Australia is a popular destination for international students, offering excellent educational opportunities and a vibrant cultural experience. If you’re planning to study in Australia, your first week will be crucial in setting up essential aspects of your new life. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the important steps to take during your initial days in the country to ensure a smooth transition. From setting up your Unique Student Identifier (USI) to exploring your new home, here’s everything you need to know.
Set up your Unique Student Identifier (USI)
Before you embark on your academic journey in Australia, it’s important to obtain a Unique Student Identifier (USI). This identifier is essential for studying at universities, attending TAFE (Technical and Further Education) institutions, or undertaking any other nationally recognized training programs. Without a USI, you won’t be able to receive your qualification or statement of attainment.
To create your USI, you must have arrived in Australia and cleared customs using your non-Australian passport and Australian visa as forms of ID. Once you have these documents, visit the USI website and follow the step-by-step instructions to create your unique identifier online. It’s recommended to obtain your USI as soon as possible after arriving so that you can provide it to your education or training provider.
For more detailed information and guidance on creating your USI, visit the official USI website at usi.gov.au.
Set up your phone
Communication is key, especially when you’re settling into a new country. If you’re bringing an unlocked phone with you to Australia, you have the option to choose between a prepaid service or a SIM-only plan. Prepaid SIM cards can be found in various shops, supermarkets, and mobile phone provider stores. These cards can be topped up online or at retail outlets for added convenience.
However, if your phone is locked to your provider back home, you may need to purchase a new phone in Australia. Most providers offer the option to pay off your phone as part of your monthly contract, which includes allowances for calls, text messages, and data.
Open a bank account
To manage your finances effectively during your stay, opening a bank account in Australia is essential. Visit a branch of any bank in Australia and inform them that you’re an international student looking to open an account. In order to open your account, you’ll need the following documents:
- Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE)
- Proof of address in Australia (such as a phone bill or lease agreement)
Additionally, it’s recommended that you obtain a Tax File Number (TFN) and submit it to the bank. While not mandatory to open your account, having a TFN will help ensure you’re taxed at the appropriate rate. You can find information on obtaining a TFN at the Australian Tax Office website.
Inform your education provider of your address
According to visa condition 8533, it is mandatory to inform your education provider of your residential address within seven days of arriving in Australia. This step ensures that your institution has accurate contact information and can assist you if needed. For more information on accommodation options in Australia, consult resources provided by your education provider or explore dedicated websites.
Get familiar with your campus
Before your classes begin, it’s a good idea to visit your new campus and acquaint yourself with its layout. Familiarize yourself with the best travel routes and navigate through the various facilities available to students. Many education providers organize Orientation Week (O-Week) activities, usually scheduled a week before classes start. O-Week presents an excellent opportunity to make friends, meet staff members, and become well-acquainted with your campus.
Detailed information about O-Week events, including information sessions, campus tours, and social gatherings, can usually be found on your education provider’s website. Take advantage of these resources to make the most of your time at university or college.
Understanding the transportation options in your new city is essential for seamless navigation. Australia has diverse public transport networks, varying by state or territory. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
Each state or territory has its own public transport network, which includes buses, trains, trams, and ferries. Visit the specific transport network website for your location to learn about ticketing systems, pricing, timetables, and planning your journeys. Some popular transport networks include:
- Canberra: Transport Canberra
- Brisbane: Translink
- Perth: Transperth
- Sydney: Transperth
- Adelaide: Adelaide Metro
- Melbourne: Public Transport Victoria
- Darwin: NT Department of Transport
- Hobart: Metro Tasmania
If your area isn’t covered by one of the above networks, search online for public transport options available in your city or town. Most transport websites also offer useful apps that can be downloaded to your phone for easy access to schedules and routes.
As a student, you may be eligible for discounts on public transport, depending on your location and course of study. Contact your education provider for more information regarding any concessions or discounts available to you.
Taxis are readily available in major cities, where you can either hail a cab or find a taxi rank in busy areas. If you prefer to book a taxi, search online for local taxi companies and make a booking over the phone. Alternatively, ride-sharing services like Uber and DiDi are also popular options. Download their respective apps on your phone to easily book rides. Ride-shares often offer competitive fares compared to traditional taxis.
Riding a bicycle
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly and economical way to get around, consider riding a bicycle. Cycling can help you save money while keeping fit. You can purchase a new bike at a store or opt for a second-hand one through platforms like Facebook Marketplace or online classifieds. However, it’s important to familiarize yourself with cycling laws in your state or territory to ensure your safety and avoid any fines. Some general rules include wearing a helmet, having reflectors on your bike, following road rules, and riding in single file.
Research the specific cycling rules for your location to stay informed and ride responsibly.
While some states or territories may have different rules, most allow student visa holders to drive with their current overseas license. Make sure your license is up to date and carry it with you at all times. Additionally, if your license is not written in English, carry an international driving permit or an accredited English translation as well.
To avoid fines and ensure road safety, familiarize yourself with Australian road rules. Each state or territory has its own regulations, so consult the appropriate transport authority or conduct online research specific to your location.
Explore your new home
Finally, after taking care of essential tasks, it’s time to embrace the adventure and explore your new surroundings! Australia offers diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and unique cultural experiences. Take this opportunity to visit local attractions, try different cuisines, and immerse yourself in the Australian way of life. Whether it’s exploring nature reserves, visiting famous landmarks, or attending cultural events, there’s something for everyone.
Remember to stay safe, be aware of your surroundings, and have fun discovering the wonders that Australia has to offer!
Your first week in Australia as an international student is crucial for setting up important aspects of your new life. From obtaining a Unique Student Identifier to opening a bank account, informing your education provider, and getting acquainted with your campus, each step plays a vital role in ensuring a smooth transition. Understanding the public transport options, familiarizing yourself with cycling and driving rules, and exploring your new home will further enhance your experience in this beautiful country. Embrace the opportunities, make connections, and enjoy every moment of your time studying in Australia.