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What to do before you move to Sydney for university

Getting ready to study in Sydney? We answer your questions

If you’ve just accepted an offer to study at the University of Sydney, you probably have many questions running through your mind. This checklist will help prepare you for the move to Sydney.

Infographic of suitcase packing

1. Sort out your visa

You’ve accepted your unconditional offer and received an ‘electronic confirmation of enrolment’ (eCoE) – congratulations! The first thing you need to do is obtain your visa. This can take a while to process, so it’s important to get started on this as soon possible. Here’s how to apply for your visa.

2. Health insurance

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is health insurance for international students that helps to cover medical costs in Australia. It is a condition of your student visa that you maintain OSHC for the duration of your studies.

3. COVID-19 rules and restrictions

Fully vaccinated international students can travel to Sydney without needing a travel exemption. Make sure to check government advice for the latest requirements on COVID tests and isolation rules. The Australian Government website will have the latest updates on travel, COVID testing requirements and visa restrictions before you travel. We're committed to supporting our students, staff and community members through this difficult time and will continue to update you as we adapt to life and study during the COVID-19 pandemic.

4. Book your flights

Once you have your visa, it’s time to organise your flights. If you can, aim to arrive in Sydney at least a couple of weeks before semester starts, so you have more time to settle in, meet people (and do some sightseeing!) before classes begin. When booking your flights, keep in mind the University’s study dates, including Orientation which takes place the week before semester begins and is an important time for new students. 

5. Find a place to live in Sydney

Moving requires a lot of research, so you’ll first need to decide whether you’d like to live on or off-campus – make use of the University’s Accommodation Services to help you find your best options. Remember to check which campus you will be studying on and public transport options, as this may change where you want to live. On-campus student accommodation is very popular and can be booked up fast, so make sure you apply as soon as possible.

Sydney is a great place to live, with each suburb having its own unique culture. Off-campus accommodation is usually a private rental organised through a real estate agent or other housemates. Here's a handy accommodation checklist when organising a rental.

6. Plan your airport transport

Once you have sorted out your living arrangements, work out the best way to get there from the airport when you arrive. You don’t want to have to walk a long way with your luggage, so check the distance to public transport and how to order a taxi. If you're an international student arriving between Wednesday 15 December 2021 and Saturday 30 April 2022, you can book a free shuttle to central Sydney locations. 

7. Work out the cost of living

Your living costs will depend on a lot of different variables, including your lifestyle and where you choose to live. This is the time to be independent! There are also a few helpful guides online which can help you calculate a budget for your week-to-week expenses, such as Insider Guides’ cost of living calculator.

8. Pack your bags with things you’ll need in Australia

First of all, get all of your paperwork together. This includes medical documents and prescriptions, visa documents, identification, insurance and the documentation that you used in your application (including transcripts and testamurs). You’ll also need to bring your laptop, charger and adaptor.

You’ve probably heard about Sydney’s beautiful beaches and warm weather, but don’t forget to pack some warm clothes, especially if you’re arriving in July. Australia can be hot – but it can also get cold too! Don’t worry if you can’t fit everything into your suitcase – there are plenty of shops and markets in Sydney, including Broadway Shopping Centre across the road from Camperdown campus. Save some room in your suitcase to bring photos and other personal items to remind you of home.

Remember, there are strict laws on what can and can’t be brought into Australia, so it’s important to check the Australian customs website before you pack.

9. Find out how and when to enrol

You may need to enrol before you move to Australia – this will depend on when you receive and accept your offer. We’ll email you once enrolment for your course has opened and provide you with your Unikey and password (which you’ll use to log in to all University systems). However, you need to be aware of relevant enrolment deadlines for your course. Here’s everything you need to know about the enrolment process.

10. Become a part of our community!

We know it can be tough moving overseas, so make the transition as smooth as possible by getting in touch with other students through our international student community Facebook and Instagram pages, where we post tips and events to help you get settled. You can also join our University of Sydney Peer Support Advisor Discord server to connect with your peers, get any questions answered, and share your experiences about life in Sydney. Making friends at university is easier than you think.

Find out what to do when you first arrive in Australia.

Last updated: 25 January 2022

12 July 2018

Free airport shuttle for international students

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