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Living in Australia

Q1: How much is the living cost for one year in Australia?

A: The living cost is different from city to city. The Australian government estimates that the living cost in Australia is around $19,830 per year.

Q2: How can I find accommodation in Australia?

A: There are several ways in finding accommodation in Australia:

i) Homestay: if you want to live with local people, you can choose homestay. ACIC can help students to arrange the homestay.
ii) Campus accommodation: you can also choose on-campus accommodation. You will need to contact the school for information.
iii) Real Estate Agents: there are real estate agents in every suburb. Just walk in and get the information. However, you need to sign a contract with the agent if you want to rent.
iv) Landlords: there are also many places for rent that are offered directly by landlords. This bypasses the middleman but you need to be extra careful about the conditions and people involved.

Q3: What is the transport system in Sydney like?

A: Transport is fairly good in Sydney and consists of a comprehensive train, bus and ferry system across Sydney.  There is also the light rail system, which operates in the city's CBD.

Q4: Can International students get transport discounts?

A: In NSW, international students must pay full fare as student concession discounts are only available to permanent residents and Australian citizens. Your student ID card alone is not valid for student discount travel.

However, you can still save on transport by using Opal card. Once you complete eight paid journeys between Monday and Sunday with an Opal card, your fares for the rest of the week are half-price. In addition, If you travel on more than one mode of transport within a journey, and are travelling with an Adult Opal card, you will get a AU$2 discount for each transfer to a new mode of transport.

Also, some limited discounts do apply to students in South Australia and for some private operators.

Q5: How do I get a driving licence?

A: If you are a student on a temporary student visa, and have no intention of becoming a permanent resident, you can drive in New South Wales with your driver's licence from your home country. Whenever you drive in New South Wales, you should take with you the original licence and a letter (in English) from the licensing authority in your country or the relevant consulate or diplomatic office confirming your licence details and status. You also need to carry your passport and visa with you or a certified copy of these documents.

If you decide to obtain an International Driver's Licence, you will need to organise this in your home country before you come to Australia.

Q6: Do I need Overseas Student Health Cover, (OSHC) health insurance? 

A: Yes. You need it because it is a condition of your student visa. Also, medical treatment in Australia is expensive and if you have an accident or become sick, OSHC can cover many of your expenses. 

Q7: What can I use my OSHC card for?

A: Your OSHC card can cover parts of your doctor or medical expenses. As a new student, you will get the OSHC card from your health insurance provider. After your OSHC card expires, you should renew it every year while you are in Australia. You can renew your health insurance, once you receive your new COE.

Q8: My student visa will expire soon, do I need to do medical check up again?

A : Medical check is valid for one year only. If your last medical check-up is less than 1 year, then it may not be necessary to do it again.
 
Q9: What should I bring for a medical check?

A : You need to bring a Medical Referral letter with your HAP ID, your passport and glasses/contact lenses (if any) you wear. The fee for the medical check (student visa) in Sydney is around AU$305. You should make an appointment with BUPA Medical Visa Serices and the medical report will be sent to DIBP. Should you have any difficulties, ACIC can help you arrange on your behalf.

Q10: When I change my address or go home for vacations, who do I tell?

A: As an international student, each time you change your residential address in you must inform:

  • International Office and the Student Centre
  • Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs
  • your OSHC (health insurance) provider
  • your Education Consultant (if relevant)
  • the Post Office, if you would like to forward any mail arriving at the old address to your new address (for a small charge)
  • your bank, telephone, electricity and gas company

The University will send all correspondence, including exam results and the re-enrolment package to your semester mailing address. If you plan to return to your home country for the vacations, you will need to fill in a Change of Address form at the International Office.

For ACIC students, there is a free mailing service in that you can opt to have your mail sent to ACIC. This is useful when you are yet to have a permanent address. ACIC will collect and distribute the mail for you so you avoid the risk of losing important mail.