How to Prepare for a move to Australia as an International Student

To best prepare for tertiary study you need to first understand what’s involved, how much time you’ll need, what your academic expectations are and how you’ll learn effectively. Once you’ve worked this out you can get to know your campus, set up your study space and warn your friends that you’ll be temporarily occupied with books. Simple.

But wait. Preparing for study isn’t quite that simple for you. Why? Because you’ve made the smart choice to study in Australia!

Studying in Australia

Australia is a global education powerhouse, home to some of the world’s best facilities and institutions. The range of study options is huge, with 22,000 courses offered through 1,100 institutions. More than 2,500,000 international alumni are making a difference in the world thanks to Australian study, and before long you will be one of them.

Lonsdale Institute was established in Melbourne in 2007, and is founded on a belief in the student experience. You’ll be in great hands here and we can’t wait to welcome you!

By now, you’ve likely explored your accommodation options. You’ve probably researched the surrounding area too. If you’ve opted for a homestay you’ll be happy to know that you’ve got a great family who will be taking care of you. If you’ve opted for student housing, you’ll very soon be hanging with friends over billiards, bars, restaurants, the pool and BBQs.

Sounds great, right? Let’s get you here.

Getting ready to move

Now that you’ve been accepted into your chosen study program it’s time to start planning for the move. You could be studying in Australia for four or twelve months, depending on the course you’ve chosen. Either way, that’s going to take some preparation. Your best bet is to make a checklist and start with the most important things first. Evernote is great for this, as it will allow you to access your checklist wherever you are and from any device.

1. Apply for a passport

To study abroad you must have a valid passport to travel, with an expiry date no less than six months from your estimated return date. If you need a passport, bear in mind that the process can take months.

2. Apply for a visa

To study in Australia you will need a Student Visa (Subclass 500) or a Visitor or Working Holiday Visa (Subclasses 600, 601, 651, or 417, 462) for shorter periods of study (up to 17 weeks of study permitted).
To stay up-to-date with visa changes, visit the Department of Home Affairs website.

3. Get health insurance

International students studying in Australia must have adequate health insurance cover for their entire time in Australia. You must not arrive in Australia until your health insurance starts . You can purchase your Overseas Students Health Cover (OSHC) from a range of insurance providers, listed on the Department of Health website.

4. Book your flights

If you can, arrive at least one week before orientation. This way you can get to know the city, get comfortable in your living arrangements, and apply for part-time jobs if you are planning on working (your Student Visa allows you to work up to 40 hours per fortnight).

Unfortunately there’s no ‘good’ time to be booking cheap flights to Australia, so just bite the bullet and get your flights early. It’s one less thing for you to worry about.

5. Get travel insurance

Travel insurance might not be mandatory like health insurance, but it is still worthwhile. Travel insurance will cover you for the things that OSHC doesn’t, such as 24/7 emergency medical treatment, personal liability, trip cancellations and delays, personal belongings and lost, stolen, or damaged luggage.

6. Visit your doctor

A thorough health check is a great idea ahead of a big move. No one knows your health better than your own personal doctor, so get a check-up and carry a copy of your medical records with you while in Australia. If you have any prescription medication you will need to advise your GP that you will be away for some time. If you are planning on stopping anywhere on your way to Australia, check with your doctor about any required immunisation.
There are no mandatory shots required for entry into Australia.

7. Organise your finances

As well as saving as much money as you can for your time overseas, you’ll need to set up an online account if you haven’t got one already. You’ll be able to access this account from most ATMs and debit or credit card facilities. Once you’re in the country, you’ll also be able to set up an Australian account.

Tell your bank and your credit card company that you will be studying abroad. You may be locked out of your account If you fail to notify them.

8. Refresh your language skills

Even if you think your English is pretty good, it pays to refresh your skills. Enrol in a language class, ask fluent friends for help and download apps like Duolingo. Every little bit helps! We also recommend you check out our guide to understanding Australian slang. It can be confusing!

9. Sell, store or ship items

If you are planning on coming to Australia for a long time, you’ll need to decide what to do with your existing belongings. If you have a home you want to keep, you might want to consider renting or subletting it fully furnished. If you have just a few boxes of valuables, ask Mum or Dad to house them temporarily. If you’ve got a ton of stuff you can’t let go of, look at getting a storage shed. Or, if you’re happy to wave goodbye to most of your belongings embrace eBay and Gumtree.

Posting a few items over to Australia for yourself is one thing, but posting or shipping all your belongings can get very costly.

10. Get your resume in order

If you are planning on working in Australia, get your resume ready and start applying for jobs before you’ve even arrived. This is an especially good tactic if you are arriving just before the peak season strikes, when employers are getting prepared. Wait until you arrive and you could miss the opportunity.

The importance of a checklist

Moving to a new country should not be taken lightly. Visas, job hunting, healthcare and other support systems need to be put in place. Don’t think of packing as your biggest job — it’s only one aspect. You can live without your favorite shirt, but you can’t study without the right documents and support.

Work on the list above, and once you’ve marked everything off you can start to pack.