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On arrival in Australia you will need to have some Australian currency in case you need to make telephone calls or small purchases. It is recommended that students have at least A$300 in cash for the first few days after arrival. Thereafter you should have set up a bank account that would allow you to access more funds when necessary.
When coming into Australia, please be aware that if you are carrying more than AUD$10,000 in cash of any currency, you must declare so on your Incoming Passenger Card and when questioned by Australian Customs officials upon arrival. Failure to do so may result in the money being confiscated and could lead to your arrest and prosecution.
It is not an offence to bring large amounts of money into Australia. It is, however, an offence not to declare doing so.
Living costs will vary largely according to the type of accommodation you choose, the type of lifestyle you lead, the number of people you live with, and the area you live in. The cost of living also varies between whether you are studying in Melbourne, Geelong or Warrnambool.
Other costs that you may have to incur during your studies include costs for computing equipment, software and text books and internet usage.
It is advisable to set up a bank account during the first few days after your arrival that will allow you to access additional funds from overseas bank accounts.
The usual way of sending money from overseas is by electronic funds transfer to your bank account. You may also arrange to have money sent from overseas by bank draft in Australian dollars, which you can then deposit into your local account. Check with your bank at home to find out if they have an agreement with a local bank that could allow you to save on funds transfer fees.
You must provide proof of identification when opening a bank account in Australia so take your passport and at least one other piece of identification with you.
Bank charges are applicable to all accounts in Australia. However, most banks offer the option of applying for a student account that generally involve less fees than regular accounts. Speak to your local bank about student accounts.
You should also apply for an ATM card that will allow you access to your account 24 hours a day from an ATM machine, as well as make purchases in shops and supermarkets using EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale).
Students from North America: If you are bringing a credit card from home, ensure that you notify your bank that you will be in Australia. Some companies put a bar on the card if they find it is being used in another country. Check that your bank card has the 'Cirrus' or 'Plus' signs on the back that will allow you on most ATMs within Australia.
If you are bringing expensive items with you to Australia, such as a laptop computer, digital camera or jewellery, you can apply for personal property insurance. This will insure such items against loss or theft.
Students interested in purchasing a car in Australia are urged to take out comprehensive insurance or, at a minimum, Third Party Property insurance.