Living in Australia - Nova Institute

Nova Institute

Living in Australia

Culture shock

Culture shock is the expected confrontation with the unfamiliar.

When you arrive in a new country, you may experience a wide variety of feelings and reactions as you adapt to the new environment and culture. Some people may feel confused, nervous, irritable, uncertain or dependent on others. For other people, the period of time immediately after their arrival is filled with excitement and adventure – however after this wears off the challenge of adjusting to life and study in a new culture can be exhausting. This may lead to feelings of frustration and anxiety. If you do experience these things, then you are probably experiencing what is called CULTURE SHOCK

Coming to Australia from another country exposes you to many new things which may include such things as: the buildings look different and so does the landscape, the food is not what you are used to and the people look, speak and act differently from the people at home. You may not be able to speak with other people as confidently. If you feel lonely, you may miss your family and friends more than you expected. All these feelings and emotions may mean lead you to start questioning your decision to come to Australia. Was it the right decision?

Tips to assist you adjust to a new culture

Coping with CULTURE SHOCK requires a special effort, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. During the first weeks and months in a new country, it is common to experience some degree of culture shock – it is a normal response to a drastic change in your physical, social and cultural environment. The following comments will help you understand what you may be experiencing and suggest some ways of coping more effectively with your new situation. Below are some tips that may assist you in your transition to a new culture:

  • Think positively – be willing to learn, be open minded and light hearted
  • Listen, watch, observe and reflect. Examine your expectations and preconceived stereotypes
  • Stay in touch with family and friends and keep up with events at home
  • Keep a diary of your experiences
  • Allow yourself sufficient time to adjust
  • Do some familiar activities, especially the things you are good at
  • Get involved in an social and recreational activities that will help you to meet people and to make new friends
  • Introduce yourself to other people and students in your courses – keep in contact with the people you meet
  • Remember what you would have done at home to relax and do something similar
  • Use English language as much as possible; read the local newspaper and watch television, listen to the radio and try to speak English as much as you can: the more you use the language the more you will improve
  • Take advantage of the services and orientations offered by NIT
  • Set small goals that you can achieve every day
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you are unsure what to do or what is expected of you
  • Get plenty of exercise, eat well, and drink plenty of water
  • Keep your sense of humor and believe in yourself!


Smoking is banned on public transport, train platforms, tram and bus stops. It is also banned in public buildings, shopping centres, cafes and restaurants. Heavy penalties are in place for smoking in restricted areas.


Prices are generally fixed and bargaining is only available at some markets.


Chores are shared equally between males and females. In shared accommodation, you will be expected to share in the shopping, cooking and cleaning.


Do not ask people how much money they make, the price of something, their personal relationships, their politics or religion. These topics are only discussed with very close friends.


The weather, the family, what you did on the weekend, where you work, what you think of Australia or travel.


Punctuality is important in Australia. If you have an appointment you must be on time. You also need to arrive on time for your classes. If you are going to be late it is good manners to get in touch and let your appointment or the school know that you will be late.

In social situations with friends you can be a little late.


You might find that education in Australia is a lot less formal than in your country. Teachers and students dress casually in jeans and t-shirts. Teachers are often addressed by their first names.

Australians expect to maintain eye contact when speaking to each other, it is considered rude to look elsewhere.

Students are expected and encouraged to speak freely and question decisions which they feel are unfair. Student must be able to express their opinions and the reasoning behind them.


Generally, in Australia an arm length is considered personal space and people feel uncomfortable if you get too close, especially if you do not know them too well.


You always wait your turn, you do not push in. You walk on the left hand side of passageway or stair.



For an emergency, if you need an ambulance, the fire services, police attendance TELEPHONE 000 and tell the operator which service you require.


Nova Institute students in Australia typically spend about $300 to $450 a week on accommodation, food, clothing, entertainment, transport, international and domestic travel, telephone and incidental costs.

For the latest information on the cost of living and studying in Australia go online to

The following is only a guide to help you understand the breakdown of costs.


  • Hostels and Guesthouses – $80 to $135 per week
  • Shared Rental – $70 to $250 per week
  • Homestay – $110 to $270 per week
  • Rental – $100 to $400 per week


  • Groceries and eating out – $80 to $200 per week
  • Gas, electricity – $60 to $100 per week
  • Phone and Internet – $20 to $50 per week
  • Public transport – Myki card- Zone 1 weekly $35.00 Zone1 &2 weekly $59.20
  • Car (after purchase) – $150 to $250 per week
  • Entertainment – $50 to $100 per week

While this is a realistic guide, it is important to remember that individual circumstances will vary by location, course and lifestyle. Some people spend a lot more than this, and others spend less. To live cheaply, you will have to share a room and cook for yourself.

The Department of Immigration and Border protection has a financial requirement for international students of AU$18,610 for living expenses each year.


Nova Institute is located in South Melbourne 220 Albert Road South Melbourne, on the 10th floor. Many tram services depart from St Kilda Road and Moray Road, very close to our premises. However, most people in Melbourne travel by tram. The central location of Nova Institute means that few students will be able to live in the immediate area; most students will be living in suburbs further away and will need to catch a bus, tram or train. For more information see PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN MELBOURNE – MYKI ( ARRIVAL IN MELBOURNE)

Baking Kitchen is located at: Ground Floor 185 – 187 Boundary Road North Melbourne VIC 3051


Most Melbourne suburbs have a shopping area or mall where students can find a variety of shops, so there is no need for them to travel to the CBD for their daily requirements.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are cheap and plentiful and most other goods can be bought in our large supermarkets, but more cheaply at markets like Preston, Prahran, Footscray, Box Hill, Springvale and Victoria Market

Australia has a multicultural population, so food and other items from many countries are readily available.

4 class=”nitro-offscreen”>BANKING

Students will need to set up an Australian bank account on their arrival in the country to avoid the necessity of carrying large amounts of cash. They will need to show their passport and evidence of residency.

Most shopping centres have Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) facilities. These machines can be used for deposits and, in many instances, withdrawals 24 hours a day. Most department stores, supermarkets and specialist shops have electronic transfer terminals (EFTPOS) where cash withdrawals can also be made in addition to purchasing goods.

Most banks open from 9.30am – 4pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.30 am – 5 pm on Friday. There are a number of major banks with branches close to Nova Institute where students may wish to open their accounts.


If you need legal advice from a solicitor you can go to LIV’s online Legal Referral Service. This is a free referral service, and the solicitors who you will be referred to provide the first 30 minutes consultation for free. After that you will have to pay. The website is

As this is the Law Institute of Victoria, it has a listing of all solicitors and their specialisations, so it is the most reliable place for information regarding solicitors.


If you cannot find a doctor locally you can go to Outpatients of any public hospital. In an emergency call 000 and ask for an ambulance.