What I wish I’d known about Australia

By Amani Bates, University of Western Australia, Australia

UWA Campus

G’day from down under!

I’ve sadly done more than half my time here in Perth and I must say I’ve absolutely loved it. The weather’s great, the people are friendly, and I’ve made some really cool friends and some amazing memories. I’d highly recommend it as a destination for your study abroad.

That said, there are a few things I wished I’d known before I got here, so here’s my list of tips!

Firstly, when you say to people that you’re going to Perth, they may reply, ‘Isn’t that a sleepy coastal town on the less interesting side of Australia?’.


Whilst Western Australia is the lesser traveled side of the country, it has some breathtaking spots and I would argue is more interesting because it’s less tourist touched. Besides, if you’ve saved up a bit of travel money it’s easy enough to get to the other side and see Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, or whatever takes your fancy. (See my other article ‘A Solo Traveller’s Guide to Sydney’).

Elizabeth Quay

There are three big Universities within Perth so the student population is strong, meaning the nightlife is good. UWA runs events with bars and clubs they partner with so look into those if you want to find the good spots to go out. Equally, if that’s less your thing, there are some serene scenic spots in and around the city and on campus. Do quick Google searches of Rottnest Island, King’s Park, and Cottesloe Beach for a rough idea. 

A Quokka on Rottnest Island

Accommodation is an interesting one. When I initially did my research to work out where I was going to stay, I hadn’t appreciated there were multiple colleges I could pick from. UniHall (which is the college I picked), is the only one directly run by the University but if I’m completely transparent it’s on par with Oak House. That might be your thing, it might not be, but is the cheapest and I’m not spending a lot of time in my room anyway, so it works fine for me.

My UniHall Standard room, the day I moved in!

Trinity, St George’s, St. Catherine’s, and Tommy Moore are the others to look into. They range in price and culture. For example, if you’re big on sports and want a competitive environment to channel that, Trinity might be a good fit. Alternatively, if like me, you want a less ‘Collegey’ college, where participation in events is optional and you’re more left to do your own thing, UniHall or Tommy Moore could work well. It all depends on what you want so do your due diligence. 

Some quick tips…

  • Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be worried about snakes and spiders, I’ve not seen anything dangerous (yet).
  • Decide what team you’re going to support in the AFL (Australia Football League), the two Perth teams are the Dockers and the Eagles. The rivalry is palpable, choose wisely.
  • Be sun smart! The Factor 30 you packed with you isn’t going to cut it if you’re spending a day outside.
  • Get your student guild membership early. It quick and easy and gives you access to the gym and 10% off all food on campus.

Overall, Perth has been a great change of pace to Manchester, if only for the fact it’s less grey! Hopefully, this list of tips will help you, if you do decide to make the trip over. The last thing to mention is that Australians abbreviate everything and use a lot of slang. So I’ll leave you with some translations…

Arvo = Afternoon 

Biccie = Biscuit 

Oath = Sure thing 

Runners = Trainers 

Thongs = Flip Flops (I was initially confused when asked why I wasn’t wearing thongs to the beach)

Eshay = Australian Roadman 

Bogen = Australian Rednecks 

Snag = Sausage 

Feed = A meal 

Goon = Cheap boxed wine (student essential)

Too easy = I’ve got it (Usually said to signal the end of the conversation)

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