not for profit place. So today I only paid $5 for some yummy food and some tea. All the food filled me up.
I loved the noodles, the salad everything as it was really fresh. The noodles were really tasty
At the end of the meal you pay by donation in the donation box. Also they were selling their cookbook for $54.
Lentil As Anything on Urbanspoon

Noodle Kingdom

My friend and I visited here last Friday night just as a get together. We were in the mood for some cheap dumplings and I felt like going to Noodle Kingdom. There are a few branches in Melbourne. It started off in Box Hill. I visited the one in Box Hill and the city one is just like it except Box Hill is bigger and much cleaner. And their toilets are not up some dingy flight of stairs like the city one is.

Noodle Kingdom on Urbanspoon

Here you can see the guy working; roasting the ducks on site. Also the menus are displayed on the window for all to see.
Here they have special dumpling meals. We wanted to share everything so we ordered four big plates to share

Some of the staff wore trackpants which suggested un proffesionalism. The guy basically slapped down our plates in front of us. They all came in one go, which suggests that they wanted us out of there asap.

Noodles ($11) this was our least favourite. They are supposed to be specialising in noodles but these came in all different shapes and sizes. It was all thrown in together.
Pork dumplings ($4)
Veggie Buns ($4.50) we didn’t like this much. I found that the skin was way too thick and it didn’t have a lot of vegetables in there.
Veggie Puffs ($13). I loved them. The skin was really nice and these were filling
All in all I might just come back here with Fil and my friends. All the meals are huge for you pay for. In the end, although the service wasn’t up to scratch, it was a good night out for some dumplings.
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