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5 useful tips to help make life easy for the newly independent int’l student

Trinity College Foundation Studies

Wed Feb 22 2017


We all know how hard it can be to start a new life away from the eyes of your parents and that so much can go so wrong in that first year. But it doesn’t have to if you know how to make life that much easier while you’re studying in Melbourne.

To help students quickly settle and make their time away from home an enjoyable one, here are five things all international students studying in Australia should do to ensure they get the most out of their time abroad.

Proof of Age card

As an international student, your passport is widely considered to be your only legitimate form of identification but having to lug it around to shifty bars on wild nights out can prove to be a nuisance.

You wouldn’t want to run the risk of losing such an important document so why not consider getting a Proof of Age card? The Proof of Age card is a valid alternative form of identification in Australia, and can be used for age verification into licensed premises such as clubs and liquor stores.

Each state has its own set of rules around the Proof of Age card. In Victoria, applications can be completed at any participating Australia Post office, Vic Roads office, and select pharmacists or chemists. You can also receive it in the mail by calling the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation on 1300 182 457.

What’s more, the application fee for the Proof of Age card is just $10AUD. Score!

Big carabiner for heavy groceries

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where, after buying heaps of groceries for the week, you’re on your way home and all those heavy plastic bags just end up making your hands and fingers ache and sore?

Here’s a tip for all of you grocery shoppers learning to take full ownership of your household shopping: the next time you head out for your weekly shopping trips, bring along a large carabiner to hang your bags in. Here’s to no more swollen fingers and arms!

For a better idea of what we mean, check out this blog post from Sew Many Ways.

Feminine hygiene products as bandages for the damsel in distress

This very unconventional yet useful know-how is for the ladies: if you ever find yourself without a bandage or plaster to wrap around your wound, you can use a panty liner! After all, it is sanitised and its purpose is to sponge up for your time of the month. And don’t worry if all you have at your place are tampons – just flatten them and wrap them around the wound!

Another bonus: there’s also a string at the end to tie the tampon securely to the wound. These nifty hacks will protect the wound while you hurry out to buy some actual bandages.

Use a rubber band to keep your door from latching

If you’re living in a student hostel like Unilodge, the fear of leaving your home without your keys is very real. Once that door locks up automatically behind you, getting back in can cost you. Lockout fees can vary from building to building but no one likes having to pay to get back into their home.

So if you want to just head out for a couple of minutes, slide a rubber band from one doorknob to the other, making sure that it holds down the latch bolt. So even if the door closes behind you, it will not lock itself!

Microsoft Office hacks

Everyone needs access to the Microsoft Office suite of programs at some point but buying it can be pretty expensive. Of course, it doesn’t have to be if you know that Microsoft Office is FREE to students enrolled in qualifying schools! Check to see if your school has that free offer and, if it does, simply head to Microsoft Office’s main page for students and sign up with your valid school email address!

With these new hacks in mind, we know this new uni year will be a little more hassle-free. Do you have other innovative life hacks you want to share? Let us know in the comments below.


This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via