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Transition to Sydney

Settle in to life in Sydney

Start making friends

Moving to another city or country is a big step. It’s likely you won’t know many people here yet, but don’t worry as there are lots of ways to meet people and start making connections. 

Connect on social

Before university starts, spend time with your housemates, neighbours or local social groups, and check our Student Life Facebook and Instagram pages for opportunities to make friends.

Get involved in events

The University of Sydney Union organises lots of activities, including some specifically for international students, such as tours, welcome parties and day trips. The USU even has a dedicated International Student Lounge on Level 4 of the Wentworth Building, which is a great place to relax between classes.

Join our Welcome Program

Make the most of your faculty events during our Welcome Program, a series of events and activities taking place in the weeks leading up to semester. All of your classmates will be there, so strike up some conversations! If you have any questions, get in touch with us.

Familiarise yourself with University life

When you first get here, the University of Sydney campus might seem huge. But the easiest way to get to know your new campus is simply by walking around. Take the time to familiarise yourself with key locations like the libraries, the Student Centre (Level 3, Jane Foss Russell Building) and the Quadrangle. Visit the museum and don’t forget to take an Instagram photo in one of our iconic locations.

Chances are you’re already familiar with university and how it differs from high school, but each institution is unique in terms of timetabling, expectations and assignments. Learn about the basics with our tips on how to understand uni.

Remember to try and work in a lunch break when planning your timetable. Check our website for all you need to know about setting up your timetable

Read up on services, safety and support

Sydney is largely a safe and friendly city, but it’s also a busy one with lots of people and traffic. Stay alert when using footpaths and roadways, and don’t let your phone distract you from your surroundings. Read up on pedestrian safety tips from the City of Sydney (pdf, 597KB).

It’s important that while you’re in Australia, you know what to do in the unlikely event of an emergency. Should you require police, ambulance or fire brigade services, the phone number to contact is 000. To ensure you are prepared for any situation, read up on how to contact campus security, as well as emergency procedures for evacuations, lockdowns and other threats.

Watch this short video to find out about Australian medical services and what your overseas health cover (OSHC) provides you with. If you need to access any health services, we have plenty on the Camperdown/Darlington campus, including a medical centre, chiropractor, physiotherapist, dentist and optometrist.

Get familiar with the language

Although Australia’s official language is English, you may find your first conversations are more challenging than you expected. It can be hard to keep up with Aussie slang and idioms, but don’t be discouraged. There are many ways to catch up, such as attending free English workshops held throughout semester. Topics covered vary from conversational English to dating in Australia. Look out for events scheduled on the USU website.

You can also sign up for the USU's Language Exchange Program, where you'll be paired with a student who is learning your native language. You can then meet up throughout the semester to help each other practise.

The Learning Hub offers a range of peer-facilitated programs that help you to practise and develop your English language and communication skills, and give you useful strategies for connecting at university. These programs run throughout the year at different times, so check the Learning Hub webpage for registration opening dates.

If you’re confused about university terminology, this glossary will help you to decipher your Unit of Study outlines and other materials you’ll see in class.

Explore Sydney

Of course, one of the best reasons to study at the University of Sydney is that you will be right in the heart of our amazing city. The University is surrounded by world famous sites and attractions. There’s no shortage of activities to keep you busy between classes or on weekends. If you’re seeking inspiration, check out What's On in Sydney.

There’s always something to do on campus as well, with free student-led activities including BBQs, free lectures, markets, or sports.

You’re going to have the time of your life at the University of Sydney. You’ll learn valuable skills to help shape your future, while making lifelong friends and embracing new experiences.

Student Centre



1800 SYD UNI (1800 793 864)
or +61 2 8627 1444 (outside Australia)

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Last updated: 18 August 2023

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