I left France the 5th of February very excited but also a bit anxious as Australia is kind of far away. After a long (really long) journey, I finally arrived at Brisbane airport where a minivan was waiting for me. Indeed, both UQ and QUT offer a shuttle service from the airport to the accommodation of your choice (you just have to reserve it a few days before your arrival as mention in the enrollment papers). When arriving at 4am, after a two days trip with 50kg of luggage, not having to worry about a cab is a real relief.
If having a transport to an accommodation is good, having a place to stay is even better. There are many choices in Brisbane. If you don’t know which one to reserve, I would recommend the hostel “YHA”. It is well situated (next to the CBD and close to the bus station if you want to go to UQ), clean, the staff is friendly and commune areas (kitchen, dining room and swimming pool) are on the rooftop: they offer a great view of Brisbane.
After a few hours of sleep, I began the day by going to the city center (Queen’s street). I got a phone and a bank account in less than thirty minutes. It was then time to start looking for a place to live in. Again, this search ended up being really easy and I moved in a share house by 5pm the next day.
I found my place on the dedicated UQ website which is really well done, easy to use and full of ads. You can also look on “gumtree”, the local “kijiji” or walk around the university were many offers are displayed.
Regarding where to live, which area, choices are exactly the same than in Montreal. UQ is located outside the city center like HEC. Therefore, you can chose to leave in St Lucia which will be like living in Cote-des-Neiges. You may also be attracted to leave in west end, an equivalent of “le plateau” both in transportation time and atmosphere (same thing with the city center).
Concerning the rent, I cannot make any comparison with Montréal as houses are really different and people gave me contradictory opinions. However, it is important to know that the price displayed is often a weekly one and that you’ll need to have some cash on you to pay the bond (a security deposit you’ll get back when you leave).
Finally, besides the location, the roommates, the price… Be aware of the isolation of the house. When I visited my place I made sure the house was cold as it was 34°c outside. However, I didn’t ask how it was in winter. To be fair, back then, I didn’t know it could be cold in Australia. It can. Even after four winters in Canada, Australia’s cold was a nightmare. There is no snow nor minus degrees but still, because houses are unequipped, from May until I left by the beginning of July, I was sleeping with a sweeter, pants, two blankets and a heater.
In a few words, don’t worry too much about getting started, everything is going quite quickly and UQ offers a great support.