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The currency in Australia is Australian dollars. You should check the value compared to your currency, but you will need to understand that some things will be more expensive and some things will be cheaper – it will really depend on where you’re from and what you are comparing. The Australian currency is one of the most secure in the world. This means counterfeit money that looks real is not a common problem here. Cash is becoming less commonly used in Australia except for smaller purchases. Some shops and services no longer accept cash since it became unpopular during COVID19. We recommend that all students have a bank card which is often called an ‘EFTPOS card’ or a ‘debit card’ or a ‘cash card’ in Australia.

Cost of Living

Sydney is not a cheap city to live in, but it’s cheaper than most cities in the USA and similar to Canadian cities. Generally, wages in Sydney tend to be higher than many European cities. There is a table below of typical prices at the time this handbook was printed. A whole year of living and studying in Sydney – not including the tuition fees – is likely to cost you around AUD$20,000 to AUD$25,000. This will cover most living expenses, including accommodation, transport, food, clothes and entertainment. Please refer to the Australian Government Website for more information.

Here are some common expenses:

  • Single & shared accommodation per week $120 – $380
  • Weekly public transport travel $20 – $55
  • Take away lunch $8 – $15
  • Movie ticket $16 – $24
  • Loaf of bread $2 – $6
  • Litre of milk $1.60 – $3
  • Can of coke $2 – $3
  • Dining out (per person) $25 – $80
  • Regular take away coffee $3 – $5


International students can open a bank account before they arrive in Australia. Opening an Australian bank account is important in Australia, especially if you want to work and get paid. This is a free service. You can use a basic day to day account to pay for course fees, rent or daily living costs. There are four major banks in Australia: ANZ, CBA, NAB and WESTPAC and a lot of smaller banks.

For further information on how to open a bank account with one of Australia’s leading financial institutions online, simply visit their websites. 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.