7 Healthy Study Snacks for Students

It is that time of semester where you foresee burning the mid-night oil. Final assessments and exams are creeping in very soon. What gets me through this period is ensuring that I have plenty of snacks to keep me hunger-free and energised to make it through the night. It is easy to have chips, biscuits and all the other ready to eat snacks at your disposal because we all have that bad habit of prioritising work over food healthy eating. How about replacing all these unhealthy snacks with guilt-free snacks? As International Students, we are not about spending money or preparation time on healthy food.

What if I convince you of possible affordable combo of healthy snack ideas to allow you to power through study sessions?

1. Carrot and celery sticks with hommus

This is a great combo to replace the chips and salsa. The crunchy veggies taste incredible with hommus dip. This nutritious snack is low-calorie, but contains essential vitamins and minerals. If you didn’t know, hommus is made from blended chickpeas.

You can find ready to eat 300 gram celery pack for $3.20 at Coles and 300 gram carrot sticks for $3.00 at Woollies. The Black Swan Hommus dip is frequently on special, right now it is only $3.00.

If you like, dip cucumber as well for added hydration.

carrot sticks, celery sticks and hommus dip

2. Dates and walnuts

This was introduced to me by my good friend, and boy, oh boy, best cure for a sweet-tooth. The sweetness of the date intertwined with the walnut crunch is a heavenly pairing. Dates are full of fibre and antioxidants, whilst contributing to other health benefits. In some religions, dates are used as a snack before a day long fasting, as the fibre keeps you full longer. Similarly, walnuts offer healthy fats, fibre, minerals, vitamins, and the list of nutrients goes on.

You can purchase a 500 gram pitted dates for as little as $1.60, while a 400 gram walnut pack would be $9.00. It looks expensive, but a 60 gram chip pack is at least $1.50, you do the maths.

dates and walnuts from coles

3. Almonds

Since we are in the topic of walnuts, I will bring in another from the nut family: Almonds. Did you know one ounce of almonds (equals to 28 almonds), contain one eighth of our protein in take? ME NEITHER! While you can have read on other health benefits for almonds, it is important to note, almonds are considered as “brain food“. According to research, quote, almonds contain “healthy levels of vitamin E which have been shown to prevent cognitive decline, boost alertness and preserve memory longer“.

A pack of 400 gram roasted or natural almonds for just $7.00.

almonds

4. Avacado toasties

Avo is one of my all time favourite fruits, so there nothing like spreading avo on a crunchy toasty. All I do is cut the avo in half, scoop the inside and mash it using a fork. Then sprinkle some salt, pepper and cumin powder and spread it over the slice of toasted bread. To make it taste better, take it one step further and add finely chopped onions, tomato and green / red capsicum and squeeze some lemon. I know, I told you how to make a guacamole, but trust me it is delicious, filling and super simple.

Avos are packed with great nutrition value consisting of 20 minerals and vitamins. Their price differs based on the supply to the market. Generally, one avocado cost between $2.00 to $3.00.

avocado on toast

5. Bowl of fruits

Could I get more obvious? This self-explanatory, you can cut up a combination of strawberries, oranges, kiwis, watermelon, apples, grapes and/or bananas. Daily recommended in take is two servings of fruits.

If you actually consider the cost of a such bowl it would be between $1.00 to $3.00, but the health benefits are immense.

bowl of fruit

6. Boiled eggs

Who doesn’t like eggs? This is so easy to prepare well in advance. Buy a carton of eggs and boil half a dozen eggs in one go. It takes less than 10 minutes and keep it stored in fridge for later. While some like to gulp down the whole egg, I like to sprinkle some salt and pepper for taste. Egg whites are a good source of protein, whilst the yolks contains vitamin B, D and minerals like zinc, iron and copper. While the heath effects of eggs are debatable in terms of cholesterol, it is advisable to limit the consumption of egg yolks to maximum of one or two a day or as recommended by a dietitian. A dozen free range eggs will cost around $3.80.

coles free range eggs

7. Yogurt bowl

I love breakfast, this is my favourite meal of the day. So I am an all-day-breakfast-kind-of-girl. You can skip this if you don’t relate.

The reason why I named this yogurt as oppose to smoothie bowl is because nobody got time for making a smoothie at mid-night. Here is the closest alternative, in bowl add yogurt, cuts up fruits and clusters. (tip – you can basically add anything you love from granola to muesli to dried fruits to seeds). 

Here is the breakdown of cost, a 1 kg yoghurt tub will range from $3.00 to $5.00, while clusters will range from $4.00 to $7.00. (My favourite brand of cluster is the Coles home-brand, berry flavour).

Eating healthy while studying

Check out these creative ideas by Buzzfeed on 17 Quick and East Power Snacks For Studying!

I really hope this article inspired you to make some healthy choices as you move in to the next few weeks and for all semesters to come.

Before I conclude this article, I want to mention a few other pointers.

  • Drink plenty of water! It will improve your metabolism, digest food well and keep you well hydrated. Buy a 2 litre water bottle, fill it up in the morning and leave it on your study desk. Make a conscious decision to finish the bottle everyday.
  • All the links I have provided are from major supermarket chains for your convenience, but you may find the same products at half the price in local shops.
  • Make smart choices – no matter how talented you are, sickness slows you down and burns a hole in your purse. Eat healthy and stay fit.

Until next time…

5 Ways to Earn in Australia as International Students

Are you planning to study in Australia as an International Student? Whilst it is the beginning of a rewarding journey, the flip side of the matter is that Australia is ranked world number 32 in the Cost of Living Index. As a result, most International Students work part-time to make ends meet. The silver lining is that there are plenty of jobs in Australia for those who make an effort. Some students actually end up finding great opportunities as a result of part-time work.

If you are interested to know how to earn extra money in Australia, keep reading. There maybe ways that you didn’t know existed!

GETTING STARTED

Tax File Number

First things first, you need to get your Tax-File Number (commonly referred as TFN). With this you will be treated as an Australian-resident for tax purposes and will not be taxed excessively. It is a very simple process that you can complete online at the ATO website.

Fair Work in Australia

As per Fair Work policy in Australia, International Students are allowed work a maximum of 20 paid hours a week during semester and full-time during winter and summer breaks. While it doesn’t seem like a lot of hours, it is considerable given that you are enrolled for full-time studies and undertaking minimum 4 units a semester. So between, attending lectures to working on assignments and preparing for exams, 20 hours is plenty to make the extra buck.

Australia has very strict labour regulations. You have similar rights to an Australian to be offered safe work-environments and paid at least minimum wage. – refer Fair Works pay calculator. Fair Work Australia have published many cases where International Students are exploited, underpaid and overworked. If you are in such situations, immediately report on 13 13 94. You can refer to the Fair Work Ombudsmen website to have a basic understanding of your rights and awards (legal documents that outline the minimum wage rates and conditions of employment in Australia) related to your field.

Write a Resume

This is self-explanatory that you need a well-written resume. I am not going to go in to too much detail on this as it is a significant and standalone topic that is addressed  in our winning strategy to write a resume article.

NEXT…

Now that all the preliminary work is done, it is time to make $$!

Job Sites

job hunting through online sites

This is the most common way to find a part-time job in Australia and you can start your job search on your University Careers page. The advantage in that platform is because postings on this site are not visible to non-students and it is an indication that employers are interested in hiring students from your University. Apart from major job sites like SEEK, Indeed, CaeerOne and Adecco, you can refer to Gum Tree job board. I would actually state that you are likely to find a job as an International Student on the latter site. The common jobs for International Students are in retailing, hospitality and business administration.

Tutoring

Tutors

You can also apply for tutoring positions in subjects that you are confident as a high school or University tutor. You have two options, either respond to adverts on Gum Tree requesting for tutors or advertise your services. General rate for high school and first year University subjects range from $20 to $30 per hour.

Mystery Shopper

mystery shopper

Companies commission other people to act as Mystery Shoppers. As a Mystery Shopper, you will be asked to visit retail stores, cafes, etc. to act as a customer to observe and engage. Later, write a report explaining the experience and submit to the company or agency that hired you. You know what the best part about this? You get to eat food and buy clothes, FREE OF CHARGE; you will be reimbursed for what you spent. Sometimes, this is the payment, where as most companies pay a fee on top of that for your time invested. You can become a mystery shopper by looking for opportunities under the previously mentioned “Job Sites”.

Uber and Uber Eats

If you have your own vehicle and an Australian Driver’s licence, you can consider signing up as a Uber or Uber Eats driver, which is the most flexible job you can have during your studies. There are no schedules, you can choose to be on the road at your convenience. The amount you earn depends on your effort and time you are willing to commit.

Uber is a taxi hiring service, where the customers can request for a taxi through their mobile Uber app. Uber Eats is a food delivery service, where customers can request for food delivery through the mobile app from local restaurants and cafes registered with Uber Eats.

Sounds like your kind of work? Find out if:

  1. You meet the requirements of a Uber Driver? Yes?
  2. Your car meets the vehicle requirement? Yes?
  3. You can cover and exceed your expenses? Yes?

Great, sign up!

Uber Driver

Walk-in Interviews

All you need to do is print out around 10 – 20 copies of your resumes, and walk-in to places around your University and hand in your resume. This works really well for cafes and retailing. Some stores have boards outside with vacancies, these are easy invites for you to walk-in. You can also walk-in to other stores and speak to the manager. I have friends who have been able to land the job right away, while other times they have a chat with you and keep your resume for future. Easy enough, but there are few things you need to be mindful.

  • This is an interview, so dress accordingly. You need not be in formal attire but smart casual is preferred.
  • Turn on your positive and chirpy personality. Most are simply judged based on how you communicate and present yourself and less with what’s on the resume.
  • Avoid morning and lunch hour rush; I would recommend between 10.00 am to 11.30 am or 2.30 pm to 4.00 pm.
  • Be polite. If you think the place looks busy, come again another time.
  • Be quick. You do not have an appointment, so be quick and get to the point. Rehearsing what you want to say might help.
  • If you feel shy or scared, go with a friend you feel comfortable. Let the friend pretend to be a customer and hang around.
  • Try this with small local stores. You might not have much luck at large supermarket chains like Coles or Woollies or department stores, because recruitment is done through head offices.
  • (Brutal) rejections are inevitable. Don’t let it dishearten you.

job interviews

Airtasker

This an online outsourcing company based in Sydney. Anyone, from individuals to small companies, can list tasks / jobs they wish to outsource, ranging from cleaning, deliveries, admin / creative work, etc. If you feel you are able to get the job done, you can offer your services. How does this differentiate from other sites? It is a secured service because Airtasker acts as a middleman for the payment. Once the job is assigned to you, Airtasker will hold the payment safely with them and once you complete the job successfully, Airtasker will release the payment after deducting a small service fee.

Networking, LinkedIn and Social Groups

Finding jobs through social media

There is no better way than landing a job that you love and in your field than networking, and what better site to do this than LinkedIn. This social media platform offers more relevant vacancies based on your skills, work experience, endorsements and connections. While this is more a long-term strategy, you will reap its benefits overtime. Maintain a close relationship at an intellectual level with your lecturers and fellow students during semester, and add them on LinkedIn and sustain the relationship.

There are several active Facebook groups that you can join, where members are posting opportunities ranging from casual to full-time jobs. I feel you are able to communicate with the individual to understand the job requirements prior to applying for the positions. Sydney Jobs, Backpacker Jobs Australia, Melbourne Jobs, Jobs in Brisbane are just a few of many popular job groups on Facebook.

Other easy ways to make money

This option is not a solid way to make money but you can make money fast. Yet, you can earn anywhere ranging from $10 – $500 or more per month. These do not count for your 20 hours work restrictions.

  1. Paid participation in University research – This is available at Universities with research faculties. The researchers invite University students to take part in surveys and experiments by paying for their time. You can head over to the University website or speak to University admin to find out where to sign up. You will fill up a form to state your demographics and you just wait for the email requesting your participation. The more you participate, the more invites you receive.
  2. Paid surveys – I am sure the first thing that came to your mind was SCAM! Yes, you need to be mindful of the disingenuous sites. I will share with you two that are legit and pays straight to your account. Pureprofile requests you to participate in random online surveys for cash through mobile app. Any redemption is limited to $70.00 every 60 days. Octopus Survey is similar to Pureprofile’s functionality, however, pays more. You can redeem the balance after you collect at least $20.00 at any given time.

REMEMBER…

  • If you don’t find success in one of the methods, try another or better, a combination.
  • The amount of money you earn is directly correlated to your commitment.
  • Doing part-time / casual jobs that doesn’t directly relate to your field or career growth is frustrating at times – so try to find an enjoyable place of work with amazing colleagues.
  • Working part-time might help with job hunting after graduation, since most employers do appreciate your commitment for working and studying.

Until next time…

The Best University for YOU | International Students

I remember returning home, full of excitement, carrying a bunch of University prospectus from the Education Fair, getting on bed, laying them one next to another, admiring and feeling blessed at the opportunity right in front of me.  What once felt like a wish, is now becoming a reality. I spent days reading though different courses on offer at each University. I was overwhelmed with all the alternatives. On the other hand, isn’t it a “good problem” to have, all the choices for an education? 🙂

Enough said, let’s dive right in to finding the Best University for You!

Selecting a University is the first dilemma for International Students. Keeping in mind being selected to a top-ranked University is not going to be the make or break of your career, it is still a pretty BIG decision given that you are about to invest between A$10,000 to A$50,000 a year for tuition alone. Hence, don’t make a decision that you will regret.

WHAT IS YOUR PRIORITY?

After being through the tedious process myself, I realised that you will not find the perfect fit with any University, but you will be able to narrow the search down to Universities that meet your requirement closely. Firstly, you need to ask yourself why do you want to study overseas?

Academics and Campus Community

students at an Australian university

Each University have fields in which they triumph. Some Universities are known for their research facilities, whilst others lead in specific fields of study. You can refer Top Universities website’s breakdown of University rankings by subject in Australia.

It is a fact that 1 out of 3 graduates are unable to find full-time employment, no matter how prestige the degree one holds. The degree is a merely a basic requirement. Employers are more interested in the candidate’s soft skills and their ability to juggle academics with work and extra circular activities. Do consider what the University offer in terms of student life over and above academics. One of the benchmark student bodies in New South Wales, if not Australia, is ARC @ UNSW. They definitely live by their mission of creating the best student experience.

Permanent Migration

Let’s also address the students who study overseas with the primary intention of permanently migrating after completing their education. For these students, planning ahead is important. If this is your ultimate goal, then be sure to select a field that is valid for migration. In Australia, look if the field of studies fall under the Skilled Occupation List and selected course is a minimum two-year program. I would also recommend you to read our article detailing out on the Temporary Graduate 485 Visa.

TIME TO DO YOUR RESEARCH

Once you have established your goals and courses you wish to pursue, it is time for some research. Most students are quick to settle for the popular option or what is recommended by family without evaluating other factors. Since you are committing to one University for the next 2-4 years (depending on your line of studies); just as any other luxury purchase, , take your time to dig deep in to finding best combination of your requirements.

university open day

Visit open-day

If you have the time and money, I would recommend this to be the most effective way to feel the University and its surrounding environment. You have the opportunity to talk to peers and other students of similar background. Take time to stroll outside the campus to get a feel of the neighbourhood. So keep a tab on the calendar for upcoming open days at the Universities. Do remember, open days are designed to awe you with colourful events, green courtyards, freebies and shiny new buildings. While you enjoy those, take a look at what really matters. Here are some questions you can ask fellow students / faculty members at open day.

  • How long have you been at the University?
  • How do you like the University?
  • Which buildings hold lectures for [insert major]?
  • Are lectures held at off campus locations?
  • What clubs and other activities could I participate?
  • Do they have a/an [insert your interest] society?
  • Is there any flexibility in course section?
  • Are the courses more exam based or assignment based?
  • Do they assist with job placements?
  • Does the University offer support services like counselling, legal aid, etc.?
  • Do you live on or off campus and how are the accommodation options?

If you are unable to attend the open day at the University, remember your country may host representatives from foreign Universities. This is a popular promotional method amongst Universities in developed countries to attract International Students. Although this is not the same as visiting the University, it is still a good place for you to ask questions and clear out any concerns. So keep a tab on these events through local education agencies.

FinancesAustralian currency

It is no secret that International Students are a University’s main revenue stream given how much is spent yearly on tuition. On a general scale, I don’t see a significant variation in course fees between top Universities. In Australia, if you are looking for something in the lower – middle range, expand the search beyond Group of Eight Universities. You will be surprised with the choices and most of these Universities are still recognised by employers.

According to the Australian Government’s Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching 2017 Employer Satisfaction Survey, James Cook University (Australian ranked 21) graduates received the highest percentage of favourable ratings from employers, out ranking all other top universities.

University scholarships are another great method to support you financially. Most Universities want to attract the best and brightest through scholarships. Head over to each University’s website to apply for active scholarships.

You may also consider other options like TAFE Institutes that offer good panel of lecturers and courses at a much affordable rate.

I will be covering more on the topic of finance in a later post, so stay tuned.

Cost of Living

university student accomodation

While on-campus accommodation is costly, there are definitely pros of choosing this option. For now, I am focusing on cheaper but yet comfortable off-campus options. Accessibility is key. Try to find a University within close proximity rather than travelling over an hour to attend lectures. Especially in states like New South Wales, you will spend between $30 to $50 per week for public transport. Travel costs are generally high in New South Wales as it is one of two states that doesn’t offer travel concessions for International Students.

If you are concerned about costs, have a grasp of the living cost in the suburb / state where the University is located. For instance, within New South Wales, the Western suburbs are far more affordable than the Northern and Eastern suburbs.

Find out more about how to find cheap accommodation and everything you need to know on this subject on our other article.

LAST, BUT NOT LEAST...

Start University hunting well in advance. Allow yourself plenty of time to make an informed decision. Otherwise, you will settle with the first University to send an offer. Australia has two in-takes for International Students, February and July. Now is a good time to get started for February 2019 intake.

Share in the comment section, what other factors do you consider important when choosing a University?

Until next time….