Helpful information

Helpful information

Ready to start your new life in a vibrant and exciting city? Then we are ready to help! Here is some useful information for living in Sydney – so you can make the most of your time here.

With so many living options available, where you live is entirely up to you. Here are some popular choices:

  • Homestay: We recommend staying with an Australian host family for at least one month. Host families are the best way to experience Australia’s culture and way of life, while improving your English.
  • Shared accommodation: Live with locals or fellow international students so that you can share rent, utility bills… and the fun!
  • A rental: If you prefer your own space, there are plenty of private houses and apartments available for rent. Some other great websites to search for rentals are Domain and

Need more help choosing a place that’s best for your budget and lifestyle? Then learn more about accommodation in Australia. Or, let us know at least 28 days before you arrive – and we will give you a hand.

When you first arrive in Sydney, we recommend you have AUD$2,000 to cover your initial expenses.

We can arrange to pick you up from the airport. But be sure to let us know your flight details at least 14 days before you arrive. Or follow the signs to take a taxi, train or SkyBus from outside the airport terminals.

If you take the train, you will need an Opal card – which you can buy from the train station airport or a newsagency nearby.

There are lots of trusted banks to help look after your money in Australia. The big four Australian banks are NAB, CBA, ANZ and Westpac. Other safe providers include Citibank and Bankwest.

Bank opening times are as follows:

  • 9.30am-4pm (Monday-Thursday)
  • 9.30am-5pm (Friday)
  • Saturday mornings (some banks)

If you are having trouble opening a bank account, let us know so we can give you a hand.

It’s easy to travel around Sydney, with our many trains, buses, ferries and rental bikes. You can choose to:

  • Walk: one of the most interesting and scenic ways to get around the city
  • Cycle: combine sightseeing, exercise and fun
  • Public transport: ‘touch on’ and ‘touch off’ with your Opal card
  • Uber: get to your destination with one of the city’s many Uber drivers
Buying what you need

You can find a variety of fresh and healthy food in Sydney. Buy your groceries from local farmers’ markets or the four main supermarkets: Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and IGA.

For clothes, books and more, head to the Westfield Sydney, QVB or another one of Sydney’s many shopping centres, arcades and malls.


Tipping is not generally expected in Australia.

However, in upper-class restaurants, it is common to tip up to 10% of the bill for high-quality service and meals.

Business hours in the city

Most major shops and department stores are open seven days a week. We have late night shopping on Thursday and Friday evenings, with many stores open until 9pm.

During the week, cafes typically open at 7am, with longer weekend hours.

Post offices are open Monday to Friday, with some open on Saturday mornings.

Working in Australia

With a student visa, you can work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year – only after you have started your course. During the holidays however, you can work full time. Learn more about your student visa conditions.

Working is a great way to improve your English, enjoy Sydney life and earn some extra money while you are here. Here’s what you need to know before you start:

  • You will need a need a Tax File Number (TFN) from the Australia Taxation Office (ATO). If you have already started working, you have 28 days to provide one to your employer.
  • As a worker and visa holder, you will have rights under Australia’s workplace laws.
  • To find work, check out our online job sites such as SEEK and Indeed. Many students also find work by simply handing their resume to local stores they would like to work at.
Arts, culture and sport

Sydney has many arts, culture and sport events for you to enjoy – every day of the year.

In your spare time, make sure to visit:

  • The little villages around the city
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
  • Circular Quay & The Rocks
  • Sydney Theatre Company
  • Sydney Cricket Ground
Looking after your health

Sydney has many doctor clinics, medical centres and private and public hospitals. Some of Sydney’s best hospitals include: St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and The Sydney Private Hospital.

With Allianz Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), you will get help paying for doctor visits, medical treatments, medicine prescriptions and more.

Beach safety

With so many beautiful beaches like Bondi, Manly and Balmoral, your outdoor fun should never stop. But we also want you to put your safety first.

To stay safe when having fun in Sydney’s sparkling waters, remember the acronym FLAGS:

F LOOK at, understand and obey the safety signs.
L ASK a lifeguard for advice before you enter the water.
A GET a friend to swim with you.
G STICK your hand up, stay calm, and call for help if you get into trouble.
S FIND the red and yellow flags, and swim between them.

Before you take a dip, don’t forget to look at the physical flags:


Lifesavers are watching the area – swim between these flags.


Board riding and surfing are not allowed.


The beach is closed, don’t swim or enter the water.


There are potential hazards in the water.