Friday, May 31, 2013

Time management at Uni

A organiser and pen is a great way to be organised. RMIT has free diaries. Image courtesy of

This skill is really important for you to learn during your years at Uni and beyond. It is not taught in the classroom; rather it is self taught.

You can also get some tips from the Learning skills unit about this as they do have a time management workshop once in a while.

RMIT also has free diaries for students to collect and use.

One good way to get started is to set some goals and little tasks to help you to complete the big task. One thing that myself and Katherine did to complete the website is to set up regular meeting times and there we set some goals and tasks to be achieved by the next time we meet. In most cases this has worked.

A diary would be a great way to remind you of what needs to be done. This can done on Google calendar.

Privacy Act

In Australia there is a law about how your information can be used. This is known as the Privacy Act 2000.
An example of a privacy notice. Image from Google Images

 What information can be collected about you and why?
Legitimate organizations must state why the information is being used and must also display what's known as Privacy notice.
They must say how it will be used and how it will be kept private. You can object this.

Your access to the Information

The sorts of "private" information that can be collected is
* Name
* Address
* D.O.B (date of birth, if you have be over eighteen for something)
* Bank account details (if you are buying something online)
* Passport details and pictures
* Phone

RMIT (or any other University for that matter)  cannot give out any information to a third party without your consent.

If you do need to post private information online,
Make sure that you read the company's privacy policy
In terms of banking and paying for things use Firefox if you have and turn it to private browsing
Read the testimonials
Use a 128 bit security lock
Install anti virus software on your computer (it costs around $30-$60 per year and they are good for keeping viruses at bay). But make sure that you update it once a while and do scans on your computer.
Delete the cookies.

Planning for the big trip down under to study

Are you a prospective student coming to Melbourne to study? If so you need to work out these things, or otherwise your stay in Melbourne could be fairly unpleasant.

1) Research the place. Google lots and lots of different blogs so that you get a feel for the place. Know how much things cost down here.

2) Once you have done your research work out your budget. How much can you afford each month? Take the exchange rate into account.

3) Plan your accommodation. No planning leads to a very unenjoyable and costly experience down under. You could be homeless if you haven't planned ahead. You don't have to work out as to which house you will stay in but what housing options are best for you and do your research about the rent so you know what to expect.  Head to to find out housing prices

4) Work out which is the cheapest airfare for you. You can usually do this from Webjet is an online service which compares flights so that you can choose whichever one suits you.

5) Work out how you will keep in contact with your parents whilst you're in Melbourne. If you're planning on bringing your own handset make sure that it works here and that you can unlock it without paying the fee. Skype is a cheap way to call them. Most 3G/4G phones has this service installed.

6) Download a calendar on to your phone. Most Android phones would have Google Calendar where you can fill in the important dates

Some travel items you might also need

Going traveling soon? These are a list of travel items which you might need if you are traveling around Australia.
|Travel. Image courtesy of

1) A pack of Cards- you should have picked on up on O-day for free for joining clubs etc. This is for really long train/plane/sea trips and you can play heaps of games with your friends without reverting to the boring ole TV/magazine/paper for hours

2) A sewing kit- Airlines might only allow this in checked luggage due to security reasons, but you can always buy one at your destination. A sewing kit costs $5-$10 and you can buy this at most luggage shops and at Lincraft. It is good for sewing on buttons and fixing threads.

3) Tooth picks- you can pick this up at any Chemist or Supermarket. So far we are loving Oral B's toothpicks in a box. Nicely kept and there are lots of toothpicks for only a small price. These are lightweight so it is easy for on the move

4) Bobble bottle-you can reuse it as many times as you like (priced between $8-$20). Simply wash it, put water in it and take it with you. And its also handy when you want filtered water instead of tap as it has a filter and it converts it for you. It's better than buying $3 bottle of water outside.

5) Shoe bags- you can usually pick up one for free at Orientation days. You can put your shoes inside and it will keep the rest of the clothes clean

6) A mini hanging line for washing clothes. Guess what you can hang your clothes in your room and you don't have to worry about someone stealing them

7) A mini laundry kit for to do your laundry and save about $4 at the laundromat

8) A silk liner for your bed. You can buy this at camping stores and Macpac have a 25% off discount for students. As many hotel and hostel beds are dirty this will protect you from bedbugs

9) Foldable flats for the ladies. You can buy them in stores for about $7-$15 a pair.

10) Make your own toiletry kit. Its free and you can use the samples that you collected from Orientation days, showbags etc. It would save you the ridiculous $10 that you'd have to pay for a travel kit outside and would be allowed in your carry on bags at the airport (without the sharp stuff of course)

11) Sunscreen- Australian sunshine is pretty harsh on the skin, thus this is a great idea to bring some sunscreen. Sunscreen doesn't have to be big; in fact it can be a sample from Orientation day. A sample is enough to last a few days.
At the moment we are loving Sunsense's sport cream by Ego. You can buy small quantities of this and it is good for outdoor activities. It is also water resistant for 4 hours.

12) A padlock for your bags- lock your bags. You would be surprised as to how many people exercise commonsense. Like your house lock your bag when you go away. Recently I was going home by Southern Cross station and I saw that not many country travellers locked their overnight bag. Now you don't want someone looking in your bag so it is better to lock it. Padlocks usually come for free with new suitcases but if you don't have one you can buy one from any luggage stores or a hardware shop for about $10-$30.

International student got scammed by an online shopping site.

As told by Christina Li a second year Accountancy student.
Image courtesy of

image courtesy of Google Images

I am from Mongolia a place which is remote. It is a place which does not have much Internet so I did not know much about the dangers of it. Also my English wasn't very good at that time.

When I came to Australia I saw that Internet was widely popular here and buying things online was popular and cheaper. But I didn't know about the many scams that are around.

I saw something I really liked on and I thought I'd buy it. Little did I know that the thing would not be delivered and more and more money was taken out of my account. I had to give my account details for payment and I didn't know to look for the Paypal (Australian online payment system) logo or the lock sign. So I just gave it anyway not knowing these things.

I didn't have anti viral software at the time so I was open to hackers without knowing.

My bank account was hacked into three times each time they took about $1000 of my savings. Luckily I could afford the basics, but was behind on my tuition fees by about $3000. So I didn't know what to do.

 In the end thanks to the University's understandings I was slowly able to pay back the fee via a payment plan developed by me and student services.

Lessons learnt:
If something is too good to be true then don't buy it
Only spend a small amount online and the rest in person
If buying things online look for the lock or the Paypal sign.
If in Firefox set the browser to Private browsing
Install anti viral software (you can buy this for $50-$60 a year and it will protect your computer from threats)

Pizza festival 2013

Yes it is on again. It was a success last year.

Image courtesy of Pizza festival 2013 site

This time it is Pizza farro, Supermaxi and more.

Its only $20, but it will get you a beer and a pizza. but you have to book the restaurant and only at a specific time.

You can also try three pizzas for $50.

There's a few different types of pizzas for you to try:
1) Napolitana
2) Romana
3) Italiana
4) Spelt and gluten free pizza

The event runs from 10th of June til the end of June. To buy tickets or for more information check out this site.

It is recommended that you book early to avoid disappointment

Thursday, May 30, 2013

How to part 2

 Here are some more How tos that every student should know how to do. These videos are from Youtube (accessed 30/5/2013 at 3:38PM)

Fix a zip
You can buy a zip from Lincraft for about $3.

Sew a button on
Has your button come off? Most shirts and things with buttons comes with a spare one so it is worth keeping the spare one. This video shows you how.

Alter pants
Altering pants at the tailor's shop is very expensive for students, so if you can DIY it even better. All you need is a needle, pins and thread. It takes about five to ten minutes to do.

Polish shoes
Does your shoes need to be polished for work/interviews etc? You can buy shoe polish for $10 and then do it yourself.

A simple risotto recipe

That is cost effective and you can make many serves of this, some of it for uni

The method was taken from the Taste site - (Accessed: 3.23PM 30/5/2013):

Oven-baked pumpkin, leek & chicken risotto

Forget stirring, this easy risotto is cooked in the oven, giving you more time to do, well, other things!
0:10 To Prep 0:40
To Cook
(28 Members)
Oven-baked pumpkin, leek & chicken risotto
  • Ingredients
  • 1/2 (about 800g) butternut pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 leek, pale section only, washed, dried, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 (about 500g) single chicken breast fillets, coarsely chopped
  • 330g (1 1/2 cups) arborio rice
  • 1L (4 cups) Gravox Real Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded fresh basil
  • 1 tbs finely grated lemon rind
  • 70g (1 cup) shredded parmesan
  • Finely shredded fresh basil, extra, to serve
  • Method
  1. Step 1
    Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Arrange the pumpkin on the tray and drizzle with half the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven, on the top shelf, for 10 minutes or until tender.
  2. Step 2
    Meanwhile, heat half the remaining oil in a flameproof ovenproof dish over medium heat. Add the leek and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until browned slightly. Add the rice and stir to combine. Add the stock and bring to the boil.
  3. Step 3
    Cover the dish and place in oven with the pumpkin and bake for a further 30 minutes or until the rice is tender. Remove the risotto and pumpkin from the oven. Add the pumpkin to the risotto with basil, lemon rind and 60g (3/4 cup) of the parmesan, and stir to combine. Divide among serving plates and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and extra basil. Serve immediately.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Crown Melbourne hotel

Address: 8 Whiteman Street
Southbank 3006
Melbourne, Australia

It is the most expensive place to stay in.

Whilst there is all the glamour and glitz and activities, this place is known for attacks at nighttime especially near the casino area.

But it is good for the dining and entertainment... just as long as you don't out too late. There are so many places to choose from.

Galactic circus, a fun arcade is there.

The rooms at Crown is about $500 per night. But they have all the creature comforts as well as the amenities.

verdict: Crown isn't a place to stay for students, but except for the casinos it is a place to explore.

There'll be more visits to come- fun ones I hope.

Japan Cherry Blossom festival

Location: Box Hill TAFE (which by the way I had trouble finding the place and my group from the tram stop. The tram stops at the station and doesn't go any further. Being from the north west I didn't realize that there was another quieter side to Box Hill. I only know the station and city side of it). There is limited parking at Box Hill TAFE so everyone took a tram or a train to get there. By train it is classified to be in zone 2; but by tram it is in zone 1 from the city.
Date and Time: Sunday, 10am-5pm
Costs: $5 for entry, $3 for tea ceremony, $7-$15 for just small plates of food, $2 for a raffle ticket (which we did not buy as we didn't think that we'd win anything), $1 for lollies and $10-$15 for other things.

The games were about $2 each.

The Japan Festival was a fun day out. I went with Sally, Mr Cheap and Mr Japan guy. There were many stalls and performances and I went to a tea ceremony (see the cultural notes).

I didn't have lunch at the festival- only just the takoyaki as the lines were ridiculously long. The lines at the drink bars were long too hence no green tea.

There were prizes to be won for the raffles and the drawing contest.

The games were really fun to watch.

At the stalls there were many toys sold as well as tea, magazines, books, mochi (Japanese sweets for $5), sauces, kimonos, soaps etc. This was a lot bigger than the one at Docklands.

The performances were really fun to watch. We loved the drumming one.

And there was the bonsai plants which were lovely to look at.
Cultural notes:
Tea ceremony- A tea ceremony lasts for about four hours. In this case this one didn't. This one only lasted about 30 minutes. There was about 100 people all attending the ceremony and more were interested in it.
Here the ceremony was explained to us and there were bowls of tea to be tried. Before the ceremony starts we were given wagashi (Japanese sweets).

Takoyaki- these are deep octopus balls which contain flour, water and bits of octopus. This is a favourite street snack in Japan. Here the flour and water are combined to make batter and then once the batter is in the pan the little bits of octopus are added to it. Then it is cooked for about 5-10 minutes. To finish it off they put some sauce on the top and the moving bonito flakes. Yummo.

It was worthwhile spending $5 for the entry fee as we had a great time here. The only downside is that there should be more signage at the station.


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