Living and studying in Australia

students showing thumbs up at school

Living and studying in Australia

Up-to-date and authoritative information on living and studying in Australia is available at the following web sites:

living and studying in Australia

wages, housing, health and more useful information

public transport

legal assistance


NSW State Library

Macquarie Street, Sydney

Phone: 9273-1414

Opening Hours:  Mon to Thurs 9 am ~ 8 pm; Fri 9 am ~ 5 pm; Sat to Sun 10 am ~ 5 pm



Sydney University Sports & Aquatic Centre, Darlington Road, Darlington, NSW

Phone: 9958 5799;

Opening Hours: 5:30 am ~ 10 pm


Post office

General Post office

44 Market Street Sydney NSW 2000

Phone: 13 13 18

Opening Hours: Mon to Fri 9 am ~ 5 pm


Relevant legislation and information


Our staff members are always ready to help you with any sort of problem. Please feel free to talk to your Teacher or any other staff member. The College also has a list of local organisations that can help you. You can also contact the following groups for help.


Emergency (Police/Fire/Ambulance) 000
Non-emergency (Police Assistance Line) 131 450
Telephone Interpreter Service 131 450
Lifeline (crisis support) 131 114
Alcohol and Drug Information Service 9361 800
Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counseling Service 1800 737 732
International Student Legal Advice 9698 7645
Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) 131 881
NSW Transport Information (Bus/Train/Ferry) 131 500
Taxis Combined 133 300
NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service 9816 0347
Family Planning (for pregnancies) 8752 4300
Sydney Sexual Health Centre (for sexually transmitted diseases) 9382 7440
Mental Health Service 1300 300 180
St Vincent’s Hospital 8382 1111
Complaints or problems
CRICOS Legislation and regulation
Protection of student fees
CRICOS registration
Study Information


There may be additional, course-specific, legislation that is relevant. Information about this legislation will be communicated during the course.

Up-to-date and more detailed information about overseas students studying and living in Australia is available at the following website: This website is established and maintained by the Australian government


Australia is a land of contrasts: sweeping golden beaches, coral reefs rich with marine life, tropical rainforests, mountain ranges, vast grazing lands and sparse deserts.

One of the oldest continents, Australia is the only country to occupy an entire continent.

Surrounded by the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Australia has many animals and plants, which are unique on the planet. The surface geology is typically old and flat with a major mountain range stretching down the eastern coast and another mountain range in the north west of the continent.


Sydney is the largest city in Australia with a population of almost five million people. Sydney is the capital city of New South Wales. It is a multicultural city with people from different ethnic backgrounds. IESC is located in the heart of city. It’s just a short walk from the train station or bus stop.

The Study in Sydney website is a useful source of information. The web site address is

A Good Choice for Study

There are more than 50,000 overseas students studying in Australia and each year approximately 15,000 students from the Asia Pacific region arrive in Australia to continue their education. They have chosen Australia for several reasons:

  • Australia has a high quality education system, the equal of any country in the world
  • Australia offers traditional education in reputable schools, institutes, colleges and universities
  • Awards from Australian institutions of higher education are recognised internationally
  • Australian schools, institutes, colleges and universities have established networks of welfare and support to help overseas students
  • The Australian education system includes informality and accessibility of academic staff, the availability of computers, small group tutorials and close supervision
  • Living costs and tuition costs compare well with other countries and most overseas students are permitted to work part-time.
  • Australia is a safe, stable country with a pleasant climate.


Sydney enjoys a temperate climate with four distinct seasons in the year – spring, summer, winter and autumn. Below is a guide to the average daily temperatures.

Spring              September – November 12-22 degrees

Summer            December to February 28-32 degrees

Autumn             March to May 12 – 20 degrees

Winter               June to August 10 – 15 degrees

Sports and other outdoor activities are possible at all times of the year.


Australian contemporary arts reflect the world’s oldest continuous cultural traditions and also a diverse, multicultural society. Our visual and performing arts communities receive international acclaim for their vibrancy, originality and cutting-edge work in the arts, literature, stage and cinema, dance, classical music and contemporary Australian rock music.

The National Museum of Australia opened as part of Australia’s Centenary of Federation celebrations in 2001. It is co-located with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies in the nation’s capital city of Canberra and adds to more than 1000 museums throughout Australia.


More than 100 ethnic groups are represented in Australia, making Australia one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Australia’s dynamic multiculturalism can be attributed to its unique combination of Indigenous cultures, early European settlement and immigration from all parts of the world.

Australians value the wealth of cultural diversity and social sophistication that international students bring to our campuses and our communities. We take great care in looking after international students and helping them to adjust to the Australian way of life. International students also gain great benefits from their education in Australia and make lifelong friendships.


Although English is the official language, a host of other languages are spoken in Australia. As one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world many Australians are naturally fluent in other languages. More than 2.4 million Australians speak a language other than English at home. Within the education and training system about 15 per cent of those of working age studying for an educational qualification have English as a second language. More than 800,000 Australians speak a European Union language, apart from English, in the home. Another 800,000 Australians speak an Asian language in the home.

In Australia not only is there the opportunity to improve your English through specialist study in an English-speaking environment but all sectors of Australian education and training provide tuition in many other languages as well.

English as it is spoken in Australia is very easily understood by nearly all people from other English-speaking nations. While there are some minor differences in accent between the cities and country areas the difference is much less than you will find in America, Britain and Canada where French is also spoken. As you improve your English in Australia you will learn some of our slang, and have much fun explaining the meanings to your friends and relatives at home.


While Australia is predominantly a Christian country, all religions are represented in our multicultural society. Australians respect the freedom of people to practise their choice of religion. Churches, mosques, temples and synagogues are located in most major cities. Some universities have their own spiritual groups on campus.

Clean, safe, cosmopolitan

Students from all over the world come to Australia to take advantage of our world-class education and enjoy our friendly hospitality and cultural diversity. Australia has low crime rates and strict gun control laws providing a safe environment in which to learn and travel. With one of the highest standards of living in the world, Australia offers modern transport systems, convenient telecommunications, cosmopolitan shopping complexes and excellent health services.

Visitors from many parts of the world are attracted by Australia’s spectacular natural environment and the distinctive personality and friendliness of the Australian people. Australia is rich in the arts and is keen to preserve and display its diverse cultural heritage.

Australians are also environmentally conscious and keen to preserve the country’s natural beauty and scenery. Our ‘Clean Up Australia’ campaign is being adopted worldwide.

Health care

Australia has a very good health care system. All Australians pay a Medicare levy (additional tax) to fund the public health system and ensure everyone gets access to public system doctors, hospitals and other health care services. People who pay extra into a private health insurance fund receive certain privileges when they use private health care services. International students studying in Australia are required to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the duration of their student visa.


Australia has a fantastic variety of food. Our top quality meat, fish, fruits and vegetables are exported to markets all around the globe. There is a large range of fruit and vegetables available at Australian produce markets. You should have no difficulty in finding the foods that you are used to at home.

You can sample almost every type of cuisine available throughout the world in our many restaurants. There are elegant restaurants or typical Aussie pubs. Ethnic restaurants offer cuisines from all around the world. Good food at reasonable prices can be found at bistros or cafes. And for those who like takeaway, most of the major global fast food chains are well represented. The adventurous can try some of our ‘bush tucker’.


The electrical current in Australia is 240/250 volts AC, 50 cycles. The Australian three-pin plug is extremely safe. Adaptors are usually required for most foreign appliances. A transformer may be required if you bring an appliance from overseas that operates on a different voltage.


With one of the highest standards of living in the world, Australia offers modern transport systems. Australia has an extensive public transport system that includes trains, buses, tramways, ferries, two major national airlines and a number of regional airlines. Metropolitan areas are divided into zones and your ticket type and cost depends on which zone you are going to travel in and for how long. Tickets can be bought at train stations, on buses and trams and at newsagencies.

Tourist students may drive in Australia on a valid overseas drivers licence but if the document is not in the English language the visitor must carry a translation with the permit. An international driving licence is not sufficient by itself.

Metered taxicabs operate in all major cities and towns. You will find taxi ranks at transport terminals, main hotels or shopping centres or you can hail taxis in the street. A light and sign on the roof indicates if a cab is vacant. There is a minimum charge on hiring and then a charge per kilometre travelled. Taxi drivers do not have to be tipped.


Australia has a modern telecommunications system with mobile and internet access generally available at low cost. Public telephones are available at all Post Offices, shopping centres and are often situated on street corners. Public pay phones accept a variety of coins and Phone cards. Phone cards are pre-paid for use in public pay phones and can be bought at a large number of retail outlets in denominations of $A5, $A10, $A20 and $A50. Credit phones take most major credit cards such as American Express, Visa, Master card and Diners International and can be found at international and domestic airports, central city locations and hotels.

Mobile phones are very popular and can be purchased from a number of retailers.

Sports and recreation

Australians are very keen on sport and outdoor activities and have gained a worldwide reputation, both as individuals and as teams. Hosting the Year 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney highlights Australia as a leading destination for international events.

Australia has more than 120 national sporting organisations and thousands of state, regional and club bodies. It is estimated that 6.5 million people, about a third of the population, are registered sports participants. While there are over 120 sporting organisations, Australians also take part in bushwalking, fishing, boating and water sports.


Campuses offer spacious surroundings suitable for social, sporting and other outdoor activities. They are also centrally located for students to experience the sophistication of our cities and excitement of our entertainment facilities. There are plenty of opportunities for international students to have an enjoyable time with friends.


During semester breaks, you may like to venture beyond the capital cities to experience more of Australia’s spectacular natural environment and great physical beauty—national parks, The Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu, Uluru and the Tasmanian Wilderness.

Australia welcomes overseas students

Overseas students are welcomed in Australia because they:

  • contribute to the development of people and institutions both in their home country and in Australia.
  • contribute to the Australia’s research capability
  • develop cultural, educational and economic links between Australians and people of other nations.

Australia has a long history of involvement in international education development, staff and student exchange programs and scholarships.

Study Methods

In Australia, much emphasis is placed upon private (individual) study along the lines of assignments, on research and learning to analyse data and present arguments about subject matter, and on being willing to defend one’s argument. All these involve heavy use of libraries, intensive note taking in lectures, and active participation in the learning process (as opposed to passive listening and rote learning).

To be a successful student in Australia, you will need to adapt to these methods of learning, but most education institutions in Australia are very willing to help as they offer counselling services and assistance to develop effective study skills. Our teachers have vast experience teaching English to overseas students, they understand the difficulties in getting used to different study methods and they will be patient in helping you to develop new skills.

Up-to-date and more detailed information money and banking in Australia is available at the following website This website is established and maintained by the Australian government

Money and banks

Australian currency is the only legal tender in Australia. When you first arrive, money from other countries can be changed at the exchange facilities located at international airports, banks and major hotels. Traveller’s cheques are easier to use if already in Australian dollars, however, banks will cash travellers cheques in virtually any currency. Major hotels and some shops will cash traveller cheques, depending on individual store policy.

It is a good idea to set up an Australian bank account. You will need to provide your visa and evidence of residency. Banking services in Australia are extremely competitive. Over 20 local and numerous international banking groups are represented in Australia. All major banks have a branch in cities and regional centres. Most shopping centres have Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) facilities. These machines can be used for deposits and, in many instances, withdrawals 24 hours a day. Many department stores, supermarkets and specialist shops have electronic transfer terminals (EFTPOS) where cash withdrawals can also be made in addition to purchasing goods. More information on banking is available at Study in Australia

Normal bank trading hours

9.30 am – 4.00 pm Monday to Thursday

9.30 am – 5.00 pm Friday

Some banks are open Saturday mornings

Credit cards

Credit cards are widely accepted around Australia. The most commonly accepted credit cards are American Express, Bankcard, Diners International, Mastercard, Visa and their affiliates.


Australia uses a dollars and cents system of decimal currency with 100 cents in a dollar. The bank notes in use are $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Coins used are the silver-coloured 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent and 50 cent and the gold-coloured $1 and $2 coins.


Tipping is not the general custom in Australia and service charges are not added to accounts by hotels and restaurants. In better-class restaurants, it is usual to tip food and drink waiters up to 10 per cent of the bill for good service.

Porters have set charges at railway terminals, but not at hotels. However, at any time, tipping is a matter of individual choice.


You should work out a budget covering accommodation, food, transport, clothing and entertainment. Childcare, if applicable, should also be taken into account.

The average international student in Australia spends about $360 per week on accommodation, food, clothing, entertainment, transport, international and domestic travel, telephone and incidental costs. School students in Australia typically spend a little less – about $265 a week – on accommodation and food, entertainment, transport and associated items. While this is a realistic guide, it is important to remember that individual circumstances will vary by location, course and lifestyle.


The following types of accommodation are available for International students:-

  1. Full Board (Homestay) AU$200 – AU$270 per week
  2. Student house AU$150 – AU$200 per week
  3. Half – Board AU$150 – AU$200 per week (plus expenses).
  4. Leasing a House/Flat AU$200 – AU$350 per week (unfurnished)

This accommodation can be booked prior to arrival. Two weeks advance notice is required before you depart for Australia. Further details can be obtained from the Student Services & Administration Manager.

Some useful internet sites for housing are:

Study in Australia Accommodation Options and Costs


Australia has efficient public transport systems (buses, trains and trams) in all cities as well as efficient interstate and overseas air services. Students using public transport can apply for a student concession card that entitles them to discounted fares.

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

International students are required by the Government to join a private health insurance scheme. The OSHC premium cover must be paid before a student visa is issued. You will need to pay the OSHC premium at the same time as the tuition fees. The OSHC entitles you to free hospital cover and 85% of standard doctor’s fees.

OSHC is also charged on a pro-rata basis for shorter courses.

Cost of Living

Sydney is a reasonably priced city providing good quality affordable living and abundant accommodation. Students will need about A$18,610 per year (excluding tuition) to cover living expenses. According to the Government Website, Study in Australia, Australia is a sophisticated, friendly and affordable country which enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world. The average international student in Australia spends about $360 per week which may include items such as accommodation, food, clothing, entertainment, transport, telephone and incidental costs.

The cost of living depends a lot on the kind of accommodation a student chooses. A married student with dependents will need approximately an additional A$4,000 per year for each dependent.

The lifestyle in Australia is safe and friendly. Australians have a high standard of living. The climate is pleasant, there is plenty of food and the vast natural resources in Australia enable most people to live well.

Fruit, vegetables and meat are available fresh and at reasonable prices. Clothing and personal effects are usually of good quality and available at a wide variety of prices.

Below is a price table of typical daily items. This is only a guide. Remember that you can shop around for items such as clothing and shoes to find a cheaper source.


Personal Effects/Services

Milk 1 litre $1.80 Shoes 1 pair $70.00
Bread 1 loaf $2.50 Jeans 1 pair $80.00
Apples 1 kg $4.00 Toothpaste 140g $2.50
Potatoes 1 kg $1.00 Shampoo 500ml $3.00
Beefsteak 1 kg $15.00 T-shirt $20.00
Eggs 1 dozen $4.00 Hairdresser $20.00 to $40.00
Cereal 1kg $3.00 Newspaper $2.50
Fruit Juice 2 litres $4.00 Cinema ticket $17.00
Rice 1 kg $2.00 Public transport city an inner suburbs $7.00 for a day pass


Providing quality education and protecting your rights

The Australian Government wants overseas students in Australia to have a safe, enjoyable and rewarding place to study. Australia’s laws promote quality education and consumer protection for overseas students. These laws are known as the ESOS framework and they include the Education Services for Overseas (ESOS) Act 2000 and the National Code 2007.

Protection for overseas students

As an overseas student on a student visa, you must study with an education provider and in a course that can be found on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) at CRICOS registration guarantees that the course and the education provider at which you study meet the high standards necessary for overseas students. Please check carefully that the details of your course − including its location − match the information on CRICOS.

Your rights

The ESOS framework protects your rights, including:

  • your right to receive, before enrolling, current and accurate information about the courses, fees, modes of study and other information from your provider and your provider’s agent. If you are under 18, to ensure your safety, you will be granted a visa only if there are arrangements in place for your accommodation, welfare and support.
  • your right to sign a written agreement with your provider before or as you pay fees, setting out the services to be provided, fees payable and information about refunds of course money. You should keep a copy of your written agreement.
  • your right to get the education you paid for. The ESOS framework includes consumer protection that will allow you to receive a refund or to be placed in another course if your provider is unable to teach your course.

The ESOS framework sets out the standards Australian education providers offering education services to overseas students must obey. These standards cover a range of information you have a right to know and services that must be offered, including:

  • orientation and access to welfare and support services to help you study and adjust to life in Australia
  • who the contact officer or officers is for overseas students
  • if you can apply for course credit
  • when your enrolment can be deferred, suspended or cancelled
  • what your provider’s requirements are for satisfactory progress in the courses you study and what welfare and support assistance is available if you are not progressing well
  • if attendance will be monitored for your course, and
  • a complaints and appeals process.

One of the standards does not allow another education provider to enrol a student who wants to transfer to another course, but has not completed six months of the final course of study you plan to undertake in Australia. If you want to transfer beforehand you need your provider’s permission.

If you are under 18, to ensure your safety, you will be granted a visa only if there are arrangements in place for your accommodation, welfare and support.

Your responsibilities

As an overseas student on a student visa, you have responsibilities to:

  • satisfy your student visa conditions
  • maintain your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the period of your stay
  • meet the terms of the written agreement with your education provider
  • inform your provider if you change your address
  • maintain satisfactory course progress
  • if attendance is recorded for your course, follow your provider’s attendance policy, and
  • if you are under 18, maintain your approved accommodation, support and general welfare arrangements.

Contact details

Who? Why? How?
IESC For policies and procedures that affect you Speak with IESC.
Department of Education For your ESOS rights and responsibilities

ESOS Helpline 1300 615 262

Online Enquiry

Department of Immigration and Boarder Protection (DIBP) For visa matters

Phone 131 881 in Australia

Contact the DIBP office in your country.


The PDF version of the ESOS Framework is available at


A detailed explanation of Part D of the Nation Code is available at Nation Code

Our accommodation partner, Study Vision, can help you find accommodation for when you arrive in Australia.
If you are aged 18 years or older, Study Vision can help you find Homestay Accommodation or Shared Student Accommodation.
If you are under 18 years old, Study Vision can arrange a homestay for you, as well as help you with Welfare/Guardianship, which is required for your visa application.
Please visit their website for more information