Cultural differences

Australia is a multicultural society and values this cultural diversity. There are over 150 different ethnic groups which means, that you will be able to find people from your own culture, as well as restaurants and shops providing your traditional ingredients to enable you to cook food that is familiar to you.

You are not expected to change your cultural or religious beliefs, you can be proud of them but you need to respect other cultures, to keep an open mind and to take the opportunity to listen and learn about other cultures.

Though exciting, living in a foreign country can be difficult, you will miss your friends and family, the food, customs and pastimes. Nova English has friendly and supportive staff who can help you adjust to your new environment.

Melbourne weather can be quite unpredictable and average temperatures range between 14C – 7C in winter and 25C-14C in summer. Melbourne does experience heat waves in the summer where temperatures reach the high 30’s.


Smoking is banned on public transport, train platforms, tram and bus stops. It is also banned in public buildings, shopping centres, cafes and restaurants. Heavy penalties are in place for smoking in restricted areas.


Prices are generally fixed and bargaining is only available at some markets.

Household Duties

Chores are shared equally between males and females. In shared accommodation, you will be expected to share in the shopping, cooking and cleaning.

Topics to avoid

Do not ask people how much money they make, the price of something, their personal relationships, their politics or religion. These topics are only discussed with very close friends.

Topics to begin a conversation

The weather, the family, what you did on the weekend, where you work, what you think of Australia or travel.


Punctuality is important in Australia. If you have an appointment you must be on time. You also need to arrive on time for your classes. If you are going to be late it is good manners to get in touch and let your appointment or the school know that you will be late.

In social situations with friends you can be a little late.

Education in Australia

You might find that education in Australia is a lot less formal than in your country. Teachers and students dress casually in jeans and t-shirts. Teachers are often addressed by their first names.

Australians expect to maintain eye contact when speaking to each other, it is considered rude to look elsewhere.

Students are expected and encouraged to speak freely and question decisions which they feel are unfair. Student must be able to express their opinions and the reasoning behind them.

Physical Contact

Generally, in Australia an arm length is considered personal space and people feel uncomfortable if you get too close, especially if you do not know them too well.


You always wait your turn, you do not push in. You walk on the left hand side of passageway or stair.



For an emergency, if you need an ambulance, the fire services, police attendance TELEPHONE 000 and tell the operator which service you require.

Cost of Living

Nova English students in Australia typically spend about $300 to $450 a week on accommodation, food, clothing, entertainment, transport, international and domestic travel, telephone and incidental costs.

For the latest information on the cost of living and studying in Australia go online to

The following is only a guide to help you understand the breakdown of costs.


  • Hostels and Guesthouses – $80 to $135 per week
  • Shared Rental – $70 to $250 per week
  • Homestay – $110 to $270 per week
  • Rental – $100 to $400 per week

Other living expenses

  • Groceries and eating out – $80 to $200 per week
  • Gas, electricity – $60 to $100 per week
  • Phone and Internet – $20 to $50 per week
  • Public transport – Myki card- Zone 1 weekly $35.00 Zone1 &2 weekly $59.20
  • Car (after purchase) – $150 to $250 per week
  • Entertainment – $50 to $100 per week

 While this is a realistic guide, it is important to remember that individual circumstances will vary by location, course and lifestyle. Some people spend a lot more than this, and others spend less. To live cheaply, you will have to share a room and cook for yourself.

The Department of Immigration and Border protection has a financial requirement   for international students of AU$18,610 for living expenses each year.


Nova English is located in the Melbourne Central Business District at 140 Queen Street, Melbourne, on the 5th and 10th floor.  It is close to both Southern Cross and Flinders Street Railway station.  Many public bus and tram services depart from Queen Street, very close to our premises. However, most people in Melbourne travel by tram.  The central location of Nova English means that few students will be able to live in the immediate area; most students will be living in suburbs further away and will need to catch a bus, tram or train. Trains run regularly throughout peak hours and all of Melbourne’s major railway lines go through Flinders St Station and Southern Cross Stations. For more information see Public transport in Melbourne – Myki  ( Arrival in Melbourne)


Most Melbourne suburbs have a shopping area or mall where students can find a variety of shops, so there is no need for them to travel to the CBD for their daily requirements.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are cheap and plentiful and most other goods can be bought in our large supermarkets, but more cheaply at markets like Preston, Prahran, Footscray, Box Hill, Springvale and Victoria Market

Australia has a multicultural population, so food and other items from many countries are readily available.


Students will need to set up an Australian bank account on their arrival in the country to avoid the necessity of carrying large amounts of cash. They will need to show their passport and evidence of residency.

Most shopping centres have Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) facilities. These machines can be used for deposits and, in many instances, withdrawals 24 hours a day. Most department stores, supermarkets and specialist shops have electronic transfer terminals (EFTPOS) where cash withdrawals can also be made in addition to purchasing goods.

Most banks open from 9.30am – 4pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.30 am – 5 pm on Friday.
There are a number of major banks with branches close to Nova English where students may wish to open their accounts.

Legal Services

If you need legal advice from a solicitor you can go to LIV’s online Legal Referral Service. This is a free referral service, and the solicitors who you will be referred to provide the first 30 minutes consultation for free. After that you will have to pay. The website is

As this is the Law Institute of Victoria, it has a listing of all solicitors and their specialisations, so it is the most reliable place for information regarding solicitors.

Medical Services

If you cannot find a doctor locally you can go to Outpatients of any public hospital. In an emergency call 000 and ask for an ambulance.


These requirements are in accordance with the ESOS Act 2000, for further information on this section please sees:

Students need to be aware that a condition of the English student visa is a minimum of 80% attendance

Department of Immigration and border protection 

Please phone the department before coming into any office so that you know what documentation to bring with you.
See: National Telephone Numbers

You may find that you do not need to visit an office in person or that you will need to make an appointment.

Under the ESOS Act ELICOS students have a legal obligation to attend all classes. If you cannot attend a class, make sure you notify reception or your teacher. If you are ill, you are required to produce a medical certificate and hand it into reception.

Elicos Attendance Requirements

  • ELICOS students must attend 20 contact hours per week
  • Attendance must be 80% or more at all times

Nova is legally required to notify DIBP if students fall below required attendance levels.

Attendance breaches are taken seriously and Nova is legally obliged to notify DIBP if students do not attend regularly. Notification can result in cancellation of student visa

Contact Details

Nova English requires that you provide your current contact details. If these details change, you must request a Change of Address form the Director of Studies for ELICOS. It is your responsibility to maintain current contact details with us.

Employment in Australia whilst studying

DIBP laws allows for international students to work up to 20 hours per week. However, work is not easy to find and under no circumstances can students rely on income earned in Australia to pay tuition fees. Students and their dependants can apply for a student visa with permission to work in Australia after the student has commenced their course of study. Students must ensure that work does not interfere with their study.