The Iglu Guide | Blog

International students’ guide to stress-free arrivals in Australia

Studying overseas takes a great deal of organisation, a skill which doesn’t always come easily to everyone. When that wise person once said: fail to prepare, prepare to fail, there was a definite smattering of truth involved – particularly when it comes to moving overseas as an international student. The better prepared you are from the outset, the more likely you are to hit the ground running and get the most out of your new experience. And that all starts before you’ve even left home. So, take the stress out of your move and enjoy a smooth arrival into Australia with these 8 easy tips.

1. Check and gather your essential documents

Ensure you have collated all the necessary documents for a smooth entry into Australia and that you have additional hard copies of everything easily accessible in your hand luggage. The most important ones you will need at first are your travel documents, a valid passport and your student visa. Without these, you won’t be going anywhere. You’ll also need to have to hand your letter of offer, confirmation of enrolment, proof of health insurance and you may also be asked to provide proof of funds. It’s helpful to include a travel itinerary and student accommodation details as well. Be sure to double check the individual requirements of your chosen institution to avoid any problems. Keep all your documents safely together and keep them with you at all times.

2. Organise your packing

With all your travel documents good to go, you can turn your attention to packing and thinking about what you will need to bring along to Australia. Your luggage allowance will be pretty limited, so try and resist over-packing and consider taking only the essential items that you cannot easily replace when you arrive – not forgetting any medication or prescriptions. Check with your student accommodation provider about what is already supplied. If you are staying in purpose-built student accommodation like Iglu, your kitchen will be kitted out already with basic kitchen equipment, and there’s the opportunity to settle in even quicker with a bed linen pack. Think about taking the most suitable clothing items for the climate you will be living in, and pack clever using airtight packing cubes to maximise your space. Don’t forget to tuck in a little memento from home to ward off any homesickness that may creep in after all the excitement of arrival has worn off.

3. Confirm your student accommodation details

Once you have had your offer of confirmation from your institution of choice, it’s time to secure your student accommodation. Don’t even think about arriving without accommodation locked and loaded, as competition is fierce and the best places go fast. Think about what type of student accommodation is going to suit you best, based on how well you know yourself. There are plenty of options available – but they never last long. Bring your accommodation details along with you in your hand luggage. 

4. Balance the budget

Cast an eye back over your budget before you fly and make sure the numbers all add up. There will be so much going on in the first few weeks, you don’t want to have a nasty overspending surprise when you get around to checking in on your account. Make sure your home bank knows that you will be making transactions in Australia, and think about opening up a local bank account to make life easier. The four big banks all allow international students to open bank accounts pre-arrival, and many students choose to utilise this function or take advantage of multi-currency providers such as Wise or Revolut. Be sure to have some Aussie dollars on hand as well. If you’re thinking about working while you study, you may need to apply for a tax file number.

5. Research your destination

Whether you’re heading to Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne, do your research well in advance and have an idea about what’s going on in the new city you’ll be calling home. First up, make sure you know how to get around on public transport. Sydney is all about the Opal card, Melbourne works with a Myki card and Brisbane transport operates with the Translink go card. Once you’re comfortable with the systems, you can start to explore! The best way to get to know a new city is on foot, so don’t be afraid to get off the beaten track and spend some time getting well and truly lost.

6. When you land

Once you’ve hit Aussie soil make sure you complete any necessary formalities that may be expected such as letting your uni know you have arrived. There may be some orientation sessions you are expected to attend, and it means you will be able to access all uni resources once you are officially in the system. You can also inform your university of any missing personal information such as bank details, local phone number and new residential address. The student office can also provide valuable support if needed.

7. Get connected

After travelling a long distance, it’s well and truly time to re-join the digital world and get connected. You can start by buying a local SIM card to get your mobile phone up and running. As long as your phone is unlocked, you can choose from any provider and you’ll be back online immediately with a data plan for wifi connection. If your phone is locked, you will have to buy an Australian handset and SIM card. Student accommodation providers such as Iglu will include unlimited wifi as part of your one weekly bill. If you are renting in private accommodation, wireless connectivity is something you will have to research and set up yourself. Talk to your landlord about taking over any existing arrangements as a temporary measure.

8. Stay open minded

Missing home is a completely normal part of settling into your new environment, so don’t be disheartened if you do feel homesick. Studying in Australia is likely to be a completely different experience to anything else you are used to. From the language and sport to the food and weather, try and embrace the differences and appreciate the new experiences that it brings. Living and studying in Australia means that you have the opportunity to meet a whole range of different people from all over the world. Each interaction brings new cultural knowledge and learning experiences that will stay with you forever. Talk to your university or student accommodation provider if you ever need support, as there are plenty of resources available to you.

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