Five skills to learn before you move out of home

An international student’s guide to adulting

From budgeting to bulk cooking, these are the things that will make the transition as seamless as possible.

Your luggage is checked-in and your family bid you a teary farewell. The minute you step out of your home, you enter a new chapter in your life: a chapter with a range of different challenges.  

Moving away from home can be daunting, and you can never really be prepared for an ‘adult’ life until you live through it. However, there are some skills I wish I had learnt before I moved to a different continent.  

Meal Prepping 

As an international student living off-campus, I cook most of my meals. Even though I am proficient in the basics of cooking, I was terrible at planning and prepping. Studying full-time along with part-time work makes for an exhausting schedule, and it can often lead to irregular and inconsistent eating habits. After three years of experiencing the uni hustle, I have mastered the skill of meal planning. Buying groceries for the week, planning each meal beforehand, cooking a couple of dishes, and freezing them can be a super lifesaver. Some of my go-to quick, easy and cheap meals are pasta, salads, hummus and pita bread, smoothies, tacos, veggie fries and one-pot chicken rice.  


As you transition from a high school student to a uni student, you become more financially independent. It is good practice to monitor the flow of your funds and to keep a check on your expenses. Budgeting was personally difficult for me as I had just come from a country with a different currency. It took me a while to understand the difference between ‘cheap’ and ‘expensive’ in Australian currency, but it felt liberating to be responsible for all my finances once I did. My budgeting technique is simple. I divide my fortnightly pay into rent, other bills and subscriptions, groceries, and a small amount for unplanned expenses, with the remaining amount set aside for my savings account. Sticking to this budget plan has helped me regulate my finances in an organised way.  


Cleaning is the most underrated skill you’re expected to learn. While you may think it is something you naturally possess, not everyone knows the best way to clean different areas. Cleaning the fridge is different to cleaning windows, and it is handy to know the tips and tricks for each area. A cleaning trick I learnt is that a bit of baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar can do wonders. It is the most cost-effective solution for cleaning hard surfaces. Students are expected to clean after themselves, especially if they share their living space with other students, as it’s a sign of basic courtesy and respect. 

Changing a tyre  

Changing a tyre is a skill that might come in handy when you least expect it. I was once driving home from Sydney late at night with a friend, and we got a flat. It could have turned into quite a scary experience if my friend had not known how to change a tyre. It was a skill that I never even thought of learning, but it is something that I now recommend to every young person leaving home. The best way to learn how to change a tyre is to do it. Ask your parents, friends or other people with experience to show you how to go about it. It is also essential to have the required tools and a spare tyre in your boot.   


I always considered sewing a hobby and never realised how essential it was until I started living alone. It can be expensive to take your clothes to a tailor every time there is a tear or you lose a button. You can easily repair clothes at home, providing you know some basic sewing techniques. Keep a sewing kit at home stocked with needles, black and white threads, scissors and buttons.

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