Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Check your legal pay rate

 As part of our Careers series
image courtesy of www.taxsuperandyou.gov.au

Students should check their legal pay rate to avoid being ripped off. Some Asian places, Mc Donalds, KFC, Subway etc are known to be places that pay less than the minimum rate.
They are also known for being paid cash in hand which is illegal.
If you earn over $450 in a month the employer must pay 9% of your income into your super. Your super should be labelled at the top of your pay slip. Superannuation is covered by the Tax Office in which when you start work you will need a Tax file number. To apply click here
There are penalty rates for working on weekends, nights and public holidays in which you are entitled to extra money.

You can check out: www.fairwork.gov.au for more information. They also have Pay Check plus which is a tool which you can use to check how much you are entitled to.

The day of an Undergraduate student at RMIT

This is one of my friends who studies Accounting at RMIT and is in her first year. She is an International student. She lives in Springvale with her uncle. Here is how a typical day went

7.30am- Woke up really late. In fact I overslept by about half an hour because I forgot to set the alarm. Hence there is no time to shower and eat breakfast with my uncle.
8am- Rushed to catch the bus, but just missed it. Oh well will just have to get my uncle to drive me to the station seeing as the next one doesn't come until half an hour later.
8.20am- Got to the station and tried to touch on but there was no money on it. Saw that the MYKI machine (where you buy your MYKI did not work) and the counter wasn't opened. DAMM.
8.23am- My train had just arrived and I got on. Forgot the lecture notes today as well, but I remembered my laptop. So sat down and pulled it out and logged on to the RMIT's free learning hub. And there were all of my notes. YAY.
9am- Reached the city and had to try and convince an Authorised officer to let me through. No suck luck. I was fined $207. DAMM. Now luckily I remembered that there are legal services at RMIT to help me get out of the fines.
Also bought a $1 coffee from 7-11 and a $4 brekky wrap.
9.30am- Reached my two hour lecture in SAB just in time. Yay. Learned lots of stuff this morning as there wasn't many noisy students in that lecture.
11.30am- Had a two hour break so I went to Realfoods and volunteered for two hours and they gave me a free lunch and a drink.
1.30pm- Went for a one hour tutorial and I had such a lovely teacher who is willing to help me and other students
2.30pm- Another lecture. Yawn. But I could not concentrate on the lecture because someone next to me was making a lot of noise. But I remembered that there was lectopia (online lecture system where lecturers record all of their lectures for students to listen to at home)
4pm- RUSU's free drinks with friends. I met up with my mentor and my friend from the RMIT MATES program which is run by International services.
6pm- Went to the Couch to study and get a free meal.
7.30pm- Went home and to bed and this time I topped up my MYKI at Parliament station.

Know your rights at work


All workers have the right to a:
* Safe workplace which is free from discriminations, bullying, harassment,
* Fair pay
* Rest breaks
* Join a union

Paying cash in hand is against the law. Not paying tax is also against the law.

Students you can complain to the Fair Work Ombudsman if you think the employer is mistreating you or not paying you. They will investigate the case.

You have the right to a payslip in which the employer should have given you. That will document how much the employer has given you. They cannot deduct wages for a genuine mistake made or if a customer doesn't pay.

You do have the responsibility to tell the employer if something goes missing, even if it was not your fault.

The Uni system

Ever wondering what the uni system is like in Australia? Well here's the answer. The Uni system can be really complicated in Australia.
We have so many different courses and parts to this system.
1) TAFE. This can be broken into certificate and diploma courses. It is a pathway for Higher education. But the Victorian government plans on slashing many courses as of next year.
2)Higher Education, ie Bachelors. This is what most students undertake and it takes about 3 to 4 years to finish. It can be easy or relatively hard depending on what you want to study. You will also have to do a placement of some sort as part of your degree.
3) Double degree- This takes about 5 or 6 years and lots and lots of dedication and learning.
4) Masters- this is postgraduate and you need some sort of undergraduate degree for this.
5) PhD- this is mainly a type of research course. Students work and study in this course. They work in their related field. It is quite difficult and it needs a lot of time and effort into this. You need to know lots of stuff before attempting this. You will spend some nights up studying and writing your thesis. You will need very good English for this and be a self starter/learner.
6) Foundation- its perfect for those that need to study English before going into their Higher ed course.

Ways to make money

Need extra money? These are some of the ways to save that extra bit of cash without going over the 20 hours per week.
1) Sell your old textbooks.  You can sell them at Melbourne Uni's secondhand textbook store and make some money
2) Have a clothes swap party instead of buying brand new clothes. RUSU's Enviroment collective had one last semester and it was all good
3) Sell your stuff at a market. You can sell stuff at RUSU's fortnightly markets
4) Eat all the food in the pantry except for the emergency food. Don't waste food.
5) Make your own products such as soap and stuff. you can
6) Make clothes instead of buying. It could save you heaps of money. I fyou are really great at sewing you could make a dress out of $5 fabric from Lincraft
7) DIY stuff instead of buying it. Like buy plain old shoes from KMART and then jazz it up. You can buy sequins and things from spotlight or riot craft store
8) Go secondhand. Ie buy secondhand books instead of brand new. Secondhand books costs somewhere between $30-$40
9) Rent stuff out to others such as the books that you don't use for a small fee.
10) Read everything you have or that's in the house. If you want to read something check that it is in the house. Or borrow it from your local library. Books at the shops cost anywhere between $10-$100.
11) Have a bakesale with your friends if you are really good at baking. You could then make some money from your baked goods and people would love this. Its a great way to use what you have at home and empty the pantry

Sunday, October 28, 2012

getting credit at RMIT

Getting credit at RMIT for subjects you have done can be a challenge. So how do you go about getting it?
First of all ask the Info corner as to how to get it.
And then you need to fill out some forms
And then the documentation some of which RMIT may not accept. But Most of the documentation RMITwould  accept especially if you did a short course here.

It can take a while for RMIT to proccess this.

For international students you must study on a 100% study load (ie four subjects per semester) and your school must approve of the transfer. If the school approves of it you will be expected to complete the program within a shorter amount of time and Immigration will be notified.

Its free to apply for it for HE students but for TAFE there might be a fee

Bundoora free chill and grill

Proudly brought to you by your SSAF fees and your Student Union
This event is on every Thursday for students free of charge from 12pm onwards outside of Building 204.
So come on by and get some free lunch each Thursday. I know I enjoyed them

English langauge requirement at Universities

Most universities publish this on their website. But what most universities do not do is explain that you need to achieve high grades to succeed in university. Most universities accept grades up to two years old which in some cases is not acceptable. Katherine explains.

The grade you need to get for English language for University in Melbourne
Most universities require a grade of 6.5 in IELTS. But most of the universities are accepting grades from other sources such as Pearsons and Cambridge.
But some students don't meet this requirement and have to do foundation English.

Most universities accept grades up to two years old.

It is costly to go for IELTS test.

English language woes
Some students find it really hard to converse in English hence they use a lot of those writing services. Some of the students also fail courses repeatedly and then they are up for exclusion and being kicked out of the country.

Some of them also find that they work in jobs that have little or no pay such as Asian restaurants etc. I was like that in my first year working at 7-11 with little or no pay and no security at night. I also failed many subjects in my first year and had really bad english.

Also students can't understand lecturers as the communication medium is English. Lecturers feel that they have to teach everything twice to students. Teaching staff have no idea as to who you are, whether you are International or local. RMIT has a huge number of casual staff (these people are not paid outside of teaching hours- they are only paid for what they are taught).

For third year subjects such as Research project students need good English skills as the learning is independent (you learn by yourself with just a little bit of assistance).

Many students complained to the Ombudsman after being excluded for poor English.

What sort of support do universities offer for their students?
Most offer free English language classes in their Study and Learning centre. But not a lot of students go to these.
In Semester 2 2012 the RMIT Student union offered some free English classes for their students. It was offered on Fridays for six weeks.

To study successfully....
Students should try and get a score of 7.5 + in IELTS to pass everything.

If you did Foundataion here make sure that you go for IELTS again just to verify the scores and get the latest one.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Making your own chips

Now you only just need a few potatoes, a dash of salt and a tiny bit of oil. And a frying pan/oven depending on the method you want to use
Wash your potatoes and then cut them long ways. Sprinkle some salt on them. Brush the oil on them and then fry/bake. Depending on your fryer/oven I'm not too sure as to how long you will need but if you are doing it in an over probably 180C-200C is fine

What is loveable about Melbourne

These are some of the things that you might just love about Melbourne as a student

1) The coffees- oh how I love the city for their great coffees. You can get them on every street corner. The Sydney coffees are always too watery and burnt for my liking. But the Melbourne ones are always full of flavor.

2)The laneways. Some of the artwork in there is gorgeous and you can spend hours looking through all of this.
3) The cleaniless of the city- I love that this is clean compared to China and Malaysia and the weather is decent at times.
4) The cute little veggie gardens growing everywhere. Aren't they gorgeous. And with some of them you can get some produce for free.
5) The bike paths and parks- we love our cycling and walking during the summer months
6) All the free events- Melbourne has a hype of activity going on at Federation square. There is always something going on down there any time of the year. Sydney doesn't have as much as Melbourne
7) The beautiful old buildings popping up everywhere. They are free for you to look at and they are a part of Melbourne's history.
8) The people of Melbourne are cool, calm and collected. Where as in Sydney they are more impatient.
9) The weather- Whilst Sydney is always hot and humid, Melbourne has four seasons in a day.  Meaning that it can rain one minute and the next it is sunny. For people moving to Melbourne you'll get used to this sort of weather after a few months of living here. It might puzzle you at first but then you'll get used to this.
10) The markets- Melbourne has lots and lots of them and there are lots and lots of farmers popping up. They are free to visit and there are lots of beautiful things on offer.

Lanolips by Katherine

I received a sample a few months back of Lanolips for very dry hands and nails. I have tried this a few times and it worked really well on my sensitive hands and nails.

Easy to use as you just squeeze a small amount on to your hand and rub it in. It is great for moistening hands and it has the lovely rose scent. But unlike some other hand creams this isn't too scented

Roast beetroot, beans and pasta salad

Here is another lunch idea which is easy to make
Serves 1
You can use last nights roasted beetroot as they taste nicer the next day.

1 roast beetroot
1 small can of beans
1 lebanese cucumber
1 handful of cooked  pasta
1 carrot

Slice the carrot and the cucumber and mix everything together in the bowl. Enjoy

Ascot Pasta and Delicatessen by Katherine

I was really intrigued by this place and had been wanting to go there for a while now. I live close by to there. After doing some errands I went in. It was pretty quiet for a Monday Morning.
It is a small shop selling pasta but it also serves as a cafe serving Di Mattina coffees.
Service was a real letdown for me. I loved the blonde lady she was pretty friendly, but the other one was no so. She didn't smile, plonked down the dishes and demanded to know what my photos were for (in a patronising way). Apparently I had no idea of the no photos policy.  Like most other shops it is the norm to take some pictures ( for a blog post) without asking as it is the way to get some customers.
They only have outdoor seating but they do take away.

Their EFTPOS policy is $15 and over. Hence if you are only just coming for a coffee and sweets/sandwich its worth going across the road to the atm.
I had a long black ($3) and some sweets ($2.50 altogether). The long black was nothing to write home about but the sweets were yummy. I loved the small yoyo.
I might just come back only to buy goods to take home.

Ascot Pasta and Deli cafe on Urbanspoon

Multi Faith End of year celebrations

It's that time of the year again and every year the RMIT Chaplaincy have these type of celebrations where we all gather at the Spiritual centre and do our prayers and readings from the bible. It is also a time of reflection.
The spiritual centre is hidden away. It is in Building 11 where Chaplaincy place is and it is up some stairs. It took me many tries to find the place but eventually I got there. RMIT doesn't have a lot of signage about the place and many others.

And then after that there was free sausages in the courtyard. But I didn't stick around long enough for them.


Catalyst is the Student Magazine produced by RMIT students for students. It will be funded by your SSAF fee.
Catalyst is useful as it contains heaps and heaps of useful articles from reviews to issues and cheap eats.

It is free and can be picked up from the Student Union offices. 

carlton campus

The RMIT Carlton campus is close to the city campus. It is about a ten minute walk from there. Here it has all of the English language students as well as the Engineering students. Here are some cool things to like about this campus.

1) Orr st cafe- this is the only decent cafe that I have tried nearby Carlton Campus. Its like STAX in the city. I had a decent long black whilst there. It's popular with the staff and students of RMIT. This is one of my favourite coffee places when I'm in Carlton

2) The Student Union- it is hidden in building 57 but they do organise many things for students. They only are opened on Wednesdays and THursdays.

3) The library is a lovely place for students to hang in. Here they have a lot of computers and really cool dvds for students to rent. There is always new releases.

4) O' grady place- its a great hang out for students. Here you can have bbqs and there are a few events that the student union put on for students from time to time

Here's some of the not so cool stuff
1) The absestos- its always around
2) The womyns room in building 57 is always a mess
3) The ever so slow lifts and escalators
4) The lack of signage- actually all RMIT buildings has this.  But this one I particularly got lost in here trying to get out as there are many entrances.
5) The cafeteria- always bad food. Actually its the same for all RMIT campuses.

Despite all the bad parts about RMIT Carlton campus it is great. Hopefully RMIT can spend some money on fixing this place up as it seriously needs a fix

Revisiting SAB by Katherine

Yes I have heard that the SAB building has changed and its all good now. So I decided to take a wander down to the SAB building and go look around.
At the SAB they have a lovely courtyard area, lifts that actually work and a new online queuing system at the Business central. Hence the business central has downsized a bit.

At first when I visited the courtyard I felt really scared because of how high the balcony is. The courtyard is on level 7 of this building. But it's actually not very scary and its lovely out there. I got a really good view of the trams and people below.
Back on level 2, I felt a bit lost trying to get out as there is no signage anywhere. But eventually I got out.
Ah some things never change with RMIT. But it is nice to know that there is a courtyard and lockers now.


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