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Moving to a new country as an international student can involve a lot of planning. From organising visa applications and choosing where to live, to simply figuring out what to bring with you on the plane, it’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed about your upcoming adventure.

Luckily, there are plenty of international students who have already done what you’re about to do - and Bell Mutua is one of them.

Bell moved to Melbourne from Kenya to pursue Business Administration at Holmesglen, and as a graduate, continues living and working in Australia.

We asked Bell all about his move to Melbourne and his advice for others about to undertake this journey.


Choosing Melbourne and Holmesglen

Bell was drawn to Victoria’s capital city for its diversity and its global recognition.

“I chose Melbourne because it is a cosmopolitan city. From my research, I discovered that over 140 cultures are represented in Melbourne, which means it has a welcoming environment for people from all over the world,” he explains. “Plus, Melbourne was ranked the most liveable city in the world!”

When it came to choosing an education provider, Bell made sure to do his research before making any decisions. He read and listened to testimonials of former students, and looked into Holmesglen’s facilities to gain an understanding of the study environment.

On arrival at Holmesglen, Bell was pleased to find it not only met, but exceeded all of his expectations.

“I felt supported by the staff and teachers and the way the entire study structure is designed. It is accommodative and actually gave me some sense of belonging,” Bell shares. “My wellbeing was important to the institution and I'm glad Holmesglen has a Student Wellbeing department equipped with counsellors that always supported students in their time of need.”


Preparing for your arrival in Australia

When Bell began preparing for his journey to Melbourne, he took an organised approach, gathering all of the important documents he would need and separating those he needed on his person on the plane.

“On the plane, I brought my passport, a hard copy of my Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) and also a hard copy of my visa,” he lists. “The documents that I packed were my drivers licence and work reference from my employer because I knew I would need them later, when adjusting to life in Melbourne.”

As Australia is strict on the types of foods and materials brought into the country, Bell also made sure to read the Australian Border Force website before arriving to make sure that he did not accidentally pack anything that wasn’t allowed into the country.

Bell believes that a little planning can make your journey to Australia a lot easier and encourages future international students to prepare a checklist of things to bring.


Arriving in Melbourne

When Bell arrived in Melbourne for the first time, he was excited to discover that everything he had read about the city was true.

“I found it amazing that all my research about Melbourne was real, and I was experiencing all of that in reality,” he enthuses. “For example, Melbourne’s advanced technological infrastructure.”

While Bell was excited to be in Melbourne, there were still some aspects of the city that took some getting used to.

“It was a bit overwhelming at first, particularly adapting to the weather, culture shock and public transport systems,” he explains. “The climate in Kenya is completely different and coping with winter was a bit challenging as it does not get as cold in Kenya as it does here.”

But it didn’t take long for Bell to start feeling at home in his new city. 

“I had the opportunity to meet fellow students thanks to Holmesglen social platforms such as Holmesglen Community, and I was able to join clubs that are aligned to my interests such as soccer and cricket clubs,” he shares.


Bell’s tips for your first month in Melbourne

Bell suggests that future international students bring along a few important documents to help their first month in Melbourne go smoothly. These documents include:

  • Your international driving licence (if you’re planning to drive in Australia)
  • Written references from previous employers (to help you find a job)
  • Written references from real estate agencies or property managers (to help you find a rental property)

“I would also suggest getting a tax file number and opening an Australian bank account since these are some of the basic things you will need to find employment,” Bell shares.


Plans for the future

Bell is focusing on gaining enough experience to start his own business, and Holmesglen was the perfect stepping stone to getting him there.

“I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur and that’s why I chose to pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration,” he shares. “So that I can gain knowledge and a better understanding of running my own business in future.”


Are you an international student who wants to share your Holmesglen story? Email us on