Preparing for your studies in Australia
You’ve booked your flights, enrolled in your course and applied for a student visa, so what’s next? There are still a number of things to organise before you arrive in Australia that you may not have considered. To help you out, we’ve put together a checklist of tasks you’ll need to complete before you leave your home country.
Research your chosen city and local area
It’s a good idea to research the city where you will be living and studying — this includes finding information about the facilities near your home or campus, such as banks, shopping centres and hospitals; public transport options (including ticketing systems and the location of pick-up and drop-off stops and stations); living costs; and the local climate. It also helps to read about Australia in general, including Australian culture and lifestyle, and places or attractions you may like to visit — even how to speak the Aussie way. See Living in Australia, Australia’s regions and Aussie slang for more information.
Organise your accommodation
If you haven’t organised your accommodation, now is the time to do so. There are different types of accommodation available depending on your needs and budget. These include homestay, university accommodation (in the form of residential colleges, halls of residence and apartments), hostels and guesthouses, and private rentals. See Accommodation for more information, including average costs. You can also contact your institution’s accommodation service for help and advice.
Take note of key dates for orientation activities
Your institution will run a number of events at the start of the year to help students ease into their studies, such as an orientation week (commonly known as ‘O-Week’) and sessions that help you pick your subjects. These events provide a great opportunity to ask questions and sort out administrative matters, as well as a chance to meet some of your future classmates. It’s important to make sure you arrive in Australia in time to attend these sessions — most institutions run orientation activities around one or two weeks before the start of semester. You can also take some time to look through your institution’s academic calendar (usually found on the website), which will give you an indication of assessment periods and semester breaks so that you can plan holiday trips to see Australia or visit family back home.
Have all your important documents ready
Before you leave you’ll need to make sure you have all the required documents for your stay. This will include your passport (with an expiry date of at least six months after you finish your studies), airline tickets, your student visa, your offer letter and Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE), up-to-date academic transcripts (if required by your institution), medical records and personal references. Check with your institution to be sure you are applying the documents they need, as requirements vary. You should also exchange enough money to cover initial expenses in the first few days. See Banking in Australia for help with setting up an Australian bank account.
Make sure you understand Australian quarantine laws
Australia has strict quarantine laws to protect the agricultural industry and environment, so it is very important that you know what you can and can’t bring into the country. Prohibited items include food, plant material and animal products. There are also some items that need to be declared if you are bringing them into Australia. This rule also applies if you are bringing cash into Australia, with amounts above AUD$10,000 needing to be declared. You may be fined if you do not follow quarantine laws or fail to declare certain items.
Let your institution know when you’re arriving
Many institutions offer free airport pick-up or other services for international students, so it’s a good idea to contact them before you leave to confirm your arrival. We also advise that you confirm your accommodation arrangements. Your institution may also be able to help with these matters and will be able to advise you about other tasks you’ll need to complete before you leave home, as well as once you arrive in Australia.