The Complete Guide to Studying in Australia: Everything you Need to Know

In Australia, you’ll find friendly people with laid-back attitudes, great surf, stunning scenery, kangaroos and koalas, and a great education system. Australia’s been ranked as the third most popular destination for international students, which is why we think you should study here, too.
International experience is highly valued by employers, and schools and employers all over the world recognise degrees from Australian institutions. In fact, graduates from Australian schools and universities are highly sought after due to the impressive international reputation of the Australian education system. Overseas students can choose to study from a wide range of courses and degrees, and can also work while here.
But, there are certain things you should know before you get here.

Finding an institution

To study in Australia, you’ll need to submit an application to the universities and colleges that align with your desired education goals. Entry requirements will depend on the course you choose, but most require you to have completed high school, a recognised undergraduate degree (or equivalent), or relevant work experience.
In addition to this, you’ll also need to demonstrate a sufficient level of proficiency in the English language. This level of sufficiency will depend on the course and institution you choose, and if you don’t meet the mark, your acceptance may also depend on you taking an English language course upon arrival.

How to start your Lonsdale Journey

The international student admission process can be complicated and confusing, but in a nutshell it’s a case of:

  1. Talk to a team member from Lonsdale Institute
  2. Choose your course and intake date/s
  3. Prepare your supporting documents
  4. Complete an application via the Lonsdale Institute website (we can help you with Overseas Student Health Cover)
  5. Check your offer letter and sign your agreement for acceptance
  6. Make a payment and receive Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)
  7. Organise your visa
  8. Plan your travel to Australia (we can pick you up from the airport and help with student accommodation)

Lonsdale - Studying in Australia (5)

Getting a visa

Lonsdale - Studying in Australia (4)
If you want to travel to Australia to study, you will need a visa. However, the type of visa you need will depend on your nationality and duration of study. You can find out about all of the visa options here.
In order to obtain your visa, you’ll need to show that you can meet the financial obligations. This includes the cost of the specific course, the expenses incurred when living in the country, as well as airfare costs. Even if you’re planning to work while in Australia, you need to show you have financial security without taking into account any extra income you may earn.
You must also show that you’re a person of good character, that you have no serious illness or disease, and that you have adequate health insurance for the entire duration of your stay.

Accessing health insurance

Visitors in Australia under a student visa, with the exception of students from Belgium, Norway and Sweden, are required to take out Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the entire duration of their stay. OSHC will assist you in meeting the costs of medical and hospital care should you need it, and it will also cover limited benefits for pharmaceuticals and ambulance services.
Keep in mind that students from some countries will be required to undergo health examinations as part of the visa application process. You can check on the Department of Home Affairs website whether your country is included.
If you’re coming to study with Lonsdale Institute, we can organise your OSHC for you. We partner with NIB, one of Australia’s best and most affordable health insurance providers. Simply request for your insurance to organised on your application form, and we can take care of it for you.
Any Australian health fund can offer OSHC policies provided it has signed a legal agreement with the Commonwealth in order to provide these services. Details and costs of policies, including what an OSHC policy will and won’t cover, and any waiting periods that might apply, can be obtained by contacting each insurer directly.
If you’re coming to Australia from the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovenia, Italy or New Zealand, you’re covered by Medicare — Australia’s tax-funded public insurance program that covers medical care such as physician and hospital services, and prescription drugs. If you’re visiting from Norway, Finland, Maita and the Republic of Ireland you won’t be covered by your country’s reciprocal health care agreement with Australia.

Choosing accommodation

Lonsdale - Studying in Australia (2)
Once you’ve confirmed where you’ll be studying you can look for accommodation to suit your needs and budget. There are a number of different options available to you, including:

  • Short term: This is good for when you first arrive and while you’re finding your feet. Accommodation includes hostels, hotels, apartments, rentals through Gumtree and temporary housing supplied by your institution.
  • Rental: This is ideal for if you want to live by yourself or with a small group of people. You’ll need to sign a fixed-term lease and pay a security deposit or ‘bond’ up front, usually around four weeks rent. Some property owners or real estate agents might also ask for rent in advance, again about four weeks worth. Some or all of this money will be refunded to you once your lease agreement has finished.
  • Homestay: This is recommended if you’re looking for the comforts of home, with meals and cleaning included. Families offering homestay accommodation to students are thoroughly screened to ensure they provide an appropriate living environment.

Lonsdale’s Le Student 8 housing in Melbourne includes lots of options for relaxing with friends, from billiards, bars and restaurants to a gym, sauna, resort-style swimming and BBQs. It also offers the latest technology to keep your studies on track, communal kitchens on every floor, and a choice of single or twin room.
Lonsdale’s Link2 student housing in Sydney offers modern, secure, clean, fully equipped and well-managed accommodation. All properties are located in the CBD meaning everything is on your doorstep. A ready-made community, you can simply slip into Australian life and feel supported and social.
Should you choose a Lonsdale Homestay, you’ll pay a fee that covers accommodation, breakfast and dinner. Internet access is usually included too. All homestay accommodation is located within 30 minutes of the CBD.

Cost of living

Australia has what’s considered to be a high cost of living, but what you get in return is a quality lifestyle and education. Some of the costs you might need to factor in each week include:

  • On Campus Accommodation: $150-$280
  • Homestay Accommodation: $235-$325
  • Groceries and eating out: $80-$280
  • Public transport: $15-$55
  • Entertainment: $80-$150

If you’re renting, you’ll need to add:

  • Gas and electricity: $20-$60
  • Phone and internet: $20-$55


To help you afford to live in Australia, you can undertake part time work. Most student visas allow you to work for up to 40 hours per fortnight while your course is in session, and unrestricted hours during any scheduled course break. When you leave Australia, any superannuation you’ve earned can be claimed as a Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP).
To make the employment process simple, apply for a tax file number (TFN) from the Australian Tax Office. If you don’t have one, you’ll be taxed at a higher rate. You’ll also need to open an Australian bank account to deposit your earnings in, which you can find out how to do below.

Opening a bank account

In order to spend and earn money freely, you’ll need to open an Australian bank account. To open a bank account, firstly decide on which institution you’ll open an account with. Four large banks dominate Australian banking (ANZ, Commonwealth, Westpac and NAB), but there are also smaller ones offering financial services. Bankwest, for example, is a smaller bank with Australia’s largest bank ATM network.
Most banks offer student-specific accounts and will be happy to talk you through your options. Banks want more account holders so they’ll try to make it easy, with many banks giving you access to someone who speaks your language.
In terms of when you set up a bank account, that’s up to you. You might like to set up a transaction account before you arrive in Australia (you can do this up to three months before you arrive) via an online application form. Typically, the information you’ll need will include your passport number and expiry date. Once you’re in Australia, take this passport and proof of a permanent address, such as a rental contract, to start using your account.
If you’d prefer to set up an account in person, be sure to make an appointment at your chosen bank within six weeks of arriving. After that you’ll be required to show more identification.

Making calls

In order to stay in regular contact with your friends and family back home, you’ll need access to a good mobile phone plan. Phone plans in Australia have diversified to include both prepaid and postpaid options, and many offer student discounts. Prepaid gives you flexibility because you control how much you spend, however a contract can save you money long-term. A contract will also set you up with a phone if you don’t already have one. Keep in mind that phone contracts are usually 24 months.
If you’ll be needing internet too, many internet providers are also mobile and fixed phone carriers, meaning you can save even more money by combining the two. You’ll receive a modem and a phone (if you don’t already have your own) and you’ll pay a certain amount each month to get data allowance.
Your best bet is to organise this once you arrive in Australia, however it pays to do some research before you leave.
To make international phone calls from Australia, dial 0011 followed by your country code, the area code (if there is one), and then the telephone number.

Checking things off

Lonsdale - Studying in Australia
As soon as you make the decision to study in Australia, start making a list of everything you need to do. That way you can check things off as you go and not be left with any surprises when you arrive. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Is everything settled with the institute in terms of finances?
  • Is my visa completed and approved?
  • Is all my paperwork turned in?
  • When is my first class and what do I need for it?
  • Have I paid my housing deposit and how do I get my keys?
  • Is my homestay family ready to meet me? And is there anything I can do to say thank you for welcoming me into their home?
  • How will I get from the airport to where I’m staying?
  • What do I know about the area in which I’ll be living? How will I get around?
  • What do I know about Australian customs?
  • Have I got enough money to support myself if I can’t find work?
  • What’s the best way for me to stay in touch with everyone back home?
  • Should I start a blog about my adventures in Australia?
  • How should I say goodbye to my friends and family to ensure a good send off?

Start planning now

It might seem overwhelming, but learning and growing as a person is more than just what you study. Managing a new life in a new country builds resilience and character, and it puts you in good stead for what’s about to come — the real world. Challenge yourself, have fun, find yourself, and create new and lasting friendships along the way.
Need more convincing on why you should study in Australia? Check out this article on 8 Reasons to Study Abroad in Australia, and you’ll be completely sold!
Lonsdale Institute offers a range of courses in Sydney and Melbourne for students travelling and studying abroad. Contact us for more information about course and accommodation options for your study experience in Australia.