Planning a Personal Budget for Australia
Now that you have been admitted to the program, one of your first questions is how much it's really going to cost. This section will help you anticipate a variety of common expenses so you can start planning now. If your family is helping to pay for your program abroad, you should discuss your budget with them also. The Fees and Financial Info page explains what your program fee does and does not cover, and will provide you with an overall estimate of expected expenses. It is important to note that the "Estimate of Additional Expenses" information is provided for planning purposes only, and may vary according to your own personal spending habits.
Let's go through each of the items for which you will have to budget:
Working while Studying in Australia
All student visas will allow you to work in Australia. Students are limited to 20 hours per week while classes are in session, but may work full-time during holiday periods.
Your program fee does not include the cost of international air travel to Australia (please see the estimated airfare under the expected cost of attendance section). However, for your convenience we make arrangements for a round-trip group flight from Los Angeles to Australia. While most students will opt to travel with the group, you are free to make your own travel arrangements.
For the semester or full-year programs, the flight is arranged to fly into Melbourne for the Arcadia University orientation program and then continues on to your Australian university. If you choose to make your own travel arrangements, you must be in Melbourne for the opening day of our orientation program.
Allow about $20-30 per day for meals and basic expenses during the orientation (some meals will be provided). Orientation generally lasts about four days.
Special Course Fees
Some universities assess a special fee for enrolling in laboratory courses. Each university has its own policy. Some assess a fee for every special course taken, while others assess the fee only if a certain portion of courses are taken within one of these departments. You may also wish to consult the "Estimated Cost of Attendance" sheet.
Depending on your program, the special fee can range from $300 to about $4,000. Don't let this fee catch you by surprise. VERY IMPORTANT: In most cases, you will not be billed for this fee until after you have registered for classes overseas. Please check with your program manager for more details.
Special note for students taking studio art classes: Please be advised that you may be required to pay a supplies fee directly to the university after you arrive and register for courses. Ask your program manager for additional information.
Meals, Books, Local Transport and Personal Expenses
These are probably your most variable costs, as they will depend on your personal habits and the size of the city in which you are living. Consult the "Expected Cost of Attendance" sheet for more specific estimates.
Meals taken in college student union refectories or prepared yourself will generally be cheaper than eating out. If you are assigned to a university residence hall with a required meal plan, you will be billed for this extra cost about one month after your program begins. Meal plans vary in what they provide and in their cost. Please consult your housing information sheet for more precise information.
Personal expenses include costs for laundry, phone calls, entertainment, etc. Phoning the United States can get very expensive very quickly. Read the "International Calling" section in "Know Before You Go" to familiarize yourself with the different options. You may also wish to ask a member of the overseas staff during your orientation period.
This is the category that can really add up, depending on how far you go and how much time you take. If you are in a full-year program, you will have a three or four week holiday break during each semester. Most students travel during holiday breaks.
Check your program calendar for other breaks and holidays that occur during your study period.
Some Helpful Hints
You'll stretch your budget if you do the following:
- Make daily and weekly budgets and stick to them.
- Prepare your own food. It's cheaper than eating out. If you do eat out, eat your main meal at noon, rather than in the evening.
- Plan your activities around free, inexpensive and discounted events.
- Take care of your belongings and safeguard your credit and debit cards, cash and passport.
- Loss from carelessness or theft is hard enough to bear at any time, but it is even more distressing abroad. Pickpocketing is common, particularly in spots frequented by tourists. Make a photocopy of the document page of your passport and keep it in a separate place in case the original is lost or stolen.
With a little realistic planning, you won't be caught by surprise later on.