Est. 1988

Life in Australia

Finding Accommodation

There are four types of housing in most Austrlian cities, including house,  townhouse, unit, and apartment.


Renting accommodation often involves the signing a formal rental lease. Rental leases tend to be for six or twelve months initially. Shorter term leases are more difficult to find. Properties are generally let unfurnished although furnished properties can be available or arranged. It is important that students think carefully and check the property thoroughly before signing the leases.

Companies like Unilodge, Urbanest and Iglu offer apartments only to students. These apartments are usually located right next to university  campuses, and in close proximity to transport and supermarkets.


Students can choose from different types of rooms and have access to facilities like gym, swimming pool, pool table etc.

On campus accommodation provides a community lifestyle that allows international student to develop new friendships and experiences that are essential to a university life.  Mixing international students from around the world and local Australians together encourages a good understanding and appreciation of different cultures and nationalities.


International students interested in on-campus accommodation can find full details of accommodation available on the university websites. Interested applicants should contact individual colleges or halls of residence directly. Places are limited and often competitive, students should send in an application early, at lease 6-12 months in advance.


Fully-catered Residential Colleges


These colleges provide students with 3 meals a day, 7 days a week.  College residents have the advantage of gaining the unique experience of having a strong support network delivered through an established residential care program which includes also academic mentoring.


Self-catered Apartments


Self-catering apartments are designed for students and couples who enjoy a more independent style of living.  These students will cook their own meals and often share the kitchen facilities with some other students.  


Homestay is the accommodation that offers international students the chance  to live with a local Australian family.  Living with a homestay can be interesting and fun. Homestay hosts help international students to better settle into life in a new country and to build important social networks in Australia.


Living with a homestay host is an excellent way to help international students improve their English and understand Australian culture in a safe, friendly environment. All international students under 18 years of age are required live with an approved homestay or their immediate relatives in Australia.


The arrangement of homestay is done mostly through either the Australian institutions that students will go to or students and parents can contact the private homestay agencies directly for all the arrangements.  The placement fee is around A $200 - $300.


Phone and Internet

Mobile phone services are available from several telephone companies. The telephone companies offer a wide range of phones and payment options.


Depending on the network in their home country, students may be able to connect their existing mobile phone to an Australian network by installing a new SIM card. Mobile call costs may be more expensive than fixed line calls.


Students may find it easier to buy pre-paid mobile phone packages which also help to budget for telephone costs.

For students who want to make an international call from Australia back home, they just have to dial 0011 + country code + area code + telephone number.


Overseas phone cards are also available. They usually offer cheap call rates. Students can buy overseas phone cards from most Newsagencies and convenience stores.


A collect (reverse charge) international call is also available.  The charge will go to the person that the student is calling. Students simply ring Telstra on 1300 362 162, they will then be connected to an operator who will assist them. Students can find detailed information about collect calls on Telstra website and 1800 Reverse website.


Students should bring along their personal identifications like birth certificates, passport and student visa.


For students under 16 years of age, their parents or guardians must accompany them to the bank and bring along their driver's licence or passport.  The bank may ask students, parents or guardians for a Tax File Number. 

There are four major banks in Australia:


  • Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ)
  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)
  • National Australia Bank (NAB)
  • Westpac Banking Corporation


There are also a number of smaller banks including Adelaide Bank, Bank of Queensland, Bank of Melbourne, Bankwest, Bank SA, Bendigo Bank, MF Bank and Suncorp.


Examples of foreign banks are HSBC, American Express, Bank of China etc.

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