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Setting up at University in Australia

You have arrived! You have explored the university campus. You may still need accommodation. Where do you find out more details about your location to set up your life as a university student, without spending hours searching the web?

Links4UniLife provides an extensive database to quickly access verified links with details of services such as: accommodation; food and retail; health and medical facilities; post office; banks; transport networks; schools and libraries; and other services.

The orientation week (o-week) at your university will introduce you to leisure and social activities and interest groups organised by the students. Links4UniLife also provides a range of links to other activities, social networks, sporting groups, events and local entertainment at your location.


Once you have received confirmation of where you will be studying in Australia, you should look for accommodation that suits your needs and budget. Student accommodation is usually highly sought after and requires prior planning.

It is important to note that on-campus and homestay are extremely popular options and places are limited as a result. To ensure these options are available to you, you will need to apply with the appropriate service before leaving for university.

Alternate accommodation types can include rental, hostels, motels, residential halls and private colleges.

When looking at accommodation options, it is always important to confirm what the actual accommodation cost includes. In some instances, further expenses may apply, such as a bond, utility fees, catering, and internet. Other aspects to consider can also include the distance of your accommodation from your university campus and whether there is public transport, such as bus or train or if you will need your own vehicle.

Note: Australian residents who are full-time students may be eligible for financial assistance such as Rent Assistance and Relocation Scholarships through Services Australia. These can ease the financial burden of relocating, especially if you are from a regional or rural area.

Buying a property

There are a lot of individual real estate agents in Australia, however it is often easier to use the real estate directories.



Real Estate

All Homes

Renting a property

The easiest way to rent or lease a property is through a real estate agent, unless you know someone privately who is also renting out their accommodation. In either case, if you rent a property, you will be required to pay a security deposit or bond (usually four weeks rent). This bond is held by the relevant state government and is used at the end of your lease agreement to pay for any damages that have occurred during the rental that were not fixed. If the bond is not required at the end of the lease, then it will be refunded to you.

More information on bonds and your responsibilities when renting in Australia, can be found on your local Fair Trading government agency site:



Real Estate

All Homes

Short-term accommodation

It is often hard to secure accommodation before you arrive in a new location, hence it is common that international students choose to stay in short-term accommodation while they familiarise themselves with their new location.

In many cases, hostel accommodation is a popular short-term option until something more permanent can be arranged. Hostels generally provide a furnished bedroom with access to a shared bathroom and kitchen, laundry, lounge area and recreation facilities. In some cases, meals are also provided. You may also be able to pay more for a private room.

Short-term accommodation options can be found at:

YHA Hostels

Hostel World








University accommodation

Accommodation facilities operated by your university can also be a good option, as they tend to rent them exclusively to students. In most instances, university managed accommodation will be fully furnished, and will include all the essential utility services such as water, gas, electricity, and internet.

Find My Uni Accommodation

Uni Lodge



Halls of residence and private colleges

This accommodation usually located on campus or close to it, is typically connected with or owned by the university unless it is a private college. In most instances, students usually rent a single bedroom and share facilities (bathrooms and kitchens), although some colleges may provide apartment-style rooms with an ensuite and kitchenettes.

All utilities (electricity, gas, and water) and internet access are usually included in the fees. In addition, these types of accommodation also tend to offer a range of student services such as daily meals in a formal dining room and academic tuition.


Homestay often involve renting a room in a private home and sharing with the existing owners (usually a family). This can be a good option for younger students as you can enjoy all the comforts of a home, get to spend time with the family and often have meals and cleaning provided.

Australian Homestay Network



Living at home

Favoured by many students, living at home tends to be the cheapest accommodation option. However, this can put more emphasis on the individual student to make friends and connect with social activities around the university during the day rather than through alternate avenues such as shared accommodation or residential halls and colleges.


Accommodation (Contents & Building)

Whether you are staying in university accommodation, renting a flat, or sharing a house with friends or other students, you should consider purchasing private contents insurance to cover your personal belongings (e.g., items such as a computer, television, stereo, DVD player, etc.).

In Australia there are several insurance companies that offer different policies that may suit students at university. Some of the main content insurance companies are:








Private Health Insurance

If you are an international student with Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), you may consider purchasing private health insurance. Alternatively, domestic students can also purchase independent health insurance too. Member benefits, costs and eligibility can vary greatly between funds and insurance policies, so it is important to consider these when buying health insurance.




More information is also available at Private Health Insurance

Travel Insurance

The Australian travel industry tends to be reliable, however cancelled flights, lost luggage or other unplanned issues can arise. If you are travelling with valuables or are on a travel schedule you have to meet, travel insurance can help cover any mishaps or missed flights.



Vehicle Insurance

If you purchase or own a car, motorbike or other vehicle you will need to consider what type of insurance is required in your state or territory in Australia. There are a wide range of providers in Australia that offer vehicle insurance, some of them include:


Telephones/Mobile phones/Internet

In Australia there are several telecommunication companies offering mobile phone plans with different network providers. Each plan has its own advantages and disadvantages. If you are on a budget, it can be best to consider using a pre-paid mobile phone rather than a plan as this option will enable you to monitor and control your spending. Some of the mainstream telecommunication companies in Australia include:





Aldi Mobile




There are relatively few public phones on the streets, but they can be found at the airport, railway stations and other public centres. In addition to using coins, Telstra Phonecards can be purchased in $5, $10, and $20 amounts from newsagents, supermarkets, and chemists.

Making international calls from Australia can be conducted by dialling the following:

• the international access code 0011
• your country code (e.g., 86 for China)
• the area code for your city (if required)
• dial the selected telephone number.

Country Phone Codes


From coffee shops and restaurants to beauty salons and student travel agents, campuses may be equipped with a range of stores that mean you never have to leave the campus. The discounted student rates that these retailers typically provide are always welcome. You may also find useful services such as newsagents, pharmacies, post offices, banks, and supermarkets.

Off-campus, second-hand stores, sometimes referred to as op shops, offer a cheaper option for students on a budget. These shops offer donated clothing, furniture, and household goods at low prices. Alternatively, second-hand items are also available on online at:

Packs for Uni












Best Restaurants of Australia




However, be cautious when you are buying goods from private sellers. Do not provide an up-front payment to a stranger via money order or a wire transfer. Use secure payment options, such as PayPal or credit card. Especially be wary of online sellers offering goods and well-known brands at extremely low prices.

University Services

Student union

Student unions are student run organisations on campus that lobby for student rights and a range of political causes. They are the hub of student politics and offer interested students the chance to take a role in student leadership. They often provide a range of services such as student events, advice to those in need, clubs and societies, and safe spaces. Members may be eligible for special privileges such as discounts and access to union recreational areas.

The student services and facilities will vary depending on university campus sizes, student numbers and funding from student contributions.


Access to a well-stocked library makes it a lot easier to complete your assignments and get some quiet study done between classes. Some universities have a main library, as well as faculty-specific libraries (such as business or law).





Sporting Facilities

Being a university student does not just mean study and sitting in a lecture, with cheaper gym memberships and sporting clubs, students can keep active outside of the standard university day. Some universities also have sport fields, swimming pools and indoor stadiums that you can be used by students. Sports are a huge part of the culture in Australia, especially cricket, rugby, Australian football league, soccer, tennis, and hockey.

Find My Uni Services


Every city in every state or territory will most likely have a doctor. To find your local doctor, details are available via the General Practitioners directory. Similarly, there will also most likely be legal services and Australia Post for sending items back to your home or around the world.

It is important to remember that when receiving mail or parcels from home, strict quarantine and Australian Border Force laws apply to the items. It is therefore a good idea to tell your family and friends about Australia’s quarantine requirements and to ensure that declarations on parcels are accurate and provide sufficient detail about the goods inside.





Students with children

In Australia, there are multiple levels of education for children, plus playgroups and childcare. Playgroups are informal sessions where babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers, parents, and carers can meet in a relaxed environment. Children who go to playgroup can make new friends, have new experiences, gain self-confidence, and develop physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually.

Childcare can be expensive and difficult to secure. If you know where you will be living and the type of care you will require, it is recommended that your child’s name is added to the childcares waiting list as early as possible. In some instances, you may be eligible to claim an Australian Government Childcare Benefit and/or a Childcare Benefit to assist with the cost of childcare.

If you have children that will enrol in kindergarten and/or childcare, Australia requires your children to be immunised. To check whether your child is fully immunised, visit the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). Childcare services
will require an immunisation history statement for your child’s enrolment.

If your child’s vaccinations are not up-to-date then you should consult a doctor or your local council immunisation service about bringing your child’s vaccinations up to date. Children who were vaccinated overseas must have their vaccine records assessed by a doctor or an immunisation nurse and be offered vaccination as required. Once your child’s records have been reviewed and updated by your doctor, you can request an Immunisation History Statement from the AIR.

Between playschool and primary school, children aged three to five years old can attend kindergarten, otherwise known as preschool.

Preschools in your area

Goodstart Early Learning


Following on from kindergarten, if your children are going to attend primary or secondary schools in Australia, you will need to contact the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and complete an Dependant International Student Application. More information can be found at students with children.

Australian Schools Directory

Featured Universities

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