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Your first week in Australia
These handy tips will help you get set up and settle into your new life in Australia as an international student.
Set up your Unique Student Identifier
If you are planning to study at university in Australia, attend TAFE or do any other nationally recognised training, you will need a Unique Student Identifier (USI). Without a USI, you will not be able to get your qualification or statement of attainment.
You can only create a USI after you have arrived in Australia and cleared customs using your non-Australian passport and Australian visa as forms of ID. Once you have both documents, you can create your USI online by following the step-by-step instructions on the website.
You should obtain your USI as soon as possible after arriving in Australia, so that you can provide it to your education or training provider.
For more information, visit usi.gov.au.
Set up your phone
If you’re bringing an unlocked phone to Australia, you can choose between a prepaid service or a SIM only plan.
Pre-paid SIM cards are sold in many shops and supermarkets as well as mobile phone provider stores. You can top up your prepaid service online or at a range of retail outlets.
If your phone is locked to your provider back home, you may need to buy a new phone in Australia. Most providers will allow you to pay off your phone as part of your monthly contract. Your contract will also include a set allowance for calls, text messages and data.
Open a bank account
To open a bank account, visit a branch of a bank in Australia and let them know you are an international student wanting to open an account.
To open an account, you will need:
- electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE)
- passport, and
- proof of your address in Australia (such as a phone bill or lease agreement).
It’s recommended that you get a Tax File Number (TFN) and submit it to the bank as well. You don’t need it to open your account, but without one, you will be taxed at a higher rate. You can find information about getting a TFN at the Australian Tax Office website.
Inform your education provider of your address
As per visa condition 8533, you are required to inform your education provider of your residential address within seven (7) days of arriving in Australia. Find out more about accommodation in Australia.
Get familiar with your campus
You might like to visit your new campus before you start classes to get to know your best travel route and navigate the campus.
Many education providers will have an Orientation Week (also known as ‘O-Week’) which usually takes place the week before classes start. It’s a great opportunity to make friends, meet staff members and get to know your campus.
Your education provider should have O-Week details on their website where you can choose from different information sessions, campus tours and social events.
Each state or territory in Australia has its own public transport network. It’s a good idea to visit the transport network website for your location and research ticketing systems, pricing, timetables and how to plan your journey from one location to another.
- Canberra: Transport Canberra
- Brisbane: Translink
- Perth: Transperth
- Sydney: Transport NSW
- Adelaide: Adelaide Metro
- Melbourne: Public Transport Victoria
- Darwin: NT Department of Transport
- Hobart: Metro Tasmania
- Other cities and regions: If your area isn’t included on one of the above networks, search online for public transport options in your city or town.
Most of these sites also have helpful apps that you can download to your phone.
As a student, you may be eligible to receive a discount on public transport. It will depend on which state you are living in and what type of course you are studying. You can find out more information from your education provider.
You can usually hail a cab or find a taxi rank in busy areas of major cities. Otherwise, you can search online for a local taxi company and book over the phone.
You can also use ride-sharing services like Uber and DiDi by downloading the app to your phone. Ride-shares are usually cheaper than taxis.
Riding a bicycle
Getting around by bicycle (bike) is a great way to save money and to stay fit!
You can buy a new bike at a store or a second hand one online through websites and apps such as Facebook Marketplace.
Cycling laws are different in each state, however, the following laws apply all over Australia.
- wear a helmet
- have a reflector on both the front and back of your bike and have a bell
- follow the same road rules as drivers
- ride no more than two people side-by-side.
Make sure you research the cycling rules for your state or territory to avoid any accidents or fines.
Most Australian states and territories (the exception being the Northern Territory) allow student visa holders to drive with their overseas licence as long as it is current. When driving, you must carry your overseas licence with you at all times together with either an international driving permit or an accredited English translation if your licence is not written in English. It’s a good idea to check the licencing rules in your in your state or territory to avoid a fine.
It’s also important to familarise yourself with Australian road rules so that you can keep yourself and your passengers safe.
Explore your new home
Finally have fun exploring and getting to know your new location in Australia. There are so many adventures to be had in your new home!