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First things to do for international students in Australia

So you have just arrived in Australia or you are planning to land to Australia soon, one obvious question among all international students and everyone is

What should international students need to do first after arriving in Australia?

This is a very genuine and important question. If you plan for your stay in advance, you will save your time and can make the best of the time spent here. Planning in advance will definitely help you to be efficient and achieve your goals.


But it’s not always easy to plan when you are doing something new or going to a new country. You might be interested in knowing how the lifestyle is in your destination country, how it differs from your home country. Okay, enough of background story, let’s dive into the main topic now.

Here below, are some recommended things to do for an international student once you come to Australia be it Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide or anywhere. These are the most essential things to do as once you finish doing this, your time here won’t be mismanaged and jumbled up.

Accommodation for International Students in Australia

Once you arrive in Australia and come outside of the Airport, you will need a place somewhere to go, somewhere to accommodate. Being an international student, you will have numerous choices to opt from ranging from cheap to the best you want to spend for. Some of the accommodation suggestions you might be interested in considering are:

  • if you have any relatives, friends or anyone known in the city you are moving, it’s always a good idea to request them to find a room/ housing for you to live once you arrive
  • there are several helpful communities on social media like Indians in Sydney, Nepalese in Adelaide which when you send a message saying you are seeking some accommodation
  • If none of the above options is viable for you, you can always contact your university/ college as they are more than happy to arrange accommodation for you like in uni lodge, or shared housing
  • you can also directly head to hotel, motel, lodges, shared housings on your own from airport but advance planning and research might be helpful

Talking about different accommodations, you can go for shared housing which is relatively cheaper comparing to when you rent on your own. University lodges are good options too as they are most of the time in walking distance to your university but you might be able to save some bucks when you stay on shared renting outside.

Open an Australian Bank Account

The second task, although this mightn’t be of utmost priority it is always best to have it done in the initial days is opening a local Australian bank account. Being an international student in Australia, you are eligible to open bank accounts as local resident in any banks. You will need a bank account to get your work pay, pay your bills, buy groceries and mostly for banking!


There are various banks in Australia like Commonwealth Bank, Westpac Bank, ANZ. You can visit the nearest preferred bank for opening a bank account. To find banks near to you, you can search for banks near me in Google Maps (tap here to go see results). When you go to the bank, it’s good to have the following documents with you:

  • your passport
  • visa copy/ visa expiry details
  • your residential address
  • email account and phone number (the phone number is optional, and you can supply them once you obtain a sim card later)
  • COE (there might be some offers/ discounts for student)

Your bank account will be ready in 5-10 minutes and you will be given information about your bank account. Debit/ credit card will be posted to your residential address within 1-2 weeks. If you have got any bank draft/ cheque/ cash to deposit you can do it while opening the bank account.

Get used to Australian Transportation

source: wikipedia [Transport in Australia]

Australia has reliable public transportation system. Once you arrive here, it’s good to get used to the public transportation system. Even though having your own personal car is a good choice, it might take some time to buy a car.

  • Bus, tram, trains and ferry are the major means of transportation in Australia which most of them will be interconnected to a single system.
  • You can plan your journey and track vehicles in real-time through website, apps or google maps. Prepaid smart cards (opal, metrocard) are first choice commuters which you can buy via agents, at train stations or at metro centres, convenience stores.
  • Paper tickets can also be purchased on the vehicle with the driver by cash.
  • Tickets and cards must be validated while boarding (and dropping off too in some places). Some states offer a concession for students.

Useful links:

Australian Capital Territoryhttp://www.action.act.gov.au
New South Waleshttps://transport.nt.gov.au/
Northern Territoryhttps://transport.nt.gov.au/
Queenslandwww.translink.com.au
South Australiahttps://www.adelaidemetro.com.au/
Tasmaniawww.metrotas.com.au
Victoriahttp://ptv.vic.gov.au

Get a SIM Card/ Mobile phone

This is one of the most important task to do! Getting a sim card is fairly easy than you have thought! You can get a sim card only or sim card and phone together if you want or need to get a new phone.

f you have recent phone model that supports Australian mobile operators then buying a sim card only will save you some money. To get a sim card/ phone:

  • visit nearest service provider store (Vodafone, Optus, Telstra) or convenience shop
  • take your passport, visa, bank account details and coe
  • you can choose between prepaid/ postpaid plans
  • prepaid plans are cheaper while postpaid plans offer more features and data pack
  • sim card would cost around $40-50
  • you can buy sim card and phone together under a contract, payable in a monthly cycle
  • unlimited data, international calls and texts, national calls and texts are major highlights
  • ask the staff if there is any student offer/ plan as most of the time there are good offers and plans for students

Some mobile service providers are Vodafone, Telstra, Optus, Kogan, Aldi etc.

Tax File Number (TFN) for international students in Australia

Even though you are international student in Australia, you are also considered as an Australian resident for tax purposes. This means, if you work anywhere in Australia, you must pay the necessary taxes to the federal Australia Government. This is where you need to apply for a tax file number popularly known ass TFN.

  • TFN is a unique number, which can be easily applied online at the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)’s website for free and will be posted to your residential address in 1-2 weeks.
  • As you work, you need to provide your TFN number to your employer as your employer will directly pay the taxes from your salary to ATO.
  • Be careful, on fake sites that try to prove themselves to be TFN application site. The official government site in Australia ends with .gov.au domain.
  • Visit https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/tax-file-number/apply-for-a-tfn/ to apply for a TFN.

Visit your University

Okay, now time for something good. 😀

You have a place to live, phone to communicate, know about public transportation it is time to visit your education provider – your university, the place which will be your second home from now here in Australia.

  • visit your university to get familiarized with the location and environment
  • provide them with your Australian residential address and contact number
  • ask for your student id card if it can be obtained
  • get known if there is any information that you need to, be it about classes, or orientation or timetable
  • inquire about OSHC health insurance card if you haven’t got already and is managed through your university

This is all for now, after you have done all this you can relax and chill until some plan hits your mind! 🙂