At the start of every year, thousands of first-year university students from across Queensland begin their new life in Brisbane. It can feel exciting, overwhelming, and downright confusing – often all at the same time.
So if you’re still staying within the limits of the Sunshine State, how different can it really be?
Turns out, there’s actually some big differences between Brisvegas and your sleepy little home town (despite what our friends down south would say…). Sure, you’ll still be sweating for 9 months of the year and going through endless bottles of sunscreen. But there’ll also be some real changes to get used to.
We’ve picked our five favourite tips and tricks to help you ace your move to Brisbane.
Yes, Brisbane is a proper city.
Perhaps due to friendly interstate rivalry, Brisbane has often been seen as the much smaller sibling of Sydney and Melbourne.
In reality, Brisbane is a seriously big place compared to any other town in Queensland. With over 2.5 million people, Brisbane can offer students absolutely everything they could ever need.
And while there’s so many exciting things on offer, don’t be surprised if you feel a bit overwhelmed at first. It’s completely normal. Take some time to get to know your area, plan some relaxing times outdoors in Brisbane’s beautiful parks, and go at your own pace.
Pack light, and pack right.
Do you currently have 12 jumpers sitting in your ASOS cart? It might be time to scale things back. Winter in Brisbane basically lasts for three days in July. Spend a bit of time getting a feel for your new home before splurging.
Brisbane has a lot of communities who are passionate about upcycling, buying second-hand, and supporting local op-shops. If you’re passionate about being a more environmentally responsible student, then try only packing what you need and reassess everything once you’ve settled in. Not only will you save on space, but you might save money too!
Public transport will take some getting used to…
No, unfortunately you won’t be a master navigator in your first week in Brisbane. With buses, trains, CityCycles, scooters, and ferries on offer, your daily step count might go down at first.
That being said, Brisbane is a very walkable city, and a stroll along the Brisbane River to walk off the entire pizza you just ate is an iconic student experience.
The Translink App should quickly become your best friend, giving you the most accurate public transport options based on your exact location and the time of day or night. Don’t stress if you can’t work everything out straight away. Most people find their public transport groove within a couple of weeks.
Build your own lifestyle
Talk to any Brisbane residents, and you’ll get wildly different answers about how they like spend their time. Luckily, you’ve got every opportunity to choose how to live your life in Brisbane.
Want to spend your weeks studying in the city and your weekends out in nature? Go for it!
Want to become a karaoke and arcade game master? No worries.
Keen to go skiing? Yeah, nah.
With access to almost every single hobby imaginable, it’s easy to find a balance that suits your personality. Take a moment to think about how you want to spend your time, and plan some activities from there. While it can be scary to put yourself out there, it’s important to stay social and meet new people while you’re adjusting to your new home.
Lean on your friends!
Unless you’re from a really tiny town (Cooladdi is Queensland and Australia’s smallest town, by the way – with only three people!), it’s almost a certainty that you know someone making the exact same move to Brisbane for university. Try your best to stay in in touch with these friends, and share your experiences of moving to Brisbane.
While making new friends is an exciting part of city living, it’s also important to talk to people who know what you’re going through. Having an established support network will help you navigate the early challenges that first-year students face.
You might get homesick, and that’s OK.
Remember that homesickness is a very normal part of moving to a new home, and many other students will be experiencing the same feelings. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends and family if you’re missing home.
Our friends at Choose Brisbane have some great tips for dealing with homesickness, though we perhaps disagree with their claim that ice-cream won’t help…