Getting ready to study in Australia
You are going to love living in Australia. Discovering a new country is exciting – but it also means adapting to different laws, cultures and ways of doing things.
We have the information you need to make the transition a lot easier. From tips on basic living costs, how to get around and even how to find a part-time job while you are studying, we are here to help.
Organising your visa and CoE
Once you have accepted your offer to study at Deakin, you will receive a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE). This will allow you to apply for your visa – and the more time you allow for this process, the better. Most international students will be in Australia on a student visa.
International student stories
Want to know how students from your country or other international destinations have spent their time in Australia? Visit our Navigator blog to read stories from hundreds of current and former Deakin international students.
Getting to Australia
Flying to Australia
You have two airports you can arrive in if you are travelling straight to a Deakin campus. The airport you choose will be based on your airline and also where you are studying – Geelong, Warrnambool or Melbourne.
Melbourne Airport is the largest of the international airports located in Melbourne and is located 30 minutes from the city. Melbourne Airport accepts international flights from more than 35 airlines and seven domestic airlines.
Avalon Airport is located 30 minutes from Geelong. It is our newest international airport and offers international flights via Air Asia.
When booking your flight to Melbourne we recommend you arrive at least a week or two before our Orientation Program. That way you will have plenty of time to adapt, settle in and see a bit of the city and surrounding areas before starting at Deakin.
If you are visiting another Australian city before Melbourne, you will be able to take a domestic flight to either Melbourne Airport or Avalon Airport
We offer a free airport pick-up service for all new international Deakin students. It is just another way we welcome you to Deakin and make your arrival in Australia easier.
We are happy to pick you up from Melbourne International Airport and Avalon International Airport. All you need to do is complete an application form and let us know your arrival details. Please include where you will be staying when you get here.
Note that you will need to submit a request at least three business days prior to your arrival in Australia.
Student Welcome Pack
Collect your free Student Welcome Pack from the Melbourne Visitor Hub at Melbourne Town Hall.
Just ask one of the friendly tourism team members in the Melbourne Visitor Hub for your pack. They can also help you with other questions you may have and can share the secrets about Melbourne that only a local would know. The pack also includes the essential Melbourne International Student Guide.
Your student visa comes with a set of conditions regarding working, studying, health insurance and visa extensions. Please familiarise yourself with all these conditions to make sure you get the most out of your Australian study experience.
Bringing your family
Sharing your Deakin study experience with your family can be rewarding and life-changing for all of you. It means you will be able to study and still have your loved ones close by. Your family will get to experience the Australian way of life.
If you are married, or have a spouse and children, your student visa will generally let you bring your immediate family with you. There are a few rules and regulations regarding your family accompanying you. Most importantly you must be able to support them financially.
Your school-age children will also have the opportunity to attend an Australian school while they are here.
What to bring with you
When you go through immigration and border security at Melbourne International Airport, you will be asked to show certain documents. Here is a checklist of what you should have with you when you arrive:
- a valid passport (with at least six months until the expiry date) with your student visa
- your Letter of Offer from Deakin University
- your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) issued by Deakin
- proof of payments e.g. receipts for fees, your Overseas Student Healthcare Card, bank statement etc.
- insurance policies e.g. travel, health etc.
- original or certified copies of your academic transcripts and qualifications
- other identification e.g. birth certificate, driver’s licence etc.
- medical records and prescriptions (if applicable)
- a Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW) if you're under 18.
If you are travelling with your family, keep all of your documents together in your carry-on luggage (not in your checked suitcase).
We also recommend that you photocopy all of your important documents and keep copies with you at all times (plus leave a copy with a family member or friend back home).
Bringing money into Australia
There are several ways you can bring your money into the country. Ideally you will have some cash on you, but we suggest that you don’t carry large amounts with you when you travel.
There are banks at the airport where you can exchange foreign currency, and several ATMs for withdrawing Australian dollars.
If you have a bank card or debit card with international functionality, it may be easier to keep your funds in your bank account at home and just withdraw cash as needed from ATMs.
You may also choose to use a credit card (with a PIN – signatures are no longer accepted in Australia), travellers’ cheques or international funds transfers.
Try to have at least $AUD1500–$2000 when you arrive to cover initial accommodation and living expenses for your first couple of weeks.
Mobile phones and computers
Taking a laptop with you? If your laptop is more than one year old, no problem. We recommend that you have proof of purchase (a receipt) with you.
If your computer is new and cost more than $AUD900, you may be subject to paying duty (importation tax). As a student, this is rarely the case, especially if you can prove that you intend to take the computer back out of the country when you leave.
When bringing a mobile phone, make sure that it is 'unlocked' – not restricted to the phone network in your home country. You can then purchase an Australian SIM card to insert into your phone. Most mobile phone companies in Australia will allow you to purchase a pre-paid SIM card, or you can sign up to a post-pay longer-term contract.
If you have any doubt as to whether your devices will work in Australia, please check with the Australian Communications and Media Authority for further information.
What clothes to pack
As you will be restricted by your baggage allowance, you will have to think carefully about what to pack.
Australia is generally a very casually dressed society. For university, you will generally be wearing comfortable, casual clothes, and business attire if you intend to work part time.
You will be able to purchase most things upon arrival in Australia but the price may be higher than in your own country.
Depending on which airline you are flying to Australia with, the baggage allowance will vary.
It will also be different if you are fortunate enough to be flying in premium economy, business or first class. We recommend that you check your airline’s website for details.
In general, economy-class passengers can check in one piece of luggage up to 30kg in weight. They can also have one carry-on piece up to 7kg, plus a handbag or laptop case.
If you are flying domestically into Melbourne from another Australian city, the weight limit may be significantly lower (20kg), so please consider the restrictions when packing.
What to wear on the plane
On long-distance flights it is important to be comfortable. Depending where you are flying from, you might have to remove your belt and/or your shoes to go through security – so it may be easiest to wear slip-on shoes and no belt.
Airports can also be large places so make sure your shoes are good for walking long distances. Planes tend to be a bit over air-conditioned, so bring an extra layer of clothing and socks to keep your feet warm.
Keep in mind what the weather will be when you arrive in Melbourne and dress accordingly.
Australia is home to people from many different cultures and there are many businesses that sell items from all around the world. You will probably be able to find everything you need while you are here, but there may be some items that are not as common as back home.
Certain shaped pillows may not be available at every store. For example, bolster pillows, which are popular throughout Asia, are not used as much in Australia. You should be able to buy them at craft and homewares stores like Spotlight, with outlets throughout Melbourne.
Traditional herbs and spices
Melbourne has a multicultural population made up of immigrants from more than 180 countries. Our supermarkets carry a wide selection of herbs and spices, plus the major chains (Woolworths and Coles) generally have a large international foods section. If you are looking for a specific ingredient or product, try searching for a store that specialises in products from your home country or region.
Arriving in Australia
Before you land
After a long flight, you may be tired, but it is very important that you fill out the Incoming Passenger card correctly.
You will receive the orange card from your flight attendant before you land. If you have trouble understanding anything on the form, please ask for assistance.
You must tick YES if you are carrying any food, animal products, wooden items or plant material in your luggage. Any food that you may have had with you for the flight can be thrown away in the quarantine bins once you land. If you have currency with a value of more than $AUD10,000 with you, you need to declare it.
Going through customs – what can I bring into Australia?
After you have collected your luggage from the baggage carousel, you need to pass through customs before exiting to the arrival hall.
You have the choice of going through the green lanes (nothing to declare) and the red lanes (something to declare). Luggage is X-rayed and checked by customs officers. Customs dogs also patrol the baggage area.
We have strict quarantine laws in Australia, and for good reason. We try to protect the country from the importation of diseases and pests. Although you may think bringing some of your favourite foods from home is a good idea, there are several items that you are not allowed to bring into Australia.
You must declare:
- any items made from wood, plant and animal material
- any fresh food or egg products even in powder form, including dried or packet food
- all food items (including cans, jars and processed foods).
- If you don’t declare these items, you risk an on-the-spot fine or more significant penalties. Melbourne is a very multicultural city and products from most regions of the world are available here – even your favourite foods.
If you are in doubt about whether or not to declare an item, it is safer to declare it.
It is always a good idea to have some Australian cash with you when you arrive. You can also exchange currency at the airport. There are several ANZ banks and foreign exchange desks in Melbourne International Airport’s arrival hall and departure areas.
Once you are in Melbourne, banks and foreign exchange outlets can all exchange your foreign currency or travellers' cheques. You will find them located in shopping centres, post offices and retail areas.
Keep in contact
Once you have arrived in Melbourne, you will want to let your friends and family know you have made it safely.
International phone cards are available at most convenience stores and they offer extremely cheap rates to overseas destinations (from 1 cent per minute).
Alternatively, there is also free wi-fi in many locations throughout the city and numerous internet cafes.
Get connected with Study Melbourne
Study Melbourne is a Victorian Government initiative that provides support to international students in Victoria. You are supported from the moment you arrive in Australia and while you are studying in Victoria.
Study Melbourne’s resources include:
- finding accommodation
- work and graduate opportunities
- information on holidays, short trips and fun things to do for free
- free professional development and leadership opportunities
- student stories.
Sign up to the Study Melbourne Student Update monthly newsletter for offers tips, tools, news and events to help you live and study in Victoria.
Need help? Get in touch with Study Melbourne