The social life of post graduates comes down to two student types – the well-to-do happy-go-lucky types and the ones who have to work hard to make it big. The first types are the rich, financially secure students whose course fees and other expenses are looked after by their elite parents. The second group are middle-class students who have no choice but to work hard to ensure they can pay their fees and other expenses like rent, food, travelling, etc.
I will refer to the first group as the “A” type and the second group as the “B” type.
The A type won’t feel the need of working during the course of their studies; they will have plenty of opportunities to go site-seeing and see new places. They would also be partying, clubbing or hanging out over the weekend and whenever they can find time. The B type will be working during the weekend or when they have no classes, depending on the agreement with their employer. Basically, students are allowed to work 20 hours a week or 40 hours over a fortnight.
The B types won’t have much opportunities for holidays and partying due to their tight financial constraints.
With plenty of Indian grocery shops all around the place, cooking desi khana is not a problem. There’s also Chinese, Malaysian, Thai, Japanese, Italian, Mediterranean and all types of restaurants here, so one gets a real taste of international cuisine. But a typical meal out for students would mostly be at fast food joints like McDonalds, KFC and Hungry Jacks…Going to diners, restaurants is less common as meals over there tend to be on the higher side. Typical meal would include French fries, a burger and a drink.
Accommodation: A-types will stay close to their campuses where the rent is on the higher side. Some live in studio apartments. B-types will stay as paying guests with some families or with a group of other students, but the good thing here is that each one gets his or her own room, unlike our Indian cities where 3,4,5, and more may be sharing one room.
Being in a foreign country, everyone has no choice but to make friends. It’s a way of showing solidarity. Indians tend to stick around with Indians (the home is where the heart is!) But you do have friends among other nationalities. In fact, I had friends from Israel, China, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. In general, locals are very friendly and outgoing though it is not uncommon to come across a racist now and then. Be careful!
There are quite a lot of Indian students at my university. My friends were – Raj, Pankaj, Zeeshan, Peter, Ilan, Chirag, Sameer, etc Conversations would start in the classroom – before and after lectures, or during break. We would sit and chat in the common areas the lobby, library, or the café. We would talk about everything from lectures, assignments, exams to work, hanging out.
More serious matters like life in India as compared to the one in Australia, about girls, and the most important issue is always about getting permanent residency. After having spent thousands of dollars, obviously everyone wants to stay here and have a good life with a good income.
Due to work commitments, its hard to hang out very often, but we still found time to hang out like say once in two weeks.
Developing relationships with locals is rare, but I know of a friend of mine who was in a relationship with a girl he had met working as a bartender. Indians, more often than not, tend to get friendly with other Indian students. And yes, the A-types are more likely to have boyfriends/girlfriends. B-types may have to stick to work commitments. Government support to Indian students is minimal. Students have to buy full-fare tickets, pay the full tax rate and they also have to arrange for their own medical insurance.
There are quite a few Indian students who are popular. Some of them are leaders of various activity groups at university like the toast-masters group, the mentor program, student group, etc.