In just a month, I will be living in…. AUSTRALIA!!!

After 21 years of living in beautiful British Columbia, it is finally time for me to go on a wild adventure across the world!

I have always thought my first international trip would be somewhere in Southeast Asia since most of my relatives are from Vietnam, but nope! Life has steered me into a new direction and I am stoked to begin this ultimate life-changing journey.

Since receiving my acceptance letter to Monash University, I immediately began preparing for my arrival. Here’s a recap of the past couple of weeks:

1.) Bought my first international plane ticket.

As this was my first time, you could probably imagine how flustered I was trying to sort through the large amount of “deal” sites out there. However, after doing some research, talking to my travel buddies, and communicating with my Monash coordinator, I decided to stick with a well-known airline, Air New Zealand, to avoid any uncomfortable experiences. “Cheap flights are cheap for a reason!” 

Fortunately, Air New Zealand was offering a sweet deal ($830 from Vancouver to Auckland to Melbourne!) that I couldn’t say no to so I booked my ticket a week and a half in advance of my orientation day. My friend  Sonam shared their safety video to pump me up:

2.) Applied for my VISA

In many countries, this is a gruelling process that can take months to do but Australia confirmed my VISA within 24 hours. (Now that is speedy service!)

3.) Opened an Australian bank account.

I recall learning about the CommonwealthBank at a Salesforce event in Vancouver. Salesforce did a heck of  job marketing their client as I remember lots of bold letters and bright yellow colours running across the screen. I didn’t know much about the CommonwealthBank but it seemed like a very youthful and fun organization. After finding out that it had the most ATMs in Australia, I didn’t have to think twice about who to bank with and immediately signed up for my very first international bank account!

4.) Spoke to lots of Australian travellers!

The best way to get the inside scoop about any country is by talking to people who have been there (or those who actually live there – even better!). I spent time talking to anyone and everyone who has gone to Australia and built a list of “must-do’s”! Many of of the folks I’ve spoken with, if not all, always shared positive experiences in Melbourne and Australia and have assured me that I will indeed have a wicked time there.

Although the majority of my tasks are complete, there are still some important ones pending on my to-do list. Here’s what I have to focus on for the next few weeks:

  • Sort out accommodation
  • Plan details of pre-exchange trip in Australia
  • Plan out post-exchange trip (to Southeast Asia?!)
  • Research on best phone plans (deal with my current cell phone contract)
  • Fix my computer (so I can actually use it when I’m there!)
  • Get travel insurance

Pretty sure that’s it for now! If you notice any other important travel details I should be considering, please let me know!