Five tips for a good presentation

Presenting to an audience can be exhilarating or terrifying depending on your personality type but at university a presentation is usually a part of your course, even if you never have to do one in the real world!

Here are five tips to help those who are sitting in the ‘terrifying’ or ‘nervous’ category when it comes to public speaking.

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1. Engagement

Engage with your audience. Maintain eye contact and look at all audience members  – specifically the ones assessing or on the judgment panel. Use hand gestures and move around the front of the room. Ask questions, involve them in a demonstration and find ways to make the presentation interactive to keep them interested.

2. Keep it simple

Don’t overwhelm your audience with loads of facts and figures and jargon that they won’t understand as this is a sure way to lose them.
Short sentences and points will resonate well.
Long  sentences and tangents filled with complicated information that is overwhelming and confusing to audience members who are really struggling to keep track of what is happening….(see what I’m doing here?) won’t work!

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3. Media is an enhancing tool

A powerpoint presentation can be great and keep audiences engaged but it should be there to support the presentation, not be the presentation.

It’s handy to have something to refer to as well – the spotlight isn’t on you the entire time.

Use mixed media such as videos, pictures, graphs and diagrams and keep slides simple with a few bullet points and images/ graphs. Don’t fill them with text as the audience will either try to read everything on screen and stop listening to you or they’ll be overwhelmed with information, or worse – bored by all the text.

If your presentation is you reading from the screen – you’re doing it wrong.

4.Structure

Ensure your presentation flows – introduction, body, conclusion.
Your introduction is a quick summary of what you’re going to be telling your audience about.
The body / main part is the presentation itself and the conclusion is another quick wrap of what you’ve told the audience / what they should have learnt from your presentation

5.Practice and preparation

Run through the presentation a few times – if it’s a group presentation make sure to give feedback to each member – are they speaking clearly? Are they looking at the screens too much? Is everything running to time? The more you run through the presentation the more confident you are with your material – this can help control the nerves too.

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Driving in Australia for international students

Road

If you’re in the city it is possible to rely completely on public transport and uber/ taxis but some people prefer to drive themselves.

If you’re an international student and driving is your preference then there are a few things you’ll need to know about driving in Australia.

Licensing:

First off you’ll need a licence. As an international student you are considered a temporary overseas visitor so your overseas licence is valid for the length of your stay in Australia.

If your overseas licence is not in English, you will need to obtain an English translation or an international driving permit. It is illegal to drive before you have this.

When driving, you will need to carry the licence and the translation/permit at all times as it is an offence to drive without these documents.

If your overseas licence is suspended or disqualified you cannot drive in Australia.
If you do not have a licence you can visit your state/territory motor registry and apply for one which will involve a written/computer test for a Learners Permit followed by a driving test when you go for your provisional licence.


Road Rules

Each state and territory has different rules and these may differ to the rules that you have in your home country so learn the road rules of your new city before you take to the roads. There are a few rules that apply to the entire country – here are some important ones!

* Drive on the left-hand side of the road

* Don’t go over (or extremely under) the speed limit

* Always wear a seatbelt, this goes for passengers too, you will be fined if they are not wearing their seatbelts

* Carry your licence at all times

* It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving

* You cannot drive under the influence of illicit drugs or have a blood alcohol content of more than 0.05

* If you break the law you could be charged or lose your licence completely. There are speed cameras all over the country so even if you’re not pulled over you could receive a fine in the mail.

Tips for buying a car in Australia

You can buy a new or used car in Australia – it will depend on your budget.

* Most importantly, do your research. Looking online is a good way to gauge prices to ensure you are not paying too much. A handy site is redbook

* Always view and test drive a car before purchasing – never buy or base your decision on photos.

* If you are buying a used car, make sure you check the service history – if there is no log book then it may not be a great investment.

* Check the overall condition of the car – tyres, body, doors (inside and out), lights, transmission, dashboard, seats etc and if buying privately take the car to a mechanic for a vehicle inspection; this will be at your own cost but it could save you thousands in the long run.

* It is also your responsibility to ensure the car is not encumbered, stolen or unregistered. You can do a Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) check to find this out.

If you are buying from a dealer this information will have to be disclosed by the dealership as it has an obligation to guarantee there is no money owing on the car as well as the above details. You will usually get a statutory warranty on the vehicle which may be useful but be wary of what is considered general wear and tear compared to a fault. If you later discover the car has an issue you believe should be covered by warranty and the dealer says it isn’t, you can go to your state’s Fair Trading body.

Registration and insurance

All vehicles must be registered to drive on Australian roads. If you buy a brand new car the registration is a part of the purchase price and is valid for a year. If you buy a second-hand car it could be anything from a day to a year. Registration requirements are different in each state and can be done annually or in six-month blocks.

There are three kids of insurance in Australia:

Compulsory Third Party insurance is, as the name suggests, compulsory and insures you and others against personal injury caused by your driving. This does not cover damage to your vehicle or theirs.

Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicle and someone else’s. It is the most expensive option but if you get into an accident with another vehicle, the car gets stolen/ vandalized or you hit a kangaroo (not uncommon in Australia) you can claim on insurance to have the car repaired.

Third party insurance covers damage to someone else’s vehicle but not yours. It is a good idea to have third party insurance if comprehensive is too much for your budget just in case you do get into an accident – it is better to be safe than sorry!

 Motor registries in Australia: 

Australian Capital Territory — Road Transport Authority

New South Wales — Roads and Maritime Services

Victoria – VicRoads

Queensland – Department of Transport and Main Roads

Northern Territory — Department of Transport

South Australia — Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure

Tasmania — Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources

Western Australia — Department of Transport

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A vision for opportunity and advocacy

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ACU alumni Ranjesh Prakesh has proved that his vision impairment is no barrier to achieving an international degree, travelling Australia and advocating for the rights of people with a disability.

For the majority of his life, Ranjesh has been vision impaired. He struggled to see from a young age and lost vision completely in his left eye as a child following an operation. His right eye deteriorated over time and now all he sees is a blur.

He had to leave his school in Fiji in class five as there were no facilities to teach a student with a vision impairment to read and write.

“I received a second chance from the man upstairs. A training teacher who was visually impaired was teaching in the school I used to attend and heard about me. He told my mother about the Fiji School for the blind,” Ranjesh says.

Ranjesh, who was living in Ba with his family, then went to Suva on the other side of the country to attend school for and learnt to read and write in Braille.

He completed his primary education in Suva and developed an interest in elite sports and thanks to a friend he met through athletics, he was able to stay on and complete his secondary and tertiary education.

“My friend’s family, who was very poor themselves but had very big hearts, let me stay in their tiny apartment with them. There were nine of us living in a small apartment. The unit was so small that the area where we sat and ate meals is where I studied and slept.”

Ranjesh would leave home at 4am each morning to go to the training facilities, walking in the middle of the road as it was safer than the footpaths which were full of pot holes and obstacles.

“By walking on the road I could use my sense of hearing and the bright lights of the cars to let me know when cars were coming and I would move to the side. Over the time that I made these journeys I twisted my ankle six times,” Ranjesh says.

“I would go to training without breakfast and would only have water all day until the evening when I would have one solid meal. I was lucky to have had a family to stay with in Suva, because if I had gone back to the rural area I would not have had access to training facilities, coaches, transport or good education for that matter.”

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Between study and training Ranjesh also travelled around Fiji as a disability advocate.

“I visited tertiary institutions, businesses, schools and everywhere in between creating awareness of vision impairment and other disabilities and advocating for rights such as education, employment and social inclusion.”

After completing his Diploma in Office Administration in 2012 the Fijian resident applied for an Australia Awards Scholarship after a family member read about it in a newspaper.

“I did not think that I would receive the scholarship so I applied and forgot about it. In late 2012 I received a call, and trust me when I say that it was the best phone call I ever received, to say that I would be receiving the scholarship.”

In 2013 Ranjesh began studying a Diploma in Liberal Studies before beginning his Bachelor of International Development Studies at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne.

Culture shock hit hard and at first he wasn’t sure if he was capable of living in Australia and wanted to jump on the next plane home.

“I had to deal with so many challenges including culture shock, trying to learn and adopt the Australian academic system, juggling the challenges around mobility, living independently and more… I was at breaking point,” Ranjesh says.

While the challenges he faced were difficult, he knew the opportunity to study in Australia was an incredible one so he persevered.

“I said alright, let’s just do it. ACU’s Disability Services were really helpful in supporting me and telling me I could do this.”

He says the first semester was really difficult however things were “spectacular” from second semester.

“All the lecturers and disability staff were really inclusive and accommodating and I think that is one of the reasons I went so well in my degree.”

Ranjesh was inducted as a Member of the Golden Key International Honour Society in 2017 and received an Executive Dean’s commendation for his high GPA.

“The Australian Awards Scholarship has boosted my confidence level extremely. It has empowered me to do things fearlessly in my life no matter how great the challenge.”

His dedication to athletics and fitness continued and he became very involved with the ACU Melbourne Studio Gym, going twice a day every day, becoming an inspiration to the people there.

“We also learnt a lot from Ranjesh who showed us you can do anything you put your mind to and you shouldn’t let limitations hold you back,” they said in an appreciation post on Instagram to Ranjesh.

He visited most states while in Australia and took part in long distance tandem bike rides, joined Vision Australia’s monthly walking group and experienced it all ‘from Luna Park to Grand Prix”.

“In 2015 I volunteered with CBM Australia once per week to garner sufficient work experience which can prove valuable in future job hunting.”

He says studying in Australia was a completely different environment to what he had experienced back home in Fiji.

“[In Fiji] I had to fight for my rights and I was swimming against the current. My university had no disability department and [people with a disability] have to prove that they are capable. In Australia it is an enabling environment and I didn’t have to go that extra mile that was required of me back at home and I could put all my energy into studying.”

Ranjesh is determined to make a difference and advocate for people with a disability and his degree will help him do that.

“In the short term I will work towards helping people in the disability sector and enable people with a disability to realise their true potential.

“In the long term I would love to contribute in some way to the disability sector. In the long term, studying in Australia has really changed my perception of what I am capable of. I have developed a particular interest in academia and given the opportunity in the future to do my masters or my PHD, I would jump at that chance.”

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International student guide to tax time

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Happy New (Financial) Year!

In Australia, July 1 is the beginning of the new financial year which means it’s time to submit a tax return.

If you worked and have been in Australia for more than six months you are considered a resident for tax purposes and you’ll probably need to lodge a tax return with the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

This is usually good news for international students as they usually receive a refund rather than a bill!

In some circumstances you may not need to lodge a tax return, you can visit the ATO website to see if this applies to you.

If you do need to lodge one then here’s the three steps to (hopefully) a bonus in the bank!

WHAT YOU NEED TO LODGE YOUR TAX RETURN

Your tax file number (TFN): you should have gotten this before you started work via the Australian Tax Office.

A form of photo ID: this can be your passport or a licence.

Your PAYG payment summaries: After June 30 your employer should give you a payment summary which breaks down your gross and net pay for the financial year – so what you you received into your bank and what was taxed. You should have this, at the latest, by July 14.

HOW TO LODGE YOUR TAX RETURN

There are a few ways to lodge your tax return – online, on paper or through an agent.

Lodge online using myTax: This is the easiest and quickest way. You should have your return within two weeks and the money goes straight to your bank account. You will need to create a myGov account linked to the ATO. You can do this here

On Paper:  This isn’t the best option as it can take up to 50 days to receive a refund. You can print out the form from here if this is your preferred option though.

Tax agent: You can lodge your return through a registered tax agent however this will cost you money and for international students, it’s best to do your return yourself. Most people use a tax agent to claim back as much as they can with deductions or if they have a complicated return. As an international student studying on a student visa, you cannot claim deductions.

WHEN TO LODGE YOUR TAX RETURN

You have until October 31 to lodge your return but the quicker you do it the sooner you have that refund in the bank! If you have booked with a registered tax agent the deadline is extended.
If you lodge your tax return online with myTax in August or September most of your information will already be pre-filled in your tax return.

HELP!!

If you’re having issues – there are a few options so don’t worry!

TaxHelp: If you’re having trouble creating your myGov account or lodging your online return you can contact TaxHelp where accredited volunteers can provide you with assistance. You can find your nearest centre by calling 13 28 61

Language: If you need help with English, you can phone the ATO’s Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 13 14 50.

ATO Website: Basically everything you need to know is on the Australian Tax Office‘s website.

 

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Understanding your work rights in Australia

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As an international student you have work rights in Australia.

You should be aware of your rights and responsibilities as an employee to ensure you are paid fairly for your work and time and you’re not taken advantage of.

International students can only work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight (two weeks) during semester. During official university vacation periods there is no limit to the number of hours you can work.

It is your responsibility to obtain a Tax File Number (TFN) for tax purposes prior to starting work in Australia – once you have been in Australia for six months you must pay tax on money earned. You can do this via the Australian Tax Office.

Minimum wage and entitlements

An employer must provide their employee with their minimum entitlements as per the award, enterprise agreement (a contract between you and the employer) or other kind of registered agreement.

The employer is obliged to make sure you are being taxed the correct amount and that it is going to the right place. A pay slip provided by the employer on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis (based on your pay cycle) should be issued with these details.

It is the employers responsibility to ensure they meet these requirements however you  must read the award or agreement carefully before you sign it. You can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for help if you feel you are not getting the right pay or entitlements.

The National minimum wage in Australia according to the National Minimum Wage Order 2016 is $17.70 an hour. (before tax). There is also a special national minimum wage for trainees, apprentices, junior employees, employees with a training arrangement and employees with a disability.

Casual employees covered by the national minimum wage also get at least a 25 per cent casual loading.

This is reviewed and set each year for employees not covered by enterprise agreements or modern awards. For details visit the Fair Work Commission website

Cash in-hand

It is against the law to be paid cash-in-hand and you could be getting taken advantage of if an employer wants to pay you this way. Some do it to avoid paying you the correct minimum wage and keep you “off the books”. Your employer should have you fill in a form so they can transfer your pay to your bank account.

Trial periods

An employer may ask you to work for a trial period to see if you are right for the role. You should be paid for this unless it is legitimate work experience or volunteering.
For example – if you work two days for no pay and they decide not to hire you, you have given up potentially 16 hours for nothing and they have received two days of work for free. If the employee is truly willing to consider hiring you, they should pay you for your time.

Superannuation

This is Australia’s retirement savings system. Your employer must pay super contributions into a super fund on your behalf if you are paid $450 (before tax) in a calendar month.
Compulsory employer super contributions are in addition to your salary and you can usually choose which Australian super fund these contributions are paid into. When you have permanently departed Australia and your visa is inactive you can submit an application to withdraw the funds.

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Carin goes from undergraduate to postgraduate

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We caught up with ACU student Carin Nwagwu from Nigeria who is just about to complete her Bachelor of Commerce (Major in Accounting) and who has also just accepted her offer to study ACU’s Master of Business Administration! (Congratulations!)

How did you come to apply with and why did you choose ACU?

There was an open day in the college I attended, where various universities came to tell us about the University pathways and courses. I went through the universities and when I got to the ACU table, they were so welcoming with broad smiles. I just knew that was where I wanted to apply to. And did I forget to mention they have a chapel in every campus? Being a Catholic, it was a huge advantage. I could get to go for mass at noon. Such a serene environment. I love it.

What do you like about living in Sydney?

Sydney is such an amazing city. It’s very multicultural and beautiful. There is obviously the Harbour Bridge and the Opera house (first place I took a photo when I arrived); and then the breath taking Vivid. Vivid is a must see. Sydney is so lively and the people here are friendly. Transportation is one of the easiest I’ve seen

I enjoy being an ACU student because….

I enjoy being an ACU student because we are a family.

What is ACU like for an international student?

I really didn’t feel like an international student. I felt more like a local in ACU. I had no limitations. International or local, we are all one.

What have you enjoyed about the bachelor of Accounting so far / what is your favourite part of the course?carin2

Accounting is so much fun. Calculations. Law. My favourite part of the course was gaining knowledge on the stock market and following up on current affairs.

How has the course prepared you for your future career?

I believe I am ready for the future. I have gained knowledge on the theoretical part of the business world, and I’m ready to put it to practice.

Do you plan on further study?

Oh yes I do. I applied for the MBA, and YES I received an offer which I happily accepted. I will be furthering my studies in.. Australian Catholic University. Yes guys, ACU. I’m just in love with the environment. The atmosphere, everything about ACU makes me happy. The staff and body of the University are really understanding. So yeah guys, you’ll be seeing more of me here!

How would you describe your tutors / lecturers?

Some of my lecturers were my tutors which was great. When I don’t understand something, I wait till the tutorials and ask all my questions. The tutors that were not lecturers always knew everything about the lecture so it was like I was conversing with the same person. They were always ready to help.

How would you describe ACU to your friends and family back home? Would you recommend it?

Oh definitely. I would recommend ACU to anyone I come across. ACU is a great university with a friendly community.

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Should I study English abroad or at home?

Jobs for Study AbroadYou can learn English in your home country or in a country where it is the native language – but which is better for you?

There are many factors that go into making this decision – time, money, the reason for learning English and what you want to achieve with it are just a few.

Why study English abroad

Studying English abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and there are many benefits and advantages to it, here are just a few!

English is everywhere

Immersing yourself in another culture where you’re surrounded by a foreign language will force you to learn it faster as there is no escaping it – street signs, menus, stores, TV and radio – it is everywhere. It’s a great opportunity to perfect your listening and interpreting skills as well as speaking.

In an English speaking country, there is no shortage of people who can help you learn the language – teachers, classmates, new friends, housemates – you’ll learn phrases that you wouldn’t hear back home because each English speaking country has a different way of saying things. You will also gain a better understanding of the English language with different accents.

While it will be a push in the right direction, you will still need to study and put in the effort to succeed and ensure your pronunciation and sentence structures are correct as well as grammar and spelling.

Learn other cultures

Learning at an English language centre in an English speaking country means you will meet people from all over the world doing the same thing as you – so not only will you learn about the culture of the English speaking country you are in, you will learn about other international cultures and make friends from a range of backgrounds

Adventure

Perhaps the main reason to study in another country is that it is an adventure! Not only will you learn English, but you will visit cities and places you’ve only ever seen in pictures and broaden your understanding of the world. You’ll learn a lot about yourself too!

People

You will make friends from all over the world in an English Language Centre and meet people that will become your friends for life. This also means that you will have people to visit in every corner of the world – giving you another reason to travel and see other countries where you will have somewhere to stay and someone to see!

Resume boost

If you learn English overseas it shows an employer that you have not just learnt the basics – you’ve had to use the language in an everyday setting. It is a way to prove that your English skills have been put into practice and used in the real world, ensuring you’re more than just good on paper!

Why study at home

Comfort

If your English levels are quite basic then it could be easier to study it in your home country so you gain confidence. It could be overwhelming in an overseas country where you don’t understand the language. If you think culture shock or homesickness could get in the way of your ability to learn English, studying at home might be the best option.

This also gives you the option of learning basic English at home and then learning intermediate or advanced English abroad!

Cost

Studying abroad comes with a cost and that is something that can completely decide where you study. The cost of tuition fees, travel, accommodation and every day expenses can be a lot higher than studying at home depending on where you want to study.

Focus

If you are easily distracted and think you will put more energy into exploring and socialising rather than studying, your tuition fees will go to waste in another country.  Only you know your own levels of self-control so if you don’t think you will be able to put enough energy into your studies abroad, studying at home and travelling afterwards might be something worth considering.

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Six tips to get through exam period

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Exam time can be one of the most stressful times for students but it doesn’t have to be!

Here are six tips to get through exam period successfully and stress-free.

1.BE ORGANISED

Orgainse a schedule for work, study and relaxing so you’re not trying to cram everything in at the last minute. Plan ahead so you know you have a set block of time to study and a break afterwards to ensure you don’t burn out.

2.DON’T OVER-COMMIT

Don’t take on the extra shifts at work or say yes to every social outing during exam period – you can do this afterwards! Work and friends will understand that you need to focus on studying. If you try to fit it all in and stay up late studying to make up for it you’ll just exhaust yourself, so plan to celebrate when exams are finished.

3. PRACTICE EXAMS

If you can access past exams and exam questions you should try doing these in exam conditions or in a certain amount of time so you’re prepared for the real thing. Not only will you be able to estimate how much time you should spend on each question but you will gain confidence working to a time limit.

4.EAT HEALTHY 

Just because you are focusing on study, this does not mean you should let your health fall by the way-side! Don’t rely on snacks and coffee or energy drinks to keep you going – keep hydrated and eat healthy meals to keep your brain functioning at its optimum.

5.ASK FOR HELP

If you need it, ask for it. Your university will have a range of resources that can assist you. ACU has the Academic Skills Unit which can be found on the student portal. You can work on your academic writing, referencing, maths and numeracy or exam skills. Workshops and drop in services are also available. You could also reach out to your tutor if there is a subject or concept that you need help understanding or a fellow student.

6. REWARD YOURSELF

Work towards a goal, well two goals – successfully completing your exams AND celebrating afterwards. Plan a night out, a weekend away, a day of fun or something or even rewarding yourself with a Netflix binge session – anything fun that you can do when exam period is over!

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Banking in Australia

If you’re moving to Australia there are many things to organise and one of the most important is a bank account.

While cash is great for smaller purchases, you’ll need an account for your wage to go into as well as to pay for your accommodation, bills and everyday expenses.

Australia is fast-becoming more reliant on EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale)/ card purchases with ATM usage reaching record lows in December 2016, so a debit card is a must not just as an essential, but for convenience!

So if you’re planning on studying in Australia, here is your international student guide on bank accounts:

WHEN SHOULD I OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT?

It’s recommended you open your account before you arrive and most banks allow you to do this, at the earliest, around three months before arrival. You can do it when you arrive in Australia but it should be done within your first six weeks. If you wait longer, you will need to provide more identification.

WHERE AND HOW DO I OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT?

If you open your account before you arrive, you can do it online.  Most banks have easy to follow application forms on their websites. You will need your passport details along with your Australian arrival details.

Once you have applied online, you will be contacted by the bank to inform you of the success of your application. With most banks, you will have limited access to the account until you enter the country.

To receive your debit card and officially open the account, you will need to visit a branch with your ID when you arrive in Australia and then you can start using your account to its full potential.

WHAT ARE THE COSTS AND FEES?

Each bank varies with costs and fees for accounts but as long as you provide proof that you are a student (Student ID card and proof of enrolment) many banks will waive the monthly account keeping fee. Keep in mind that the fee is only waived while you are studying full-time, you will begin to pay the monthly fee once you finish studying if you stay on in Australia to work.

Fees to look out for:

ATM fees: If you use your own bank’s ATMs, you will not pay a fee however if you use any other teller the charge can range from $2 to $4. If you can’t find an ATM and really need cash out, visit a supermarket, you can usually get up to $100 cash out and you don’t have to pay a fee.

Overdraft/ dishonour fees: Many banks will charge you if you overdraw your account / when a payment isn’t cleared due to lack of funds or your account goes below $0.

Paper statement fees: Make sure you opt for email statements, save your dollars and the trees!

WHICH BANK DO I CHOOSE?

Australia has ‘the big four banks’, most of which offer services specifically to help international students with their new account and waive account keeping fees for full-time students. These are:

Commonwealth – You can open a Student Smart Access up to three months before arriving in Australia.
ANZ – the ANZ Access Advantage account has no account keeping fees for students and can be opened before you arrive in Australia.
Westpac – The Westpac Choice account offers $0 monthly fees for students.
NAB – NAB Classic Banking isn’t a specific student account, but it has no monthly account keeping fees, ever.

While the big four are popular – there are many banks throughout the country which you could also consider.

There are also world banks such as HSBC and Citibank which offer a range of account options including Foreign Currency Accounts. If you’re already with these banks they can assist you in setting up your account before you leave for Australia.

HSBC has an International Banking Centre with staff dedicated to helping you open an account before you leave and if you visit your local Citibank they can assist with opening an Australian account.

There are also online banks (no shopfronts) which offer better interest rates for savings accounts such as ING Direct and Me Bank.

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ACU Successful nursing graduate Angela Le

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After three years of study, Xiaoxi Le (Angela) has completed her ACU Bachelor of Nursing degree and has secured a job at a Sydney Hospital.

With 800 hours of clinical placements behind her, she says the placements helped her gain skills and confidence and played a key role in helping her find a job.

Her placements were at three health facilities in Sydney over her three year degree including a nursing home and public and private hospitals.

In her final year, Angela spent  10 weeks at Mater Hospital – three weeks in first semester and then two stints in semester two – four weeks followed by another three weeks.

“I applied for the flexible program and I was lucky to be selected and I was able to select a combination of am/pm and overnight shifts based on my own calendar.”

Angela worked in the oncology and gynecology wards as these were her selected subjects.

She says the facilitators on her placements were very thorough and had high expectations – as should be expected!

“The first time I had to do a handover, my notes were not comprehensive enough so my facilitator gave me a second chance and gave me some advice and suggestions to improve,” Angela says.

“I practiced with the body of nurses and they helped by looking at my handover and giving me advice on how to re-write it. They were happy to assist me and were very supportive.”

“My facilitators prepared me to be a competent and qualified nurse. They would chat with us on the ward every day and you could ask them any questions which they were happy to answer and helped us build confidence.

“Many of the nurses at Mater are ACU graduates and they are understanding and excellent nurses. They are encouraging and helped me to prepare for the next step in my career.”

She says their dedication and professionalism was inspiring.

“The nurses were excellent role models for me to follow and I know what kind of nurse I want to be.”

Angela says her placements helped her build up her clinical judgement skills.

“Thanks to all of my practical experience on clinical placements I feel more confident to communicate with a multi-disciplinary team of different health-carers such as dietitians, occupational therapists and physiotherapists.”

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She says she enjoyed the Bachelor of Nursing course at ACU and the first year taught her the fundamental knowledge a nurse needs while she honed her research skills in the second year.

“One of the parts of the course I really liked was that during class there are many chances to work as a team and be aware of each other’s strengths and abilities. This is transferrable to the real life situations as nurses work as a team so this helped me to be comfortable in a team.”

Angela says she always felt supported as an international student at ACU.

“ACU’s academic advisers are very supportive with assessments and when you’re struggling you can turn to them and they are happy to help and check over your work. As an international student I’ve felt very supported.”

And Angela’s advice for students on placement? Sleep well!

“It is important to sleep well while on placement so you’re alert! Be on time and take it easy. Ask as many questions as you can – nothing is a silly question.

“Be yourself and don’t take small errors too personally and be reflective.”

Posted by embiscoe

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