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Banking & Budgeting

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Participants will not be able to open an Australian bank account while abroad. We recommend that participants use their ATM cards to withdraw money. Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted credit cards in Australia. Participants should notify their bank and creditors that they will be studying in Melbourne prior to their arrival to ensure that the bank does not enact fraud procedures and deactivate or lock the student's bank cards. Credit cards should be used wisely though, as the foreign transaction fees can add up quickly. We recommend that students conduct research prior to departure to better understand how their bank cards will work abroad. 

Budgeting While Abroad Australia participants should expect to spend between $300 and $350 on textbooks while in Australia. The majority of previous Australia participants report that they stuck to a budget of $150-$250 per week. In our most recent survey (2014 participants), 50% spent less than $300 USD on groceries per month, 41% spent between $30-49 USD on public transportation/taxis per month, and 48% spent less than $300 USD on social activities per month (percentages reported represent the majority of respondents). 

Participants should keep in mind that Melbourne, like other Australian cities, is expensive. Below are a few examples of everyday items and activities and their approximate costs in US dollars.

Loaf of Bread $3.50 - $5.00
1 gallon of Milk $4.00 - $5.50
Large Pizza $14.00 - $16.00
Take-out Burger Meal $6.00 - $9.00
Movie Ticket $13.00 - $18.00
Average Monthly Budget Abroad $800 - $1,200
Average Monthly Budget Boston $200 - $300

For current conversion rates please click here.

Tips for Spending & Budgeting:

  • Plan a budget ahead of time and stick to it!
  • Take advantage of low-cost or free activities. staff plans activities every week!
  • Monitor your bank accounts closely to ensure that they reflect your records
  • Make copies of your credit and debit cards and give them to your parents to keep in a safe place
  • Do not carry any more cash than what is necessary for that day
  • Shop for groceries at local farmers markets 

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