Settling in and setting up

Students having lunch

Adjusting to life in a new country can be challenging. You are leaving behind all that is familiar and facing entirely new experiences – a new culture, language and expectations of you as a student.

For detailed information about transitions, Australian culture, and useful websites, visit our Adjusting to Uni pages.

Also, remember there are a number of student support services to help you – in particular Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

Find accommodation

Read our advice on temporary accommodation and Tips for starting a search, and visit the Accommodation Information Service website.

Once you arrive in Sydney, take advantage of the free Accommodation Information Sessions being held on campus. These sessions explain the different types of accommodation available, where to look, and what you need to know about living in Sydney. Staff will be able to answer any questions you might have.

Get an Australian bank account

Most banks in Australia have accounts specifically tailored for international students. There are two banks on the Camperdown/Darlington campus: the Commonwealth Bank and the National Australia Bank, both on Level 3 of the Wentworth Building.

These banks offer accounts for international students and have a large network of Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) across Sydney, which is important so you don’t have to carry large amounts of money around.

For the banks on campus, you can open a bank account using only your passport as identification, if you have been Australia for less than six weeks.

For help with budgeting, see Living costs for international students. The University’s Financial Assistance Service is also available to provide support if you experience financial difficulty at any stage during your studies.

Apply for your Tax File Number

A Tax File Number (TFN) is a number issued to each taxpayer in Australia. It is important to provide a tax file number to your employer as soon as you have received it, otherwise they are required by law to deduct the maximum amount of tax from your salary.

It may also be a good idea to provide your TFN to your bank, to prevent unnecessary tax being charged on any interest you earn. For more information about tax in Australia, visit the Australian Taxation Office website.

Set up mobile phones and internet access

Australia has a very wide range of mobile phone and internet providers. Before buying a phone, installing internet, or signing a contract, read the consumer guide for international students at NSW Fair Trading. Also see the information below on computing services on campus.

Get access to MyUni

After you arrive you need to set up a UniKey account. This enables you to access MyUni, which is the portal to online resources including the accommodation database, jobs database, and the internet. Most importantly, this process also sets up your University email account, which is how the University will communicate to you throughout the duration of your degree.

As an international student, you do not need to wait for enrolment to get your UniKey login details. You can simply go to a computer access lab on campus, present your student identification (your photo ID), and you will be issued with your login and password. For detailed information about internet and computing services on campus, see the ICT website.

Living costs for international students

For an international student on a budget, Sydney need be no more expensive to live in than any other state capital city. Living costs in New South Wales compare favourably with costs in other Australian states. The increased competition found in Australia’s largest city means that prices for many goods and services such as food, clothing, child care and medical costs can be actually lower than in smaller cities.

The mild climate Sydney enjoys throughout the year also means that students spend very little on heating or air-conditioning compared to students living in cooler or hotter cities.

The University is located close to a number of relatively inexpensive suburbs and students will find that there are many economical housing options available.

Costs can be substantially reduced by sharing accommodation and meals, living further away from the campus, and shopping carefully at the wide range of markets and discount shops that Sydney has to offer.

Arriving in Sydney

Expense/Item International student living on-campus International student living off-campus Family living off-campus (2 adults+1 child)
Temporary hostel room (one week) $250
($35 p/night)
$700
($100 p/night)
Furniture rental (one year) $2,080+
($40 p/week)
$3,120+
($60 p/week)
Connecting gas, electricity, phone and internet $340 $340
Rental bond (refundable) $600 to $1,200 (4 weeks rent:$150 to $300+) $1,400 to $2,000 (4 weeks rent: $350 to $500+)
Residential college bond (refundable) $900
TOTAL ARRIVAL $900 $3,270 to $3,870 $5,560 to $6,160

Living expenses (per week)

Expense/Item International student living
on-campus
International student living
off-campus
Family living off-campus (2 adults+1 child)
Rent $200 to $300+ p/week for single room $350 to $500+ p/week for small flat
Services (gas, electricity, phone, internet) $35 p/week $45 p/week
Food/groceries $70 p/week $170 p/week
Residential college (rent, meals, services & other fees) $365 p/week aprox for single room with shared amenities)
Health cover $7.2p/week $7.2p/week $15p/week
ESTIMATE TOTAL LIVING EXPENSES PER ANNUM $373 p/week $313 to 413+ p/week $580 to $730+ p/week

Other possible expenses

Child care: $70 per day
School fees: varies (note: AusAid recipients (on a 576 visa) do not pay tuition fees for public schools)
Additional school expenses: $100 per month

Total expenses per year

International student living
on-campus
International student living
off-campus
Family living off-campus (2 adults+1 child)
$26,150 (aprox) $24,428  (aprox) $45,744 (aprox)
Guide to the tables
  • All prices quoted in the tables are approximate examples and a guide only. Prices will vary depending if it is a house or apartment, on the location, the size of the place and lifestyle of each individual person.
  • All amounts are in Australian dollars (AUS$) and include the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in most of the prices below. GST is not refundable.
  • The University of Sydney tuition fees are not included on the table below.
  • Students should account for a 5% increase in living expenses each year.
  • Textbooks, print and photocopies for some programs may exceed $500 per semester. For accurate fees and prices contact your faculty.
  • Students taking some courses in Dentistry, Medicine, Health Sciences, Nursing, Pharmacy, Science and Veterinary Science may need to buy special equipment such as clinical uniforms or specialised tools, fieldwork trips, laboratory kits, equipment, and specific course materials. This costs are not included in the living expenses. For detailed information and specific costs please contact the faculty directly.
  • For accurate fees on external services such as gas/energy, phone/internet, etc, contact the relevant service providers. (Please note there are other providers for these services).
  • Go to accommodation for further information on rental costs.
  • USU Discounts
  • Sydney Public Transport: Fees + general information.
  • City of Sydney activities
  • Want to know how much are you going to spend in your local currency?