International students are required to demonstrate they can contribute to their cost of living, while studying in Australia. This is to ensure they are able to study, as well as have a safe and enjoyable experience. Attending a college is more than just course fees and text books. Accommodation, transport, phone, and food are all common expenses – often overlooked. Costs vary depending on a student’s lifestyle, but as a general guide, the estimated annual cost is about $18,610.


Home Life:

Finding somewhere to live within your budget can be a challenge. However, there are lots of options! Most international students share houses together, and you can easily find a single room to rent. You can also board somewhere, where the weekly rent is inclusive of household bills and meals. The average weekly rent for a decent single room is $120-$160 per week. Contact MCIE to learn more about housing options in Melbourne.


Travelling Along:

Melbourne has a system called MyKi. MyKi is a card you swipe each time you get on and off a train, bus, or tram. Melbourne is divided into 2 zones—Zone 1 and Zone 2. If you are travelling within the same zone, you can travel a whole day for approximately $6. However, if you are travelling in both zones it could be anywhere from $8-$10. For everyday travel, to work or university, your best option is to get a MyKi pass.


Phone Home:

Another expense students can’t afford to do without, is their mobile phone. You have a couple of options to keep costs to a minimum. The first is to keep your original phone and purchase a prepaid Australian SIM card. With pre-paid, you can limit your bill to just $20 a month. Or you can opt for a post-paid plan and maybe even get a new phone. Students should research post-paid plans and understand their requirements before they decide on one. A phone and SIM package could cost $60 a month on a contract. However, several of them include free hours overseas, which will help with calls home.


Food for Thought:

Eating out can cost anywhere from $10-$30 on average. Yet, you can spend less than $30-$60 a month on food, by purchasing groceries and cooking at home. Almost every accommodation will have a kitchen and all other cooking facilities, so cooking is not hard. Shop around 7.00-8.00pm, when some perishable items have been reduced in price. And while supermarket brands may have unattractive packaging and seem of poor quality, many are actually made by brand name companies. Shop smart for food and save money.


Students can supplement their “living costs” requirement through part-time work. Estimate how much you can afford by creating a budget. Consider expenses such as rent, food, books, stationery, printing, transport, entertainment, and personal needs. If you’re smart with your money, you can easily meet living expenses and have some left over for fun.

Speak with your Student Welfare Coordinator, Sandra – who is available to help you with these matters!

Melbourne City Institute of Education (MCIE) is a vibrant and innovative registered training organisation, which offers a range of courses in Melbourne to help students to fulfil their career goals.

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