Before you leave
Once your Confirmation of Enrolment comes through and you’ve secured your student visa, it’s time to start thinking of some of the practicalities of travelling to Australia, as you are now set to study abroad.
It’s worth packing a few mementos from home that will give you some comfort when you’re missing your friends and family, but keep in mind that most airlines have a checked baggage restriction of about 20kg (about 44lb).
The type of clothing you should bring with you depends on the part of the country you will be living in, and the time of year you arrive. The Australian summer coincides with the first academic semester in February, which is when most international students arrive. This means that you can probably get by with jeans, t-shirts and light jackets. If you arrive in time for the second academic semester around July, you’ll need to pack some warm jumpers or sweaters, long-sleeved t-shirts and a coat to cope with winter weather. However, Australian winters are mild in comparison to the icy weather you’d encounter in the Northern Hemisphere. Check out www.bom.gov.au for the latest weather information around Australia.
Chances are pretty good that your trip will go smoothly and you won’t encounter any problems. Even so, you should plan for the unexpected. Cancelled flights, lost luggage and wallets can end up costing you a lot of time and money, so take out travel insurance before you leave. It won’t guard against bad things happening, but it will protect you against having to cover unexpected costs.
All student visa holders entering Australia must have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the duration of their stay. OSHC will help you pay for any visits to the doctor you may have while in Australia. Go to the Overseas Student Health Cover page for information on what your OSHC will cover.
You should bring enough Australian currency in cash for your first few days, without carrying large amounts of cash on you. You should also have easy access to about AUD $1,500–$3,000 in travellers’ cheques (in your name) so that you can start establishing yourself and setting up your new home quickly.
Note that if you are carrying more that AUD $10,000, or equivalent currency, you must declare it to Customs officials when you enter Australia.
It’s a good idea to try to organise a permanent place to live before you arrive in Australia. However, you may decide to wait until you arrive to get an idea of distances between your campus and surrounding suburbs, or to inspect private rental accommodation.