Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Students guide to renting- some considerations. Part 1: research

Students have you ever thought about where you'll live during your stay in Melbourne?
There are many different types of rental properties depending on your budget. As students you would want to live in the right place that suits you and your budget. Here are some things to think about when renting.

How much am I willing to pay?
You need to think about the budget. How much can you afford to pay per month? Rent is charged at a monthly basis. In the city it is about $300-$1200, but you have the luxury of free travel. In the suburbs it is about $200-$600 but you would have to pay more for travel.

Don't forget to factor in the bond which is refundable when you move out.

How much am I willing to travel (time wise)?
Nowadays the price of zone 2 fare is the the same as zone 1 but travel could be anywhere from 10mins to one hour depending on where you live. If you live in the country then it would be about 1 hour to the city. But if your campus is in the country then it is best to reside there in a college hall or sharehouse.

Do I want to buy own furniture?
Most places are furnished but there are some that are unfurnished and it would say so in the ad. Buying your own furniture can be a hassle as you would have to sell it at the end of your degree if you are returning home.

Furniture can be expensive. But Ikea has reasonably priced furniture.

The end of the story is to try and choose a place which is fully furnished. Do look out for the phrase "fully furnished".

What about the flatmates?
Students you will be living with these people so it is best to find someone who you get along well with. And not your best friend or someone from your own country. You'll want to practice English with your flatmate.

You want someone who has the same interests and personality as you. You wouldn't want someone who fights every single day with their flatmate or who steals the food from the fridge and never gives back

25 Food Items to buy

As part of Bupa's best blog competition for 2015

We give you the lowdown on the essential 25 food items

Students there is no excuse for your pantry and fridge to be empty with these things on hand. Most of the things you can buy in bulk on special at the supermarket. With these items you can make different meals.


1) Long life Milk- A carton of this is about $1-$2 and they can keep for months. This would be great on a rainy day when you really need milk and can't bothered going to the supermarket.

2) Instant Coffee- a tin of this costs around $11-$12 per month or $50 per year for a really big drum. Jasper coffee has theirs for $44.95. But if you buy the Homebrand version for $4 for 100g.

3) Stock cubes: we use OXO ($1.99 for a pack of 12) as these are the best. They are not expensive to buy and they can add lots and lots of flavour to your food.

4)Flour- Katherine : I usually use White Wings flour. They can be found at any supermarket for about $4-$5 per packet.

5) Oil- we love Cobram estate olive oil. Easy to use with no fuss. A big 10-20 kg can is about $28 in the supermarkets. You need this to cook with (mainly frying things)

6) Pita bread- for the freezer. They can cost somewhere between $3-$4. These are good with wraps or making a quick pizza for uni.

7) Tomato sauce for the pasta- we love Sicla's pasta sacues or what we sometimes do is make our own.

8) Sugar- you need some castor sugar for baking and white sugar for everyday. We use CSR's sugar. Raw sugar is $2.60 and the white one is $2.

9) Eggs- we normally buy free range eggs from the market. It's cheaper and fresher than the ones you buy at the supermarket. They usually are $4-$7 at the market.

10) Butter- useful for everything. It is $3 per block.

11) Spice rack- you can buy these at the Asian food shops in Richmond for about $1 per pack.

12) Canned Vegetables- a three bean mix is always good and versatile. This is $1.50. There are also other ones such as corn and capsicum, even mushrooms.

13) Canned Fruit-a big 400g can is more than versatile and great for everything to do with desserts. I love SPC fruits. You can buy this for $3 at the supermarket and it will last a little while

14) Oats- there are so many things you can do with this. See the post on oats. But oats in the supermarket costs between $3-$4

15) Tomato paste (for pizzas that is)- we love Leggo's tomato paste. At the supermarket this is $2.

16) Vanilla essence for desserts- we use the Queen's range. This range is found at all supermarkets.

17)Cooking chocolate- we love to use anything really. A block of that will set you about $4-$6.

18) Big cans of tuna- they're good for cooking pasta and rice dishes. They are about $4- $6 each

19) Soy sauce- you can buy this at most Asian stores for under $2. We love Lee Kum Kee as it is authentic.

20) Frozen fruit to do smoothies in winter. Or if you are a tight ass student freeze some fruit yourself.

21)Bread for the freezer- the supermarkets often have a 2 for the price of $6 to $7. Use one of them for everyday and put one in the freezer.

22) Shaved cheese for pizza- we love pure Italiano. This is the real authentic cheese that keeps in the freezer for a while.

23) Museli- you don't necessarily need this but this is really good for your diet. It is low in GI and it keeps you full for longer. You can make it or you can buy a pack for $4-$7 at the supermarket.

24) Dried fruit- good for emergencies (when there is no fruit) or for baking. It is about $4-$5 per packet.

25) Fish sauce- you can buy this at most Asian stores for $1-$2

If you cannot be bothered going to the supermarket you can also do a Groceryrun online where everything except for items which needs refrigeration is delivered

Scholardeck

We discover this new website (Scholardeck) which can make applying for scholarships a lot easier. 
Scholardeck picture courtesy of Scholardeck on Facebook

The Malaysian government has just released some new scholarships for Malaysian students. It has been around for four months and it is meant to bridge the gap between Australia and ASEAN nations.

You can select your level of study and your country. Australia is participating in the program and so far we found three scholarships offered by the government. You used to have to go through the traditional uni way of asking your teacher and applying for it via the uni site. But now during this digital age this is no longer an option as that site features about 70+ scholarships for various unis.

Applying for them the hard is tedious for most especially in Malaysia where the site originated. Ever since the site started they have been helping 4000 students gain access to a scholarship to study in Australia and Asia.

Do try and apply for scholarships here.

Friday, May 1, 2015

East Vs West Malaysia relations

We explain the East-West debate which took place last Sunday.

Malaysia has two sides: East and West.

The East became independent on September 16th 1963 and they celebrate their independence on this date

The east consists of Sarawak and Sebhan. Both are rural places and the parents send their kids to school in Kuala Lumpur. Public transport and flights too and from the place are a pain as no International flights go there. International flights go in and out of Kuala Lumpur.

Communications there is not too bad. The Sarawakians and Sebhans get their papers locally. Everything is too expensive and has to be imported from KL. The customs there are expensive for commercial goods.

The politicians in the east care only about the money and not about the people.

The West has everything, talents, KL and all.

So what can these two sides do to be united
First of all its the communication. If the country and everyone learns one language it is a lot easier. Also people should be proud to be a Malaysian.

The east needs to have better promotion about their culture. There is a lot of culture and heritage in the east as well as the West.

The earthquake in Nepal

This week there was a natural disaster in Nepal and it affects students in Melbourne. We talk about what is going on and how you can help.



There was an earthquake in Nepal on the 25th of April where it was said that it was a magnitude of 7.9. It was on the Himilyas where lots of people live and climb there.About 1800 people died in this earthquake. About 4718 people were injured and many are still trapped.

It was the worst natural disaster in Himilayan history.

The earthquake tore through a large part of Kathmandu damaging offices and homes.

What sort of aid is being offered by the Government and other agencies?
Oxfam have already offered their support and they have already sent teams there to help in the disaster recovery. Australian will $5 million in support and the Red cross is also going there to help out.

But food and water may be difficult to supply as the roads may be blocked or closed. Everything delivered to Nepal comes from India.

What support is being offered to students?


Universities in Melbourne will be offering counselling to all those that are affected. Charlese Sturt University have started a Donation box where you donate any unwanted but useable stuff to Nepal. Many restaurants in Melbourne have also either organised events or a small amount of money from things sold goes to Nepal.

Concerned students can call this number or meail the Nepalese office. There is a site called Earthquake family links which you can see whether someone is alive or missing. Also if you need any help at this time the Study Melbourne team are willing to help.

There is a bake sale happening at RMIT until the 5th of May.
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