for all new international students

Category: student welfare

Stress less week

This week is Stress less week. Which means free water and cupcakes and massages. What a perfect way to end the semester just before the exams.

All from Student Union and All for students


Log off day number 2 and free cupcakes by Katherine

Proudly supported by your Student Union and your SSAF fees.
Log off encourages people not use technology but to connect with friends by doing things together. It can include playing board games and ball games.
Here are the pictures.
More free food
More prizes to be won so come on down.

I had heaps of fun playing this game of Jenga

Love the t-shirt

The survey in which we all filled out at the end

And then I went outside for free cupcakes also supported by the SSAF fees. I went to support the final year art students as they get funding from the Union for their exhibition depending on how many people turn up to get some free cupcakes and put their name down. Its feels great to be supporting students and I encourage you to come on down.

Money saving ideas for students

Here are some money saving ideas for students. I know that as a student you need every single cent for the rainy days. Here’s some ways to save money
1) Collect free furniture. Did you know that RUSU has free furniture on Wednesdays? Well they do during semester. You can collect heaps of chairs, desks, tables all for free.
2) Use your buy one get one free vouchers that you get at Orientation events and other events. I shared one with a friend and we both ended up spliting the cost for the other one.
3) Do big cook ups on Sundays and then put some of your meals in the freezer for the week. Things to cook up could be stews, soups, curries, chicken etc. The freezer is your friend in this case and it is a good idea to shop around for the best one.
4) Go to all the free RUSU events going on all year and then you can have lots of fun cheaply. Cheap is great. RUSU has many events on for free or really cheap for non members
5) Don’t go out all the time for lunch or other meals. Once a week is ok. But if you do go out for meals see if you can try and share them with a friend as you would share the costs.
6) Bring your own lunch from home- I know this might be hard seeing as SAB doesn’t have microwaves. But the city campus has heaps more microwaves. And during the summer months you could have a salad and sandwich.
7) Carpool- if you go to the Bundoora campus and one of your mates does why not share a ride? And take turns in driving?
8) Make coffess yourself at home- I know they taste horrid but when you get used to the idea it is easier.
9) Grocery shop on Cheap days
10) Look for $5 coffee and muffin deals if you need to buy coffee outside. Mrs Fields has plenty fo them and so does some of the other places in the city.
11) Bulk buy your groceries- Look out for discounts in your weekly mail. Someimes there are discounts in Good Taste Magazines for Woolworths.
12) Buy tickets to events online- you can save heaps and heaps of money. Sometimes RUSU has competitions for their members and you can win some free tickets. Occassionally RMIT gives away some free movie tickets if you participate in their focus groups.
13) Join heaps of loyalty clubs for free- your favourite stores send you newsletters and heaps of discounts off stuff
14) If you live close to Uni you could walk to Uni and save money on gym memberships. Or live within about 5 kms of Uni you could ride your bike on a nice day. Save money on Public transport and parking. And it also saves money on Gym Memberships
15) Be healthy. Did you know that by being healthy you could save heaps of money on going to the hospital or the doctor?
16) Use your council. Did you know that council offer free things and events for its residents and there are free libraries for all to use? You can borrow books for free.
17) Hold a bakeathon at your house and have everyone having a go at baking. You’ll have heaps of fun and lots of snacks for the next two weeks.
18) Go to lots of Op-shops for your clothes. Op shops sell clothes in mint condition for a great price. Some of them you can find clothes for $3-$6
 19) Volunteer at places like Realfoods and Kinfolk. Here you can make friends and learn lots of skills for free. And have free meals occassionally and drinks. Sometimes these places hold cooking classes free for all.
20) Make sure that you shop around when finding a bank/phone/internet as some deals are better for you than others. Make sure that you sign up for a deal that is right for you. No two people are the same.


Its not fun to feel anxiety.
About 1 in 3 students have anxiety around exam times. There isn’t a reason for this it just happens. But RMIT doesn’t care about anxiety or other mental health problems.
Today I just did a survey and told them just that.

Anxiety can be felt when students have had something happen to them all of a sudden or it could be for no reason.

Students it helps to see a counsellor sooner rather than later. If you see one of RMIT’s ones they’d usually be able to write a reference for you should you need special consideration.

It is normal for you to be anxious when RMIT has decided to hold an exclusion hearing during the semester hampering your studies and making you feel like you are in limbo land.


The way how International students are treated at RMIT

The way that RMIT treats International students is like cash cows. International students pay about $14000-$28000 per semester to study at RMIT. On top of that there are not many scholarships for International students.

International students like myself didn’t know a lot about the support offered at RMIT. Nor did I know about the Orientation program at RMIT. This is one of the causes of failure in a few subjects and be put “At risk”.

They need to have good English language skills and passing the IELTS test is not enough. Even though some students have scores of 6.5/7 for their IELTS, this as quoted by “The Age”(, Accessed 2/2/2012 at 1:25pm) is not enough. Their sentences are not as good as the local students and academics find it hard to understand them. Hence the high failure rate and the many complaints.  There isn’t a verification system in place for International students entry such as an interview to test their language skills. The English language standards for entry into courses needs to be changed so that international students might be treated more fairly and less like cash cows.

It is also difficult for some students to get jobs because of their limited English. For most jobs, English is a must. Especially for hospitality and retail. On for some of the restaurants and cafes most people said that some of the wait staff (particularly Asian restaurants and cafes) does not have good “English skills/ Hard to understand them”. Hence they do not get much money. 7-11 ( a convenience chain)  is not a good place for students to work in because of low pay and low security. But many students find themselves working at 7-11 due to poor English skills and thinking that “because I’m working by myself I can get away with this”.

After graduation it is again difficult to get good jobs as they require good English. AND BY THAT I MEAN GOOD ENGLISH!!!!

Good thing is that RMIT waived the application fee. But that is not enough to encourage students to study at RMIT. Whilst its reputation is good, there needs to be more done to make sure that students study successfully such as implementing English language programs. There is a conversational class which is “non obligatory”, so as a result not many students turn up to this because they are scared to ask for help. This should be made compulsory for all students.

It is a great initiation to implement the RMIT MATES program, a program that helps new International students adjust to life in Melbourne. But not many people like myself knew about the program before they started at RMIT. It would have saved a lot of hassles and we would know a lot more about free services such as the Airport Pick up service.

More promotion about the RMIT Orientation would be a good idea. I will cover this event and write it up.


I know that this is expensive but it is a MUST for every student. It is one of the visa conditions. Medibank has good OSHC and you can apply for it online before you come to Australia and when you are here you can pick up your card from the Hub @RMIT. If and when you go to the doctor/pharmacy show them your card and you might not have to pay a single cent and if you do you can go to Medibank to get your money (or some of it depending your policy)  If you are a new student at RMIT you also get a free goodie bag at the start of semester which includes a copy of the FeelBetter rewards program. You can sign up for this and if you do you will get heaps of discounts on health and lifestyle products. You can have oshc for your entire program. So for three years its about $1440.00 and for four years its about $1920.00. You can claim straightaway on most extras.

Join up with St Johns Ambulance as you save on ambulance fees if you need to. Its about $60 for singles.


Many international students will feel this at some point. You’re not the only one. The feeling of isolation is a part of culture shock which many people feel at some stage.
Some symptoms you might feel:
*You might be a bit homesick for your own food/comforts etc.
*Failing classes
*Weight gain due to all the unhealthy food and no exercise.

* Crying for no reason

But there are ways around it such as:

* Talking to someone whether it will be your family/ friends back home.

* Make some new friends here. Some of them should be from outside of your course.

* Join a few clubs at RMIT. RMIT student union has quite a few clubs that might interest you. Check out: And if there isn’t one, why don’t you start one? You only need ten interested students to start one.

There are also a few sporting clubs for you to join as well.

* Exercise. Get out of the house and go walking if you live near a park. Or walk to uni if you live close to it.

* Try new foods. You never know what you might like and your tastebuds will adjust very soon. Have a look at some of the Melbourne blogs for inspiration as to where you can go and what to try.

* Explore Melbourne and the rest of Australia.  Sport and rec have many trips on offer as well as student union and they often subsardise trips for students.

* Is English your second language? If so try and make some local friends and practise your English. RMIT has English conversation classes every week during the semester to help students who are having trouble with English. It’s free and its better than failing! Trust me.

* Volunteer at local charities or Student Union. You can make plenty of friends and learn new skills along the way.

* Learn how to cook.

* If you have a TV at home, watch free to air TV. There are 16 free to air TV channels which has a whole range of Australian, Americian and English TV programs. And of course if you miss your homecountry SBS has a lot of foreign films for you to watch.

* Do your research about Melbourne and RMIT. Read lots of blogs and join RMIT MATE as a mentee.

A helpful note to the parents:

I know you like to put a lot of pressure on your kids but try not to. It does add to their sense of isolation. Too much pressure might result in them failing courses. Let them talk freely about how they feel and be there for them.

Let them settle in the first year and then put lots of pressure on them afterwards.

Stress less week

This week was Stress Less Week. There were stalls manned by the Student Union. They gave away free fruit, food, stress balls in the shape of a brain, calendars, 5 minute massages and free advice on what to do if you can’t make it to an exam. Many students came to this event and the balls were really popular.
Special consideration is one of the primary focuses of the blog. I have been talking about how to avoid the need for it, but sometimes you can’t. If you can’t you need to download a form from the RMIT website, print it out, fill it in (if it is necessary get your doctor to fill in the medical bit and tick severe( if they don’t tick severe chances are your application will be rejected)) and hand it in with the supporting documentation at the HUB on your campus. Then you will have to wait about 10 days for a decision to be made.
If your application was rejected, then you should ask the Student Union for some advice on what to do next. The student union has highly trained Student rights officers who can assist you.
Back to the event though. During the week there were free beef rolls and hot dogs. I had a hot dog at the Carlton campus and the meat was so artificial. The roll was chewy and too big for me.
I did like the balls and the fruit though.

The poster

The free fruit

Top Twenty tips to survive in Melbourne

1) Watch your bags
2) Go to Orientation and get plenty of freebies
3) Find housing early (Melbourne is in a rental crisis)
4) Join a few clubs
5) Don’t eat out too much
6) Make friends in Melbourne
7) Go to weekend markets as everything is cheaper there.
8) Use RMIT services- they are there to help you
9) Cancel your cards if you lose them
10) Cut your hair cheaply at a salon where there are student apprentices
11) Sign up for the Commonwealth bank, where you can obtain heaps of freebies
12) Go to a free BBQ, breakfast etc run by the Student Union
13) You have rights as a consumer and a student
14) Talk cheaply on Skype
15) Check out the back of your shopping docket for buy one get free meals and drinks
16) A student does not equal a Concession fare (as in to obtain a concession card you must be a full time local student)
17) Buy food in bulk
18) Buy fruits and vegetables in season
19) Don’t get caught in scams
20) You do have rights as an employee

Another blog are another student blog with plenty of important tips for you to survive in melbourne. It is worth a read. There are also some cheap eats there too.
%d bloggers like this: