Live in Australia

Live in Australia - Living in Australia

Live in Australia

Live in Australia

Live in Australia - Living expenses

The average international student in Australia spends about A$300 per week on food, accommodation, clothing, local transport, telephone, gas/electricity, stationery, and entertainment, although this varies significantly by location and lifestyle.

International students in Australia on student visas can work for up to 20 hours a week once they have arrived in Australia and commenced their course of study.

Although it is possible for international students to work whilst studying, part-time employment should not be regarded as a means of financing your studies in Australia.

Living in Australia

While student visa holders are now able to work 20 hours a week, it is important to have other money available as Australia is quite an expensive country to live in.


Shopping centres in Australia are open most days of the week, it will depend on how close to the city you are living. The major supermarket chains are open 6 days a week Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 6:00pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Thursdays are late night shopping, shops are open until 9:00pm. Saturdays shops are open usually from either 9:00am to 12:00pm or for the bigger shops from 9:00am to 12:00pm.


There are bank branches located in all suburban areas, they are open Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 4:30pm, with some open until 5:00pm on Fridays. Bigger branches open to the public on Saturdays from 9:30am to 12:00pm.

ATMs or Automatic Teller Machines are available at all branches and shopping centres. They are available 7 days a week and 24 hours a day.

Post Offices

Australia Post runs the postal service in Australia, mail is picked up and delivered Monday to Friday. Australia Post outlets are available at most shopping centres and are open from Monday to Saturday. Monday to Friday they are open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, on Saturdays they are only open until 12:00pm.

Here customers can buy stationary, office supplies, stamps and post parcels, letters. They can also pay certain bills here.

Telephones & Internet

There are many telecommunications providers in Australia, most people are now purchasing mobile phones on a plan rather the using a land line all the time. For international uses though, it will be best to shop around to find the right deal for you. This will most likely be a joint mobile, phone and internet plan. Dial up, ADSL and wireless internet are all available in Australia.

There are many phone shops in shopping centres, where mobile phones can be purchased. However most of the shopping around for plans and phones can now be done over the phone or online.


There are libraries available at all educational institutes and within close location to shires and council houses. Contact the local council in your area to find one closest to you.

Here customers can borrow books, CDs and DVDs. There is only the first membership fee to pay. This is a very cost effective way to read books, it will also help with study.


Currently Australian television is starting to use digital TV, to use this watchers need to use a digital ready TV and box to watch additional channels free of charge. At the moment there are 5 free to air channels available on all televisions. For cable television, consumers will need to sign up with either Foxtel or Austar this is usually quite costly.


Foreign, local and community papers are all available in Australia these can either be delivered to your house at an extra charge or can be brought at the local supermarket or newsagency. To find all your local papers and where they can be brought from visit

Making Friends and Multicultural Community Groups

Moving to a foreign country is a very daunting experience, to make this transitions easier many international students will attend a Multicultural Community Group. These groups have people in similar situations all attend. This may help students feel a little more at home.

Australia is a very accepting country with even more friendly people, students will find that they will easily meet new friends at there educational institute. Here there will be frequent social events listed, and people will be more then happy to help you settle in. Most Australian Universities are now filled with international students, so don't fear being the odd one out there will be many students in the same situation.

As with any country, be positive and polite. If you need directions or assistance be polite and ask for it there will always be someone there to provide help. Australia prides itself on its equality. No one is judged on race, gender, sexuality or religion, be accepting of others and others will accept you.

Dress appropriately for the situation, most Australians dress fairly casually. If attending a job interview, formal function or restaurant it would be more appropriate to wear something formal.

Littering is illegal in Australia, as is smoking in public places. Spitting in public is also seen as dirty and is an offence.

You may have a feeling of frustration when first moving to Australia this is known as culture shock. Feelings such as this should pass once the student has settled in, if it stays with you seek counselling, services are available for international students at all educational institutes.


There are strict laws in Australia, a few have already been mentioned. You must be over 18 to purchase alcohol and cigarettes, photo identification will be required such as drivers license, passport, proof of identification. Weapons and drugs are illegal big penalties to apply. Violence and harassment is not tolerated in Australia, neither is acts of sexism and sexual assault. Huge penalties apply. If planning to drive in Australia be sure to know the road rules, speed limit and do not drive if you have consumed alcohol or drugs.


Living in Australia


All major cities in Australia have their own shopping districts, most shops within a CBD are open 7 days a week with late night shopping on Thursdays and Fridays til 9pm. Supermarkets and other suburban retail outlets are open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5 pm except for Thursdays when they are open until 9pm.


There are many banks available in Australia, based in most suburban and CBD locations. Banks are open to the public Monday to Thursday from 9:30am to 4:00pm, Fridays they are open until 5:00pm. Some of the larger banks in busier locations open on Saturdays from 9:30am to 12:00pm.

ATMs or Automatic Teller Machines are available where ever there is a branch, as well as in many other locations around Australia. ATMs are available for use 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

Postal Services

Australia Post is the major postal service in Australia. There are post offices located in most major shopping centres as well as in various other locations. Open from Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm as well as some shops opening on Saturdays from 9:00am to 12:00pm. Here customers can post letters, buy stationary equipment, apply for passports, pay bills etc. Mail is delivered from Monday to Friday, except for public holidays.


Services and costs will depend on a plan and provider that the consumer has chosen. Most local calls cost around 30 cents and are not timed. There are also many public telephones located across Australia, these are coin operated.

Mobile phones tend to be the most popular communications method, with many cheaper pre paid phones available. Mobile phones can now be purchased from retail outlets, post offices as well as phone companies and even online. Purchase a prepaid HTC camera phone so you can capture all of the beautiful images and landscapes while in Australia.


There are many internet providers in Australia, with dial up, ADSL and wireless services available. Many people choose to link their internet and phone together for the same bill. If the customer chooses not to have a land line then wireless pre paid internet is a great option.


Libraries are great for students here you can borrow a huge range of books, DVDs and CDs. All customers need to do is purchase a membership at a local library and all items borrowed are free of charge, providing they are returned. Libraries are open 6 days a week Monday to Saturday. Libraries are located in most shire or council districts.


Most Australians use the free to air channels, there are 6 main channels available for viewing for free. Currently the government is bringing digital TV which will add an additional 15 channels for regular watches. Consumers of digital television will need to purchase either a digital ready television or a box which allows viewing on a regular television. For those who can afford it cable television is also available, this can be quite expensive how ever.


Each state has their own newspaper with only "The Australian" newspaper reaching the whole country. Community papers are also available through either the mail or at local shopping centres, these are free of charge.

The local newspapers are available 7 days a week, the most popular are, in New South Wales the "Sydney Morning Herald. In Victoria "The Age".

In Queensland the most popular in the "Brisbane Courier Mail". In the ACT the "Canberra Times". In South Australia the "Adelaide Advertiser".

Western Australia's most widely spread paper is the "West Australian". In the Northern Territory the locals purchase the "Northern Territory News" and in Tasmania the "Hobart Mercury" is the most purchased local paper.

Multicultural Community Groups

There are many groups in Australia designed to help foreigners feel more at home. A multicultural community group is run by people from the same country and is a great way to meet people.

Culture and Society

Australia is generally a very accepting country, as well as being very laid back. New comers will find lifestyle and culture quite different. As long as people are respectful, polite and non judgmental Australians will be accepting.

Priding it self on being a country of equality, Australians do not accept racist and sexist behavior.

Unacceptable behavior includes, smoking in government buildings, shopping centres, airports, public transport or in any public buildings or meeting places. Littering is also illegal and there are many bins provided on the sidewalks of most streets.

Culture Shock

Remember Australia is a brand new environment, feeling home sick is normal. Usually this feeling will disappear once the new surroundings become slightly more familiar.

If this feeling does not go away it may pay to see the international counsellor at the educational institute.

Australian Laws

Australia is a very free country, there are no restrictions on where they can live, how they can dress, what relationships they have or what they say (providing this is not a racist or sexist comment).

It is illegal in Australia to purchase or consume alcohol and cigarettes in the consumer is under 18. Smoking has been banned in public places due to health risks. No one is aloud to carry weapons or have illegal drugs on them. All acts of violence towards humans or animals will not be tolerated, all acts of violence will be prosecuted severely.

Living in Australia as an international student


As an international student, you will have attained Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) insurance. But, to increase your level of insurance coverage, you might also want to invest in other forms of insurance. For example, travel insurance will offer protection if your airline cancels your flight and you need accommodation or you the airline loses your luggage. It also covers you are somehow injured on your travel. Another useful insurance is contents insurance. It will cover the cost of your valuable items in your home (i.e. TV, game consoles, jewellery and furniture). Lastly, third party car insurance is compulsory in Australia if you own a car or motorbike. This provides with insurance against damage caused to other cars. An additional insurance is recommended for vehicle holders. It is the comprehensive car insurance and it covers damage to your car in the event of an accident.



There will be lots of opportunity to shop in Australia when you arrive. Australia features many large shopping malls in the town centres and capital cities. You will find a selection of world-class shopping facilities. Shopping hours vary but generally are from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm seven days a week (with late-night shopping until 9.00 pm on Thursday or Friday). Also, some supermarkets open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Others, like Coles and Woolworths, are open until about 10pm every day.


In Australia, there are four major banks including: Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, Westpac and National Australia Bank (NAB).Tthey each have many branches across the country. In addition to these banks, there are plenty of smaller banks with good coverage (as well as credit unions) and large international banks such as ING, Citibank and others.

Banks in Australia are open during normal trading hours from 9.30 am to 4.00 pm Monday to Thursday and 9.30 am to 5.00 pm on Friday. You can also find some banks open on Saturday mornings, but all banks close on Sundays and public holidays. If you need to access your bank account after hours, you can use the many Automatic teller machines (ATMs) that are readily available for withdrawals 24 hours a day. Lastly, most stores and supermarkets have Electronic Funds Transfer At Point of Sale (EFTPOS) terminals where you can pay for goods directly. For this reason, carrying large amounts of cash with you is unnecessary.

Postal services

If you need to send mail or pay a utility bill (like electricity, telephone or gas bill), you will need to go to an Australia Post office. They also sell stationery, post bags, phone cards and stamps and office equipment like fax machines. Another service they offer is delivering mail. This happens once a day from Monday to Friday. If you receive a card from Australia Post for a large parcel, just take it to your nearest post office for collection. You might also need ID with you to claim the parcel as yours.


If you would like a cheaper way of making phone calls, and you have broadband access at home, you can look into setting-up a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) plan for your calls. They can offer considerable cost saving plans if you intend to use the phone often.




Watching television can be a great way to relax. Australia has five free-to-air analog channels. (The free-to-air digital network is expected to expand from March 2009 -- adding another 15 digital channels in addition to the existing ones).  If you want more programmes, you can try the dozens of pay-TV channels. For a monthly subscription fee, you can access these additional channels through Foxtel, Austar, Select TV and several others.


You can also source locally produced foreign-language newspapers at your larger newsagencies. Some international papers can also be found at these selected newsagencies.

Multicultural community groups

A good way to build your social network and find support when you first arrive in Australia as an International student is by joining a group associated with your home community. It might also be a wonderful way of introduce new friends to your culture and heritage. To contact a local group that you might be interested in joining, try visiting one of the following websites:

Making friends

Where and how to find new friends

Culture and society

  • As a matter of courtesy, when speaking to people older than you, you can call them Mr, Mrs or Ms followed by their surname until you know them well (or they ask you to address them by their first name).
  • Informal greetings for friends and acquaintances are hello or hi.
  • Smoking is prohibited many public spaces. For example, it is banned in government buildings, on public transport including domestic and many international flights, theatres, shopping centres, many indoor and outdoor public meeting places, selected restaurants and cafes. Always ask for permission to smoke.
  • Generally speaking, Australians consider themselves to be egalitarian. That is, they believe all individuals have equal social, legal and political rights. These are protected by the Australian Constitution. Being treated equally and fairly is expected by all Australians.
  • Spitting in public is an offence. It is socially unacceptable.
  • Personal hygiene is a must. This not only guards against the spread of germs and disease, but is a social necessity. In this way, be sure to: use a tissue or handkerchief when you sneeze or need to blow your nose; wash your hands before eating, after going to the bathroom, after playing with animals, or when you have a cold; try to shower daily and use deodorant; practice oral hygiene daily by brushing your teeth and using breath freshener in-between flossing and brushing.  
  • Never littering. Australia is an environmentally conscious country and littering is illegal. If you litter, you may be fined.

Culture shock

  • In the meantime here are some ways to help you settle in:
  • Remain positive! Recall the reasons why you chose to study in Australia.
  • Talk to others in the same situation or that have gone through a similar experiences as you. They may have valuable insights to help you.
  • Write down your feelings by keeping a journal. By doing so, you can vent your feelings. It also gives you a new gain perspective on things so you can work through your feelings and find solutions.
  • Stay occupied and busy. Keep your mind and body active. Fill-in your spare time by playing sport, joining a club or taking up a hobby. This can also help you meet new people and make new friends.
  • Try something new. Socialize with Australians and students from other countries. This can help to minimise your feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  • Try to be flexible and prepared to adapt to the changing environment. Expect change and work through challenges with confidence.
  • Be receptive to learning about Australia and its culture and be willing to share your own. As a multicultural society, Australians enjoy open dialogue with people from various heritages.
  • If you have cultural food restrictions, let people preparing foods for you know about them. You can also help educate people by discussing the reasons behind your needs so people can better understand and be open to accommodating them.

Services in Australia


Australia’s cities and towns have world-class shopping facilities. Hours are generally between 9:00am and 5:00pm seven days a week, with late night shopping on Thursday or Friday nights until 9:00pm. Some shopping centres are open 24 hours a day. Most of the larger shopping chains are open until 10pm at night.


There are many banking institutions throughout Australia. Branches can be found all over the country, even in remote areas of the country. Normal trading hours are open from 9:30am until 4:00pm Monday to Thursday and 9:30am until 5:00pm Friday afternoons. Some banks are open on Saturday mornings, but all are closed on Sundays and public holidays.

ATM machines are located in shopping centres and bank branches everywhere. Most stores and supermarkets have EFTPOS terminals where you can transfer funds from your bank account for the purchase of goods or services. You can even make cash withdrawals. This way you can reduce the amount of cash that is carried on you.

The countries four major banks are the Commonwealth Bank, Australia & New Zealand Bank (commonly known as the ANZ bank), Westpac and the National Australia Bank (or NAB). There are many other smaller banks and credit unions which can provide you with the same type of banking services.

Postal Services

Australia Post is Australia’s mail delivery service. Services deliver mail once daily between 9:00am and 5:00pm. For larger parcels, a delivery driver will deliver the parcel to your address, and you will have to sign a declaration to receive the parcel. If the delivery driver delivers the parcel and you are not home, a card will be left in your door. Take this card to your local post office for collection. Postal services usually deliver on the next day within the city suburbs. Post offices are open between 9:00am and 5:00pm during weekdays. Post offices also sell stationary, post bags, phone cards, stamps. You can also pay your utility and telephone bills at your local post office.


Australia’s major telephone companies are Telstra, Optus, Virgin Mobile and Vodaphone. Local calls generally cost 30 cents each and have no time limit. Interstate and international phone call costs vary on your service provider and the length of the call. Public telephones are widely available, and accept coins and pre-paid phone cards. If you have broadband access you can set up a Voice-Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) system on you Personal Computer (PC). This will make the cost of phone calls much cheaper, especially with international or interstate phone calls.

Mobile phones are very popular and service providers are widely available. You can purchase a pre-paid or a post-paid mobile phone service. A pre-paid phone is a great option if you have limited funds. You can purchase the phone upfront and then purchase credit for the phone that can be used over the following months. A post-paid phone handset is generally free, but you will have to sign a contract for a period of time. Post-paid cap plans are good for making a lot of calls daily. Some mobile phone plans cost as little as $20 a month that will provide you with $100 worth of phone calls and text messages. Shop around to find the cheapest plan that suits you.


Australia has a number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Plans vary greatly with cost, speed of the connection and download limits. Shop around for the best plan that will suit you.

The availability of connection varies greatly, depending on what area and what type of internet connection that you wish to connect. Dial-up is available everywhere, but broadband, cable and satellite broadband have limited access. Cable and broadband connections are generally available in all capital cities and large regional towns, but if you live in a rural area and want a fast connection, your best option would be a satellite connection.


A great source of information for your studies is your local public library. Public libraries can be found in each major city and some towns. Most libraries are open six days a week, usually closed on Sunday. Libraries stock books, CDs, DVDs, newspapers, magazines, journals and e-Books. If you cannot find what you are looking for, you can order books from another library.

Before you can borrow items from the library, you first need to apply for a membership card. Items need to be returned on time, or a small late fee may apply.


Australia has fifteen digital free-to-air television channels recently expanded. Pay television has dozens of channels available, and there is a monthly subscription fee. These services are Foxtel, Austar, Select TV, and several others.


The Australian is Australia’s national newspaper. Local newspapers vary from state to state. The local newspapers are

  • New South Wales - The Sydney Morning Herald
  • Victoria - The Melbourne Age
  • Queensland - The Brisbane Courier Mail
  • Australian Capital Territory - The Canberra Times
  • South Australia - The Advertiser
  • Western Australia - The West Australian
  • Northern Territory - The Northern Territory News
  • Tasmania - The Hobart Mercury

There are also a number of foreign newspapers printed locally. You can find newspapers from international locales in some districts.

Multicultural community groups

A great place to make friends from your home community is in a community group. You can find support with troubles you may encounter, and make a few new friends along the way.

©[current-year] Studying Australia

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