Here you can find all the information that you must know about moving to another country and living and working there: cultural diferences, finding accommodation, health insurance, taxes and govement issues, working conditions

Best Australian Cities

The best student cities in Australia

Best Australian Cities for Students

We asked 100 students their views on the best places to visit, study, work or live in Australia. We took into account several factors including living costs, climate, culture, transport and layout. The results can be seen on the table below.

Melbourne: 25%
Sydney: 15%
Perth: 20%
Brisbane: 15%
Adelaide: 20%
Canberra: 5%

Melbourne, the number one place to go in Australia, is ranked the highest due to it's varied culture, good transport and reasonable living costs. Canberra, the capital of Australia, is least popular; perhaps due to the fact that it was purposefully built as the administrative centre of the nation.

What Do You Think?

Vote for your favourite Australian student city below and send us your opinion on the best place to live, travel, study or work in Australia as a student. We'll publish your thoughts on our website for others to read and comment on.

Vote for the best student city

Why is this your favourite student city?

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Lavorare in Australia

10 Reasons To Live in Australia

10 Reasons Why You Should Live Down Under

Australia is a great place to visit on holiday. But have you ever thought about moving there permanently?

Here's a list of the 10 reasons why you should live 'Down Under'.

1. Economic Stability

The average weekly total earnings of workers living in Australia is A$1080.30.

2. Live Longer

An Aussie's average life expectancy at birth is 82 years. In the UK, it's only 79!

3. Better Wildlife

From kangaroos to koala bears.

4. Aussie Rules Football

The best bits of football and rugby on a bigger field.

5. The Beaches

Because sunbathing and surfing should be part of everyone's daily routine.

6. The Food

From Vegemite to shrimp on the barby!

7. The Climate

Sun from dawn till dusk.

8. Better Chance of Employment

Australia’s unemployment rate is 5.8% while the UK’s is 7.5%.

9. The Great Barrier Reef

From sharks to turtles, the largest reef in the world has it all.

10. Australia Produces Some Serious Talent.

Just a selection of the talent that's come from Australia.

10 Reasons to Move to Australia

Moving to Australia

Moving to Australia

Migrating to Australia comes with the barriers of moving to any other country: you must overcome the job application process and the immigration procedures. However, you must also take into account what it is like to live in Australia. The living conditions are an intergral part of working in a new country and you should read our advice on this page to learn what it's like to live 'Down Under'.

Living in Australia

Australia is a diverse, multicultural society comprised of people from many backgrounds. An estimated 22% of the 22 million strong population are born overseas; migrants contribute significantly to the Australian way of life.

Today, Australia is considered to have one of the strongest economies in the world. In addition to a temperate climate, beautiful landscape and political stability, the standard of living in Australia is high in comparison to many other countries.

Working conditions in Australia

Australian working conditions are very good. The average weekly total earnings of workers living in Australia averaged A$1080.30, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in November 2012.

Your new working life in Australia won't be too much of a shock if you're used to working 37.5 hours in the UK – the standard in Australia is 38 hours per week. The standard annual leave entitlement is just 20 days, for each 12 months of service. But the good news is there's a minimum of 11 public holidays per year!

Seasonal change in Australia

The seasons are the opposite to the UK. Summer is December to February; autumn is March to May; winter is June to August; and spring is September to November.  Christmas during summer time takes some getting used to; surf instead of snow is not what you would usually expect!

Australia compared to the UK

If you lived in Australia rather than the UK you would:

  • Make more money.
  • Have a better chance at being employed - Australia’s unemployment rate is 5.8% while the UK’s is 7.5%.
  • Live longer - Australia’s life expectancy at birth is almost 82 years, whilst the UK’s is 79 years!

Housing type

Over 75% of Australian homes are detached houses. The most popular housing type is a single storey detached bungalow with three bedrooms. Aussies are yet to embrace the European-style flat living.

Health system

The NHS is not something you will find in Australia and you must pay for healthcare there. Moreover, unlike the UK, you will have to pay for doctor’s appointments. Prescription charges apply in Australia too. Hospital treatment is free – but ambulances are not.

Wildlife in Australia

Be prepared to encounter all sorts of new wildlife when you move to Australia. Kangaroos, koala bears, spiders and crocs to name a few!

Australia wildlife

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Living & Working in the UK

Working and Living in the UK

Are you thinking about coming to work in the UK? There are many advantages about coming to live and work in Great Britain, as well as some cautionary advice that you should be aware of. Below is a list of different factors that you should take into account if you have plans to work in the UK.

Tips about Working in the UK

British culture

A diverse nation, which is accepting of all cultures. In London, for example, there are foreign communities from most parts of the world.

Freedom in Britain

In the UK people are free to express their own opinions and wear what they want. There are specific rules about what to wear for the UK job interview which you should be aware of.

British humour

British people have a strong sense of humour, but it can be hard for foreigners to understand when someone is joking.

English language

English is the principal language, and for the vast majority the only language, spoken in Britain. There are more people using English as their first language in the UK than in any other country except the US. British English is easily understood in many parts of the world because it is spoken clearly, without a strong accent. If you have trouble speaking English and are worried this will affect your job application to the UK, read our advice about working abroad, and more specifically how to succeed at a job interview in another language.

Travel in the UK

Getting to the UK from most parts of the world is easy. There are flights to London from most parts of the world with the three main airports of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. You can travel cheaply around the UK by train or bus. The country is small so you only have to be in a train or bus for 4 or 5 hours to go from the bottom to the top. Lastly, the UK is close to the many different countries of continental Europe.

UK Travel

British health system

If you are on a course for more than 6 months, you should be able to obtain free health treatment if you become ill.

Safety in the UK

The UK is a relatively safe country. The police do not usually carry guns, and there are strict controls on the ownership of weapons. There are pickpockets in busy areas, so hold on to your belongings carefully. There is very little risk of natural disasters. As in many other parts of the world, there is some risk of terrorist attack.

Working in the UK

To work in the UK, you must have a visa or a legal right to work there. Read our UK visa information to find out more about the specific documentation and our UK immigration page to read about what migrant tier you fall into. The cost of living in the UK is quite high. Employment opportunities exist and you should take advantage of these. Head to our home page to learn about all the areas necessary to successfully overcome the job application process in any country. Unemployment is relatively low in many parts of the UK, and there are shortages in certain professions such as nurses and teachers. Voluntary work has a long history in the UK and is usually well-organised.

UK education

The British education system has a good reputation. Accredited qualifications obtained from British schools and universities are recognised in most parts of the world. There are courses in a wide variety of subjects, including many which are open to international students.

British food

British food does not have a good reputation overseas. However, there is in fact a very wide variety of food available, especially in the bigger cities.

UK heritage

Britain has an interesting history and is good at preserving its traditions and old buildings. There are many museums and art galleries.

British weather

The British weather is moderate. The summers are not too hot, and the winters are not too cold. Days are short in the middle of winter and long in the middle of summer. It does rain quite a lot in the UK. There is usually more rain in the west and north of the country, and more sunshine in the south.

Culture Shock

Even if you take all of the advice above into account, you are still liable to suffer from culture shock when you move to the UK for work. Read our tips about how to deal with culture shock to settle in easily and comfortably to life in the UK.

Back to Work in the UK

Procedure for obtaining a work visa in Spain

Procedure for Obtaining a Work Visa in Spain

To work legally in Spain as a foreign worker, you must obtain a work visa and a work permit. The first step is to obtain the work permit. For this, you must have a job offer from a Spanish company or with their main offices in spanish territory.

Obtain a work permit in Spain

It will be your future employer who must give your permission to obtain a work permit. For this, one must deliver the following documents to the local offices of the Direccion Provincial de Trabajo, Social Security and Social Affairs. Be aware that you will not be able to do it personally, but it has to be your future employer.

  • Passport or driving license valid for 4 months minimum.
  • 3 passport-sized photographs.
  • Copy of the work contract, sealed by the new employer.
  • Certificate of criminal records that covers at least the last 5 years and that certifies that you have not committed any crime that is stated in the Spanish penal code.
  • Health certificate confirming that you do not suffer from any illness that could be a danger to the public.

Once you have applied to obtain a work permit, it will be the Public Employment Service that decides to grant it, depending on whether or not the job position can't be covered by another Spanish or European Union worker. If they decide that this is not the case, your future employer must make a defense on your behalf and why you are necessary to their company.

On top of these documents, your future employer will have to fulfill another series of requirements that includes guaranteeing your continued employment for a determined period of time and paying you a minimum wage established by law.

Once the work permit has been granted, you can now apply for a Spanish work visa.

Obtain a work visa in Spain

Once you have obtained the work permit, start the process to obtain the work visa that will allow you to work and live legally in Spain. Depending on the type of visa, it will be necessary to present more or less documents, especially when the work is in the scientific field or a job working on specific projects with highly qualified professionals.

To proceed with obtaining a visa, you must present the following documents in the Spanish consulate or embassy in your country:

  • Original and copy of the official visa application.
  • Copy of the work contract stamped by the Foreign Office.
  • Passport or valid travel document with 4 months minimum validity.
  • Certificate of criminal records issued by the authorities of your home country or countries in which you have lived during the last 5 years.
  • Health certificate that certifies that you don't suffer from any illness that might be a threat in a public environment.

Be aware that to obtain a work visa it is possible that you will have to undergo a personal interview.

Once the visa is authorised you will have three months to start work in Spain and the employer will have another three months from the moment that you arrive to work to give you a Social Security number.

A month after you are on the national system of social security you will be able to apply for a foreign identity card.

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Working over Study

Choose Work Over Study

Different Job Industries

As a Spanish student at University in the UK, I was expected to make a decision at the start of my second year. Whether to study, teach, or work in my third year abroad. There was a lot of emphasis on the study option. It was easier; longstanding links with reliable institutions in other countries meant less stress for the students and less paperwork for the staff. The teaching option was also popular because the British Council has a dependable programme through which the majority of student applicants will successfully be placed in a school in their target foreign country. Therefore, only a handful of students, including me, decided to go for the work option. What was my reasoning behind this choice? Firstly, I was loving University but I felt that another year of 6 hours of lectures a week would just fuel my increasing indolence. By working with a strict schedule of longer hours I could get a feel of what it would be like when I left University for my first real job. Similarly, in the current European economic crisis I wanted to give myself every opportunity once I leave Uni by gaining first-hand experience of a real-life working environment.

The general feeling is that: 'work = no fun'. I cannot express how inaccurate this view is. I personally have 30 hours a week in my current job in Spain. I work from 9am-3pm every day. Outside of these hours I do not have to think about anything work-related. I can completely put work out of my mind and focus on relaxing and enjoying myself. When studying or teaching there are issues that will play on your mind outside of the office...'I need to read another Chapter of that textbook'...'I have to plan for that lesson' etc. Admittedly getting up at 8am every morning, having not seen that hour of the morning since secondary school, is pretty painful. But you get used to it and start to view the siesta as less of a time to rest but as an essential second period of sleep. With this in mind, the work hard, play hard routine is very rewarding and helps you get the most out of your work abroad.

Another key point to take into account is that there is a plethora of industries that you could work in. I, for example, am currently working in a Digital Communications company called Summon Press. The majority of staff are between 20-30 years old, the atmosphere is very friendly, the hours are extremely flexible and I can listen to music while I work. For me it's a perfect situation. I understand everyone has their own preferences, but that's the beauty of work. You can find a work environment to suit you. Work should not be viewed as sitting in a grey cubicle with a grey suit drinking grey coffee. It can be, and I speak from a very positive personal experience, fun, eye-opening and even life-changing (pardon the cheesy phrase).

By Eddie Cummings, University of Leeds

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Map of Spain by night

General Info About Spain

Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain.

      In this section you will find information about Spain and what it is like to live there. 

Here you can read about the history, geography, economy, and political situation of Spain.

Learn about Spanish culture, and what it is like to live in Spain here.

Here you can find useful information about how to find accommodation in Spain.

              Return to Spain

Accommodation in Spain

Accommodation in Spain

Accommodation in Spain

Once you have a job in Spain, you need to start thinking about accommodation. Below is some advice about finding somewhere to live.

The risk-free and least stressful way to find accommodation in Spain is to go online and utilize one of the many trustworthy websites out there offering decent accommodation. Below is a list of some great websites where you can find accommodation in Spain.

The problem with using these websites is that you do not actually get to see the place you are going to live with your own eyes; only through photos online. Many people therefore choose to stay in a hostel during the first week or two after arriving in Spain, and then go flat-hunting. Both methods work, but I would strongly recommend the former. Staying in a hostel with no clear idea of where or with whom you are going to live is risky and stressful. Use one of the websites listed above and it will make your life a whole lot easier!

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Culture Shock

Living & Working Conditions in Spain

Living and Working in Spain

Before going to work abroad, one should be aware of the living and working conditions that they are to encounter. 

Living in Spain

Working abroad in any country will come with its culture shocks and differing routines. Living in Spain is no different. The attitude is very relaxed. Weekends are not for getting the DIY done and making holiday plans, but instead for lying on the beach and drinking cerveza. The care-free attitude takes some adjusting to as an uptight Brit, but is very nice once you are used to it. The eating routine is also strange at first. As opposed to my usual dinner time of 7-8pm in the UK, in Spain they don't have dinner until 10-11pm. This is because Spaniards tend to have a bigger lunch and for dinner just small tapas with a beer or sangria. It does make sense, because we shouldn't be eating huge meals before bedtime anyway!

Working in Spain

Spain's work ethic is: work hard, relax hard. During the dedicated hours of work, the Spanish work as hard as anyone. However, they also still religiously take their afternoon siesta period between 2-4 in which most shops close and offices empty. Originally, this was to avoid the blistering Spanish midday heat. However, with many business establishments now installed with air conditioning, the siesta is more out of habit now than anything else. It would not be wise, however, to come in between a Spaniard and his siesta. It is also common to take a coffee break in the morning. Due to the Spanish outdoors way of living, many workers leave the office to sit out at a local square and chat over a coffee. This differs from the UK where workers are more accustomed to sitting at their desk with a large mug o' joe in the morning, still drying from the torrential downpour suffered en route to work.

But as long as you're prepared for these changes, then they are really enjoyable. It's a great way to work and ensures a less stressful, but still productive working environment.

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