Studying overseas is an exciting adventure, and the experiences you have while living in Australia will stay with you for your lifetime. To begin with, you may find it challenging and it will take time to adjust to your new life. You may experience difficulties in cultural, social or academic areas; and find that the values and customs of your home country are very different to those in Australia. Remember that you are not alone and that there is always help available to assist you to settle in.


Quick facts

  • Australia’s currency is the Australian dollar ($)
  • A dollar equals 100 cents
  • Our coins are 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent, $1 and $2
  • Our notes are $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100
  • Do not travel with large amounts of cash
  • If you bring more than AU$10,000 in cash into Australia you must declare it on the travel information form issued to you on the plane
  • You can pre-open a bank account.


Australian Academic Year
Many courses have start dates in either Semester 1 (February – March) or Semester 2 (May – July) and there is often an orientation week for new students prior to the course commencement. The class timetable follows the school holiday calendar with a two week break in March / April, June/ July, September / October and a long summer holiday from December through to February.


Time Zones
There are three different time zones that stretch across this vast country. Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST (UTC +10)) covers New South Wales (NSW), Queensland (QLD), Victoria (VIC), the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Tasmania (TAS). Australian Central Standard Time (ACST (UTC +9.5)) covers South Australia (SA) and the Northern Territory (NT). Australian Western Standard Time (AWST (UTC +8)) covers Australia’s largest state, Western Australia (WA). Daylight saving (moving clocks forward one hour) occurs during summer months (Oct – Apr) in the ACT, SA, NSW, TAS and VIC.


Money Matters
Australian currency uses the decimal system of dollar and cents. The Australian dollar ($) is a national currency and accepted across all states and territories. If you plan to transfer funds to Australia then make sure to take notice of exchange rates and any associated fees.

  • ATMs
    Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are located everywhere, including at the airport. You can immediately withdraw cash from your overseas bank account at ATMs displaying the Cirrus Logo if your ATM card has international access. Check this with your financial institution before leaving home.
  • Credit cards
    All major international credit cards are accepted in Australia but often repayments to these cards can only be made in the country where they were issued. Do not rely on being able to get a credit card once you arrive in Australia because this is very difficult due to credit and identification laws.
  • Electronic transfer
    You can transfer money into Australia by electronic telegraph or telegraphic transfer at any time. This is a fast option and will take approximately 48 hours, but the bank will charge a fee on every transaction. You are able to pre-open a bank account before you arrive.
  • Initial Expenses
    Here is an example of some of the set up costs you might encounter when you come to Australia.


Bringing Family to Australia
If you are intending to bring school aged children with you to Australia, they must go to school full time if aged between 5-18.  You will be required to pay school fees for your children, approximately $4160 per year at primary school and $5160 per year at secondary school.  There will also be Visa requirements for your family members.  Visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website here or the Study Australia website here for more information.


Working in Australia
International students in Australia, on a valid student visa, can work for up to 20 hours per week (Monday to Sunday) while school is in session. There is no limit on the number of hours an international student can work during recognised school vacations or holiday periods.  Students are not allowed to begin working until after their course(s) have begun.

The 20-hour-per-week limit does not extend to any work the student is required to undertake as a component of his or her studies or training. Volunteer and unpaid work, however, does count towards the 20 hours. If an international student works more than the Australian restrictions allow, his or her visa may be cancelled. More info

Family members (spouses and children) accompanying the international student under their student visa have the same work rights as the student – 20 hours per week. Unlike the students, family members may not exceed 20 hours per week, even during holidays. For those students obtaining a graduate degree, like a masters degree, their family can work unlimited hours. Like students, family members are not allowed to work until after the student has started his or her course.


Eating Out
Australia is a multicultural nation, and nowhere is this more obvious than in our food culture. The nation is home to a great many nationalities, which, luckily for us, show off their national talents through the delicious form of food.

Deciding where to eat out can be tough, with almost every international taste catered for. You should have no trouble finding a travel favourite or food from back home. Major cities tend to have different cuisines cluster together in areas.

There are also plenty of great options to suit the student budget. Chinatowns and local pubs are often a good bet, offering cheap lunch deals and dinner specials. Serving both food and alcohol, pubs are the great location to bridge the gap between eating out and staying out, and Australian cities are known for their huge amount of pubs.


Cost of Living
DIBP asks you to show that you have $18,610 a year for your living expenses. If you are coming with family members, for DIBP purposes you must show an extra $6515 a year for a spouse, $3720 for a first child and $2790 for each additional child. DIBP advises you that you need an extra $8000 a year for children between five and 18 to cover schooling expenses.  Visit:


What to Bring

  • Your Hand Luggage
    Your hand luggage should include a document folder; plane ticket; valuables like laptops, camera; and any necessary medicine for an existing complaint.There are security regulations about carrying liquids, aerosols or gels in your hand luggage. Read information at:
  • Clothing
    On most campuses, students usually dress informally. Jeans or pants with t-shirts or blouses, sneakers or “running shoes” are standard dress. Shorts are often worn during the summer months and sandals are the most common footwear. Men and women commonly wear shorts and sleeveless t-shirts in summer.A nice jacket or suit and tie for men and appropriate dress for women is necessary for some functions such as formal dinners, a graduation ceremony, etc.For festive occasions, you may want to bring traditional dress and accessories.Other Items you might need to include.



Adjusting to life in Australia
Here is some additional advice that may assist you in adjusting to life in Australia

Pre- Departure Checklist 

For More Information, select a city