Moving to Australia? Here’s an essential student checklist

Congratulations! You’ve received your acceptance letter from the university of your choice. This is where the real adventure begins. To make sure you’re as ready as you can be, we have prepared a checklist for life as an international student in Australia. 

1. Paying for your course 

When you sign your acceptance form, you’ll usually need to pay for your first semester up front. Most Australian universities have two semesters a year, beginning in February and July, meaning you’ll only have to pay one semester at a time in advance.

For the first semester, making an international money transfer directly to the university may be the best course of action. At OFX, we can arrange this quickly and easily, often with better exchange rates than the banks. 

It’s also worth noting that your transfers with us are fee-free* when sending over AU$10,000 or your local currency equivalent.

The Study Preparation Checklist

2. Finalising your visa

After you’ve accepted the offer and paid for your first semester, you’ll receive a Confirmation of Enrolment email, which you’ll need to complete your visa application process. Applying for a visa costs around AU$500, to be paid along with your application.

3. Open an Australian bank account

Many Australian banks let you open an account before you arrive so you can send money ahead, ready for your arrival. You’ll find that many of these are also fee-free for students. When you arrive, you can normally just go into the bank and show them your passport and proof of enrolment.

Using OFX, you can send money from your domestic bank account directly to your brand new account in Australia. Don’t know how to transfer? See the bottom of this post for more. 

The Study Preparation Checklist - Organising Accommodation

4. Find somewhere to live

Accommodation options include homestay, university halls of residence and a unit shared with other students. On-campus accommodation is very popular, so make sure you apply far in advance for this.

It’s difficult to secure a flat or homestay while you’re overseas, so finding a homestay when you first arrive is a good option. Your university may have accommodation support on campus, including noticeboards and advice services.

Finding a place to stay can be another sizeable expense you need to transfer money for. If you’re staying in a unit, landlords usually require a deposit of a few weeks’ rent for security on the property, not including the first instalment of rent in advance. 

5. Start the job hunt

Manuela Bennett from AA Education Network says that working in a part-time job should allow you to cover your living expenses. Being an international agent, she recommends checking out the job-seeking resources at your university – most universities have online career portals with jobs for students.

The hospitality industry offers some flexible roles for students in Australia, including waiting, bartending and kitchen hands. This might be a good place to start when looking for work. Housekeeping and administrative assistant positions are also popular with students. 

“As an agent, I’d advise taking the first job you’re offered,” says Manuela; you can always change jobs once you find your feet. She warns, however, that students should not take on too many hours: “Generally, student visas in Australia only allow you to work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight during course time, though you can work full-time during the school holidays.”

6. Prepare for other expenses

There can be all sorts of other initial expenses when you’re about to start student life in a new country; course books, stationery, new clothes to suit the climate, a bike, or even a car. Take these into account when you’re considering your maintenance costs.

If you need occasional lump sum payments or regular living support, our online payments and 24/7 customer support make for a worry-free money transfer process. With our forward contracts, you can also lock in an exchange rate for up to 12 months. This can help to protect against volatility – very useful when money is tight.

The last item to add to your international toolkit is our handy OFX Transfer app. Available on iOS and Android, it’s now easier than ever to top up your finances on the go. 

Once you have your overseas student checklist ticked off, you’re free to focus on the important stuff – studying hard and having the experience of a lifetime.

Not sure how to make your first transfer? See how it works.

*Occasionally, third-party banks may deduct a fee from your transfer before paying your recipient. This fee may vary and OFX receives no portion of it
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IMPORTANT: The contents of this blog do not constitute financial advice and are provided for general information purposes only without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any particular person. OzForex Limited (trading as OFX) and its affiliated entities make no recommendation as to the merits of any financial strategy or product referred to in the blog. OFX makes no warranty, express or implied, concerning the suitability, completeness, quality or exactness of the information and models provided in this blog.