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Your first 48 hours as an international student in Sydney

12 July 2017
What do you do when you arrive in Australia to study?
When you first arrive in Sydney, it’s normal to feel excited, tired and a bit unsure. Here we prepare you for what to expect and help you settle in during your first few days in Australia as an international student.
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Find our student volunteers at the airport

First step: get off the plane. That’s pretty easy. Follow your fellow passengers to collect your bags and proceed through to Australian customs and immigration for your passport and visa check. You’ll then come out in either Arrival Hall A or B of the International Terminal.

Keep an eye out for student volunteers at the International Student Welcome Desk in Arrival Hall A, who will greet you and help point you in the right direction. Don’t hesitate to ask them every question you have!

Get to your new home

Now it’s time to travel from the airport directly to your accommodation (don’t go to the University first!). Sydney Airport is about 8km from the city centre, and is linked to by all forms of public transport.  It’s a good idea to research transport options before you leave your home city, so you don’t need to think about it when you arrive after a long flight – and make sure you have the address written down somewhere. There are several ways to travel from the airport:

Train or bus: Sydney’s public transport options include trains, buses, light rails (trams) and ferries. You’ll need an adult Opal card to use the public transport network – you can buy one from the airport. Use Google or Apple Maps to find out the best routes for where you want to go, and then download the TripView app for the latest timetables. Remember that some of Sydney’s train stations don’t have lifts (elevators) for your luggage and might be a long walk from your accommodation.

Taxi: Catching a taxi is more expensive than public transport, but they will be able to take you directly to your door and save you from carrying your luggage too far. Taxi ranks are situated just outside the Arrivals lounge if you wish to go from the airport; or you could consider catching one from outside the nearest train station to your accommodation to save you from walking.

Other options: Ride sharing app Uber is popular in Sydney and can be used at the international airport. Once you exit the building, follow signs to the yellow public pick-up area, as this is where your driver will meet you upon confirming through the app.


Read more - How to settle in to student life in Australia: helpful hints for international students living in Sydney


Check in to your accommodation

Now it’s time to make yourself at home! Introduce yourself to any housemates and explore your new home. Check that everything matches what you agreed to, and make a condition report to show your landlord (within the first few days of moving in). Find out more tips about moving in.

Don’t forget to update your permanent address on Sydney Student. 

If you arrive at night, you can order dinner to be delivered using a website like Menulog, Foodora, Deliveroo or UberEats. These apps are linked to your debit/credit card so you don’t need to carry much cash.

Stock up on supplies

Now that you’re officially living in Sydney, it’s time to get out and explore your new surroundings and shops. The closest to the Camperdown/Darlington campus are Broadway and Central Park, and there are lots of others in nearby suburbs of Newtown, Glebe and Chippendale.

Stock up on groceries and toiletries at the supermarket – look out for Woolworths, Coles, Aldi or IGA. If you are in an unfurnished room off-campus, you may also need to buy items for your first few nights until you have a chance to venture out to shop for furniture. You can find affordable bedding, inflatable mattresses and other household electronics at shops such as Kmart, Target or IKEA.

Get connected

Most on-campus accommodation options offer free Wi-Fi. Be sure to ask for the login and password on arrival so you can make contact with loved ones and let them know you have arrived safely. If you are in off-campus housing, it’s likely your roommates also have Wi-Fi set up in the house. Remember to factor this fee into your budget, along with other regular bills like gas and electricity.

Getting a mobile phone set up is sure to top your list of priorities. A prepaid account is a flexible, easy option if you just want a SIM card to use in your existing phone; while a fixed plan locks in a monthly price and usually includes a handset, whilst also offering cheaper rates on messages and phone calls when used in bulk. Make sure to do plenty of research when picking an option.