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What to do before you move to Sydney for university

Getting ready to study in Australia? We answer your questions

If you’ve just accepted an offer to study as an international student 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.



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.


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 Welcome Week which takes place the week before semester begins and is an important time for new students. 


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. These tips will help you get started.


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 a newly commencing international students arriving between Saturday 25 January to Sunday 23 February 2020, you can book a free shuttle to central Sydney locations. 


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! We’ve put together an overview of expenses you’ll need to consider. There are also a few helpful guides online which can help you calculate a budget for your week-to-week expenses, such as Expatistan’s cost of living index and Insider Guides’ cost of living calculator.


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.


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.


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. Making friends at university is easier than you think.

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

12 July 2018


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