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Studying in AustraliaPre-departure Information & Living in Australia

Pre-departure Information

Arranging travel:

You will need to make your own travel arrangements to Australia. Please try to arrive at least 1-2 weeks before the start of International Student Orientation to allow enough time for settling-in, adjusting to the climate and overcoming jet-lag.



You should prepare a folder of official documents to bring with you to Australia, including:

  • A valid passport with a Student Visa
  • An offer of a place/admission letter from GBCA
  • Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) issued by GBCA
  • Receipts of payments (e.g. tuition fees, OSHC, bank statements etc.)
  • Insurance policies (including OSHC)
  • Original or certified copies of your academic transcripts and qualifications
  • Other personal identification documents, e.g. birth certificate, ID card, driver’s licence
  • Medical records and/or prescriptions

If you are travelling with your family, you will need to include their documents as well. Keep all documents in your carry-on luggage. In case you lose the originals, make copies that can be left behind with family and sent to you.

What to Bring

Students are often surprised by how strict the Australian Customs can be. If you’re in doubt about whether your goods are prohibited or not, declare it anyway on the

Incoming Passenger Card which you will receive on the plane. Some students have received on-the-spot fines for not declaring items.


Baggage allowances vary according to your carrier, flight class and country of origin. Please check with your carrier prior to departure. Economy passengers are generally permitted 1-2 x checked luggage (total 20-35kg) and 1 x carry-on (7kg) for international flights, but only 20kg of checked luggage on domestic flights within Australia.

This will significantly limit the number of items you can bring, especially if you will fly within Australia to get to your final destination. Therefore, it is essential to think about the packing process very carefully. You will be able to purchase most things upon arrival in Australia.

Seasonal Considerations

Summer in Australia is from December to February, autumn from March to May, winter from June to August, and spring from September to November. For most of the country, the hottest months are January and February.

If you arrive in June or July, the coldest months of the year, you may need to bring or buy winter clothing and blankets. You may also need to purchase a heating appliance once you arrive. The weather in Melbourne is unique, which can go from hot to cold even in summer. You should bring a jumper and prepare for changing weather.


On most campuses, students usually dress informally. Jeans or slacks with t-shirts or blouses and sneakers or “running shoes” are almost standard dress. Shorts are often worn during the summer months and sandals are the most common footwear. It is acceptable for both men and women to wear shorts and sleeveless t-shirts. This is common during the hotter months.

A sports coat or suit and tie for men and appropriate dress for women is necessary for some functions such as formal dinners, a graduation ceremony, student dances or balls. For festive occasions, you may want to bring a traditional dress and some accessories.


The basic unit of the Australian currency is the dollar. There are 100 cents in one dollar ($1). Notes come in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations. Coins are issued in 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2 denominations. There are no 1-cent or 2-cent coins. Prices are rounded up or down to the nearest 5 cents in shops and supermarkets. For example, you would pay $1.95 for an item priced $1.97, but $2 for an item priced $1.99. https://www.studyinaustralia.gov.au/english/live-in-australia/banking

Australian Immigration

When you first arrive in Australia you will be required to make your way through the immigration

(follow the signs for Arriving Passengers as you leave the plane). An Immigration

Officer will ask to see your completed Incoming Passenger Card (given to you on the plane) along with your passport and student visa. The Immigration Officer will check your documents and may ask you a few questions about your plans for your stay in Australia.

Baggage Claim

Once you have passed through the immigration checks you will move to baggage claim (follow the signs) and collect your luggage. Check that nothing is missing or damaged. If something is missing or damaged, go to the Baggage Counter and advise them of your problem. Staff at the Baggage

Counter will help you to find your belongings or lodge a claim for damage.

Arrivals Hall

You will be able to leave the restricted area and enter the Arrivals Hall once you have cleared

Customs. Here you will find some retail and food outlets along with public telephones, an information booth and money exchange facilities. If you arrive on a weekend, you may like to exchange money here as most banks are not open on Saturdays and Sundays.


Getting from the Airport


Melbourne Airport, also known as Tullamarine Airport, is the primary airport serving the city of Melbourne, and the second busiest airport in Australia. International students will arrive at Terminal 2. You may choose either taxi, SkyBus, or buses or other services to get to your destination. A list of maps of the most commonly requested areas of Melbourne Airport could be found on the website:




Taxi is a a convenient way to get from the airport to your destination. You can catch a taxi from the designated taxi ranks unless you have pre-booked one. Taxi ranks are located on the ground floor outside Terminals 1 and between Terminal 2 and 3. Terminal 4 will operate a taxi rank once the construction of the new terminal is complete.


Fares and Surcharges

Taxi fares vary based on distance, location and time of travel. Additional charges apply on some public holidays when booking in advance, making an electronic payment, using toll roads, or when your taxi has five or more passengers. For more information, visit taxi.vic.gov.au/fares.

Using a taxi from the airport taxi ranks incurs an additional $2.70 fee that will be passed onto you.

Detector Dogs

You may see a Detector Dog at the baggage carousel or while waiting in line to pass through the immigration, screening luggage for food, plant material or animal products. If you see a detector dog working close to you, please place your bags on the floor for inspection. These dogs are not dangerous to humans and are trained to detect odours. Sometimes a dog will sit next to your bag if it sniffs a target odour. Sometimes dogs will detect odours from food you have had in the bag previously. A quarantine officer may ask about the contents of your bag and check you are not carrying items that present a quarantine risk to Australia.

Australian Customs and Quarantine

Once you have your luggage, you will go through the Customs. Be careful about what you bring into

Australia. Some items you bring from overseas can carry pests and diseases that Australia doesn’t have. You must declare ALL food, meats, fruits, plants, seeds, wooden souvenirs, animal or plant materials or their derivatives.

Australia has strict quarantine laws and tough on-the-spot fines. Every piece of luggage is now screened or x-rayed by quarantine officers, detector dogs and x-ray machines. If you fail to declare or dispose of any quarantine items or make a false declaration, you will get caught. In addition to on-the-spot fines, you could be prosecuted and fined more than AU$60,000 and risk 10 years in prison. All international mail is also screened.

Some products may require treatment to make them safe. Items that are restricted because of the risk of pests and disease will be seized and destroyed by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS). For more detailed information about bringing in food, animals, plants, animal or plant materials or their derivatives, please visit www.daffa.gov.au/aqis.

Receipts and Lost Property

Remember to always get a receipt.  The information that it contains (such as the taxi company, taxi ID number and time of travel) is vital should you accidentally leave any items behind or wish to provide feedback.  

Prepaid Fares

If you travel between 10pm and 5am you may be asked to pre-pay the estimated fare as a deposit. At the end of your trip, the meter will show the actual fare. You will then either need to pay the difference or will receive change for your trip. Many methods of payments are accepted, such as cash, credit card, debit card etc.


Uber service is available at Melbourne Airport. Visit the following website for instructions on how to catch a Uber and its pickup location. https://www.uber.com/en-AU/blog/melbourne/melbourne-airport-uberx-pickups-have-landed/

SkyBus Melbourne City Express


SkyBus offers an express bus service from the airport to the city centre. This service operates 24/7, including all public holidays. Buses run from every 10 minutes throughout the day.

Tickets can be purchased on arrival at the bus stop or purchased online at www.skybus.com.au.

On arrival at Southern Cross Station in the city, SkyBus provides a complimentary hotel transfer service, subject to availability, during the following hours:

0600-2230 Monday to Friday; 0600-1900 Saturday and Sunday, (excluding Christmas day).

For more information, visit www.skybus.com.au.

Living in Australia

Australia is enthusiastic. Our cities are diverse and multicultural. Melbourne is one of the world’s most vibrant cities. In the state of Victoria, 45% of people were either born overseas or have parents from overseas. Resident speak more than 150 different languages throughout the city and you can meet people from different countries around world. Melbourne is filled with exciting events and activities including:

  • Numerous dynamic, international festivals and events such as international arts, films and comedy festivals;

  • A multitude of sporting events including the Australian Open (Tennis), Spring Racing Carnival, the Boxing Day Test Cricket Match. Formula One Australian Grand Prix and Australian Football League;

  • Melbourne is a shopper’s delight with something for everyone including major department stores, outlet centres, fashion houses and international retail giants like H&M, Zara and Topshop, large shopping centres like Chadstone and outdoor markets including Queen Victoria Market, South Melbourne Market and Prahran Market;

  • Melbourne offers a wealth of entertainment from museums, galleries, exhibitions, zoos, beaches, theme parks and gardens. Venture outside the city to discover the diversity and beauty of regional Victoria, from wineries like the Yarra Valley to coastal villages such as the Great Ocean Road and Mornington Peninsula and alpine towns like Mount Buller and Falls Creek;

  • Melbourne is fast becoming a 24 hour city and there is always something to do when the sun goes down.

Arts and Culture

Melbourne reflects its multi-layered culture by hosting numerous dynamic, international festivals and events. International arts and comedy festivals are hosted each year, featuring renowned artists and comedians from all over the world. Free special events are frequently held in Federation Square located in the heart of Melbourne to celebrate the multicultural nature of the city.


Melbourne offers a wealth of entertainment from museums, galleries, exhibitions, zoos, beaches, theme parks and gardens. Venture outside the city to discover the diversity and beauty of regional Victoria, from wineries like the Yarra Valley to coastal villages such as the Mornington Peninsula and alpine towns such as Mount Buller and Falls Creek.


Melbourne is the sports capital of Australia. Every year the city hosts a multitude of sporting events including the Australian Open (tennis), Spring Racing Carnival (horse racing) and the Boxing Day Test Match (cricket). Watching a live Australian Football League (AFL) match in winter is also a popular pastime for many Melburnians. Soccer has also become increasingly popular with the introduction of the AAMI Park Stadium in Melbourne, which held the AFC Asian Cup in 2015.


As a bustling capital, Melbourne is a shopper’s delight offering something special for everyone. Major department stores, outlet centres, fashion houses and an increasing number of international retail giants such as H&M, Zara and Topshop are all easily accessible in the CBD. Venture out further and you will find large shopping centres, including Chadstone, the largest shopping centre in the

Southern Hemisphere with over 530 stores. Melbourne also has numerous outdoor markets, offering fresh food to shoppers daily. Queen Victoria Market, South Melbourne market and Prahran market are all popular for a weekly shop or to pick up speciality items. The Queen Victoria Market buzzes with energy when it comes alive at night during the winter season.



Melbourne is fast becoming a 24-hour city and there is always something to do when the sun goes down. There are plenty of options for restaurants and bars where you can eat and drink well into the night and fun-filled activities including night markets, restaurants, theatres, concerts and boutique shops.


Indicative Cost of Living

Students relocating to Australia should keep in mind the following costs when they undertake studies. When calculating the cost of living in Australia, students must also budget for student fees, textbooks and photocopying, rent, household expenses, utilities and telephone, food, travel, spending money, healthcare and medical insurance. The following annual living costs and expenses are anticipated to mitigate the risk of students falling into financial hardship during their stay in Australia: (information updated by the Department of Home Affairs as of 23/10/2019).

  • Single student: AUD 21,041

  • For a spouse or de facto partner of the student: AUD 7,362

  • For a dependent child: AUD 3,152

  • Annual school costs for one child: AUD 8,296

The following should only be used as a guide as spending may differ depending on the student’s lifestyle. Cheaper no frills brands can reduce food costs for students, as can shopping at markets.

Student Studio Apartment (weekly): $180-250
Share House rental (weekly): $120-160
Overseas Student Health Cover (OHSC) per year: $480 per year
Public transport (PTV): (28 days) $176
Movie ticket: $12-16
Food – bread (700grs): $3.5–5
Milk (2 litters): $2.5-4
Cheese (500 grams): $4.5
Rice (1kg): $2
Big Mac meal (medium): $12
Mobile: (pre-paid monthly): $15-50

or further information on Living in Australia including planning your departure, arriving in Australia, accessing support services, remaining visa compliant, working while you study, living costs and finding accommodation, health and safety, visit the following links provided by the Australian Government sites.

Study in Australia – http://www.studyinaustralia.gov.au/

Live in Australia – http://www.studyinaustralia.gov.au/global/live-in-australia

Study Melbourne (government site) This includes information on Study options, before you arrive, where to live, work, money, transport (including flights and airports), entertainment, help and advice for students. The law and your rights, visas, accidents and emergencies, safety, health service, consulates and embassies and support services.  http://www.studymelbourne.vic.gov.au/

We recommend both of these sites as they are owned and updated by the Australian Government.

Melbourne’s Public Transport

Three forms of public transport operate in Melbourne:

  • Train

  • Tram

  • Bus

Myki is Victoria’s ticket system. It is used on all trains, trams and buses in metropolitan Melbourne. Myki is also in use on most V/Line services (regional Victoria’s trains and coaches) and regional town bus systems.  It can be topped up at the stations or online at http://ptv.vic.gov.au/application/MYKIcvm/topup/index.html. You can also use digital myki on your Android phone on the Google Pay app.

With Mobile Myki, you can:

  • top up on the go

  • Touch on and off with your phone

  • Know your balance in real-time

Visit https://www.ptv.vic.gov.au/tickets/myki/mobile-myki/ for more information

Travelling with Family

Most student visas allow you to bring your family members to Australia as your dependants (check your individual circumstances with the Department of Home Affairs ). Family members include your spouse, and you and your spouse’s dependent children. Before bringing your spouse or children to Australia, you will have to prove that you can support them financially. The cost of supporting a family in Australia is very high. You may have to consider and discuss many issues with your family.

Issues to Consider

Rather than bringing your family together with you to Australia, some students may find it useful to arrive first, settle into studies, find appropriate accommodation, adjust to living in Australia and then arrange for their family to join them. Before making a decision to bring your family to Australia it is important to consider the following issues:

  • The cost of airfares for your family to and from Australia;

  • Possible higher rent for a larger home;

  • Limited employment opportunities for your spouse;

  • Extra costs for food, clothing and other necessities;

  • The effect on you and your studies if your family is not happy in Australia;

  • Whether your children will adjust to school in Australia;

  • Waiting lists for child care centres; and

  • Whether to come alone to Australia first and arrange things for your family, or to all come at the same time.

Travelling with Family

Most student visas allow you to bring your family members to Australia as your dependants (check your individual circumstances with the Department of Home Affairs ). Family members include your spouse, and you and your spouse’s dependent children. Before bringing your spouse or children to Australia, you will have to prove that you can support them financially. The cost of supporting a family in Australia is very high. You may have to consider and discuss many issues with your family.

Issues to Consider

Rather than bringing your family together with you to Australia, some students may find it useful to arrive first, settle into studies, find appropriate accommodation, adjust to living in Australia and then arrange for their family to join them. Before making a decision to bring your family to Australia it is important to consider the following issues:

  • The cost of airfares for your family to and from Australia;

  • Possible higher rent for a larger home;

  • Limited employment opportunities for your spouse;

  • Extra costs for food, clothing and other necessities;

  • The effect on you and your studies if your family is not happy in Australia;

  • Whether your children will adjust to school in Australia;

  • Waiting lists for child care centres; and

  • Whether to come alone to Australia first and arrange things for your family, or to all come at the same time.

Schooling for Your Children

If you would like to bring your children to Australia with you, you must be aware of the following schooling issues:

  1. It is an immigration policy that school-age dependants of international students undertake formal schooling while they are in Australia.
  2. Children who have their fifth birthday before 30th April of that calendar year are eligible to start school in Victoria.
  3. You will need to provisionally enrol your child in a school before you leave your home country and you will normally have to pay the school fees one semester in advance. The school will issue an electronic Confirmation of Enrolment Form (eCoE) stating the program and its duration, so that you can obtain the appropriate visa for your child.
  4. The Diplomatic Mission in your country can tell you which State schools are registered to take international students. Fees are payable by international students at all State schools unless you:
    • Are in receipt of sponsorship or scholarships from the Australian Government (e.g. the Australian Development Scholarship, IPRS);

    • Hold a higher institution or approved non-government scholarship. These scholarships must be approved by the State government for the dependants to be exempt from school fees.

  5. You will be responsible for school fees and other costs including school uniforms, books, excursions and stationery.
  6. When choosing the most appropriate school for your child, it is best to ask questions about the school’s curriculum, size, extra-curricular activities and the size of individual classes.
  7. You should also take into consideration the distance from the school to your education institution, the suburb in which you intend to live and the method of transport you plan to use.
  8. Most primary and secondary school students will be required to wear a school uniform to classes and other school activities. You should check with your education provider what is included in the uniform package.

Arranging Accommodation

Temporary Accommodation Hotels, Motels & Backpackers

Generally, the price you pay for accommodation will determine its quality. Price range from $50 per day to $500 per week. However, it can be expensive to stay in a good quality motel or hotel for a long period of time. Backpacker accommodation is relatively inexpensive but you may need to bring your own pillow and sleeping bag if you choose this option.

Staying with Friends or Family

If you know someone in Australia, this is a great way to settle-in to life here. Your friends or family can provide advice, support and encouragement in your first days in Australia. However, if you are under the age of 18 you must obtain approval from your education provider first.

Permanent Accommodation

Choosing Where to Live
Most students want to live within walking distance of the campus but this is not always possible and is usually determined by availability and cost. Often it is more convenient and more cost-effective to live further from the campus but closer to shops and public transport.

Homestay is an arrangement where students live with a local family or resident host in a private home. Homestays are an affordable way for international students to improve their English and experience Australian culture and lifestyle up close. Note: International students under 18 years of age must live in either a homestay, on-campus accommodation or with a relative approved by the Department of Home Affairs. Homestay students can be any age, but if you’re under 18 your booking process will be more detailed.

Our partner, Student Accommodation Services, will match you with an appropriate homestay host. Homestay arrangements include:

  • A single room: furnished (bed and study desk are a must)

  • Provide three (3) meals per day: breakfast: a choice of cereal, toast etc prepared by the student;
    lunch prepared by the student; dinner cooked different foods provided by the host family

  • The homestay fee also covers all costs for electricity, gas and water

  • The student pays for all telephone calls

  • Various house rules applicable within the host family

Homestay costs can range from $300 – 400 per week. If you would like EIA to arrange a homestay service, please indicate on the Student application for an enrolment form or contact our welfare officer at (03) 9410 3050.

Lease and Shared Accommodation

It is important to consider the full range of costs and responsibilities with leased accommodation. The demand is usually high and ranges generally from $150 –$250 per week unfurnished or $200 – $300 per week furnished depending on the size, condition and location of the house/apartment. Shared accommodation also varies greatly in price. Students can look for lease or share accommodation on the following websites:

Overseas Student Health Cover (OHSC)

EIA can arrange health cover for its students on request. Below are several health insurance companies that provide health insurance for overseas students:

Students may also take out additional cover in the form of Extra OSHC and students who could not previously access OSHC may now be able to access Optional OSHC. Some students may be exempt from enrolling in the OSHC such as students from countries whose Governments may have Reciprocal Health Agreements for students in Australia. Note: only some reciprocal health agreements cover students in Australia, some will only cover visitors. You should determine if you are eligible before you apply for your visa to come to Australia. Further information on OSHC can be found at:

If you come to Australia on a visa other than a student visa and undertake a short course of study of three months duration or less you will not be eligible for OSHC. It is wise to purchase travel or private medical insurance in this case.

What am I covered for?

OSHC provides a safety net for medical expenses for international students, similar to that provided to Australians through Medicare. Additionally, OSHC includes access to some private hospitals and day surgeries, ambulance cover and benefits for pharmaceuticals.

How do I use my OSHC card?

If you need to visit a doctor or medical centre, show your card at the end of the visit. You will be charged the doctor’s fee and the government fee component of that may be processed by the medical centre. If the medical centre is not able to process the government fee, pay the total amount, keep the receipt and you can claim the government fee back from your OSHC provider.

Medical Services

What do I do if I’m sick?

Use the Yellow Pages and phone the GP’s surgery or medical centre to make an appointment. If you have woken in the morning feeling unwell and would like to see a doctor that day, you will need to phone the doctor’s surgery early in the morning (8:00am – 8:30am) for an appointment. Please note however, that it may not be possible to get an appointment on the same day – you may have to wait one or two days before you can see a doctor.

Seeing a Doctor/Medical Certificate

When you attend your appointment, the doctor will ask you questions about your health and may give you a brief physical examination, such as checking your breathing, your throat, ears etc. The doctor will then give you some advice regarding management of your illness, and may give you a prescription for some medication. If you have had, or need to take time off studies you will need to get a medical certificate from the doctor to provide to your education provider. If your illness is more serious or the doctor is unsure of a diagnosis she or he may refer you for further tests eg: blood tests or x-rays, or to see a specialist Doctor.

Public Hospital Waiting Times


If you cannot get an appointment with a GP and want to go to a public hospital to see a doctor, you may find a public hospital which has a general practice clinic attached. If not, and you attend an emergency room to see a Doctor, be prepared to wait a VERY long time. It is not uncommon to wait more than 3 hours, and at some hospitals you could wait as long as 5-6 hours to see a doctor. It is common practice for a doctor or a nurse to make an initial assessment of your condition when you first arrive to prioritise the emergencies in the hospital. You will be seen as soon as the most urgent patients have been attended to. It is also common to remain in the emergency room for some time after a doctor has attended to you before you are instructed you can leave. Emergency department rules may include keeping you a little longer to observe you and ensure that your condition does not change and it is safe to send you home with the recommended treatment. It is the same for all patients – international students and Australian citizens alike.


GP surgeries do not have medications to dispense to you. You must take the prescription given to you by the doctor to a Pharmacy or Chemist to obtain the medication. You will need to provide the pharmacy with your OSHC card, your full name and address. You are able to walk in off the street to any pharmacy/chemist/drug store in Australia and will only have to wait a short while for your prescription medicine to be prepared.

Prescription Medication

Medication prescribed by your doctor is not free. You must pay the pharmacy. If the cost is more than AU$30.70 you can claim the difference back from your OSHC provider. Many pharmacists will offer you the option of having a “generic” brand of medicine. If the prescription medicine the Doctor has prescribed is also made available by a company which produces generic brands at cheaper prices, this option will be offered to you. This is ONLY offered if the content of the medicine is exactly the same as that prescribed by your Doctor. It will, however, assist you to pay less for your medicine.



Over-the-Counter Medication

Pharmacies/chemists also provide a variety of over-the-counter medications useful for treating colds, headaches, allergies and the like which do not require a prescription. Ask the pharmacist on duty for advice regarding the best medication for your symptoms. Ensure that you advise the pharmacist of any other medications you may be taking.

Dental and Optical

Dental and optical health services are not covered by your OSHC unless you take out extra cover. If you need to see a dentist or optometrist you will need to make an appointment (see the Yellow Pages) and pay the full fee of this service.

General Health and Safety

The Work Health and Safety Act / Occupational Health and Safety Act is strongly enforced Australia-wide. It means that you cannot be placed at risk through anything that you may be asked to do by EIA.  

Should you be asked to do anything you feel is unsafe:

  • Stop.

  • Advise the trainer of your worries and do not proceed.

  • Stop anyone else with you from doing anything unsafe.

It is EIA’s responsibility to keep you in a safe learning and working environment and you must not be allowed any work to be done that is unsafe.

We are an alcohol and drugs of abuse free environment: undertaking any part of your study intoxicated or affected by drugs of abuse may result in suspension or termination from the course. If you are caught selling or undertaking any other illegal activity, then you may be reported to the Police for appropriate action.

If you act unsafely, then you may be required to undergo additional training to demonstrate that you understand the safety requirements and are able to comply with them.

Emergencies – Dial 000

The Triple Zero (000) service is the quickest way to get the right emergency service to help you. It should be used to contact Police, Fire or Ambulance services in life threatening or emergency situations only. Emergency 000 lines should not be used for general medical assistance.


In Australia police protect people and properties, detect and prevent crime, and preserve peace for everyone. They are not connected to the military or politics. The police can help you feel safe. In a non-emergency situation you can contact the local police station directly on (03) 9637 1100 or 226 Flinders Lane, Melbourne East 3000.


The fire brigade extinguishes fires, rescues people from fires in cars and buildings, and helps in situations where gas or chemicals become a danger. As soon as a fire starts call 000 no matter how small or large the fire may be. See attached for the fire evacuation plans for all the levels of both La Trobe St Campus and Queen St Campus. Fire evacuation plans will be displayed clearly on each level.


Ambulances provide immediate medical attention and emergency transportation to hospital. Dial 000.

State Emergency Service

The State Emergency Service (SES) is an emergency and rescue service dedicated to providing assistance in natural disasters, rescues, road crashes and extreme weather conditions. It is made up almost entirely of volunteers and operates in all States and Territories in Australia. For emergency assistance in a FLOOD or STORM dial 132 500.


Lifeline’s 13 11 14 service is staffed by trained volunteer telephone counsellors who are ready to take calls 24-hour a day, any day of the week from anywhere in Australia. These volunteers operate from Lifeline Centres in every State and Territory around Australia.

Anyone can call Lifeline. The service offers a counselling service that respects everyone’s right to be heard, understood and cared for. They also provide information about other support services that are available in communities around Australia. Lifeline telephone counsellors are ready to talk and listen no matter how big or how small the problem might seem. They are trained to offer emotional support in times of crisis or when callers may be feeling low or in need of advice.

Poisons Information Line

For appropriate information, and advice to assist in the management of poisonings and suspected poisonings. The seriousness of a poisoning situation is assessed after a detailed history is obtained from the caller. Members of the public may be then given first aid instructions, information on possible symptoms, and advised on the need for assessment by a doctor or referral to hospital. The Australia-wide Poisons Information Centres have a common telephone number: 131 126.

Service Contact Number
Emergency (police, fire, ambulance) 000
State Emergency Service 132 500
Lifeline 13 11 14
Poison Information Line 131 126
Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800
Drug Information Hotline 1300 85 85 84

Emergency Translation

For translation service in an emergency situation dial 1300 655 010.

Sun Safety

In Australia, 15 minutes in the sun is sometimes all it takes for your skin to burn.

Protect yourself from Australia’s strong sun in a few easy steps:

  • Slip-on sun-protective clothing

  • Slop on SPF 30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen, at least 20 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every two hours outdoors

  • Slap on a wide-brimmed hat that shades your face, neck and ears

  • Seek shade

  • Slide on sunglasses

Wear sunscreen, a hat, and goggles or sunglasses to block UV light and sun reflected off snow.

Beach Safety

The beach is one of Australia’s most recognisable and enjoyable features. Here is how can we enjoy a day at the beach safely and help prevent accidents or injury.

To make sure you are safe when swimming at the beach remember the acronym FLAGS:

  • Find the red and yellow flags and swim between them.

  • Look at, understand and obey the safety signs.

  • Ask a lifeguard or lifesaver for advice before you enter the water.

  • Get a friend to swim with you.

  • Stick your hand up, stay calm, and call for help if you get into trouble.

You should also conserve your energy by floating on your back and staying calm if you are in trouble. This will ensure you have the energy to remain afloat until assistance arrives.


Rip currents: Every year almost 50% of beach rescues and at least 21% of drowning deaths are due to rip currents (sometimes called a ‘rip’). These are strong currents beginning around the shore that run away from the beach. Being caught in one may feel like you are in a flowing/moving river. Not all rip currents flow directly out to sea. Some may run parallel to the beach before ultimately heading out to sea. If you find yourself in a rip current, follow these steps:

  • Do not panic.

  • Do not try and swim against the rip current.

  • If you are confident, SWIM PARALLEL TO THE BEACH – often this is towards the breaking waves which can then assist you back to shore.

  • If at any time you feel you will be unable to reach the beach, raise your arm and call for assistance while floating to conserve your energy.

  • Always stay calm.

More information can be found on https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/beach-safety

Bites and Stings

For advice on bites and stings, based on your symptoms, visit the Symptom Checker at healthdirect.gov.au. In an emergency, phone triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance. An emergency involves any of these symptoms: central/crushing chest pain, unconsciousness, a seizure (fit), difficulty breathing or turning blue, badly bleeding, victim of a severe accident.

Weather Conditions

Watch out for natural hazards such as changeable weather conditions in Victoria’s alpine regions or remote national parks. Plan your activities and let someone know where you are going and what time you expect to return. Check Victoria’s weather and current warnings on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website.


In an emergency, phone triple zero (000) and ask for a fire, police or ambulance help. From time to time, EIA works closely with quality recruitment agents to attract qualified students to join our learning community. EIA will engage agents through a formal, written agreement that specify both parties responsibilities and obligations and the monitoring processes. All education agents are required to comply with the requirements set in the Higher Education Standards Framework 2015 and ESOS Act National Code Standards. If you are an agency who wishes to work with us, please write to us via info@eia.edu.au.

Managing my Finance

Setting up a Bank Account

You can choose to open an account in any Bank, Credit Union or Building Society in Australia.

Do your research to get the best deal. To open a bank account, you will need:

  • Your passport (with arrival date stamped by Australian immigration)
  • Student ID card
  • Money to deposit into the account (this can be as little as $10)

Anyone who wishes to open a bank account in Australia must show several pieces of personal identification which are allotted a points system. 100 points of identification is required to establish your identity as the person who will be named in the account. Your passport and proof of your arrival date in Australia will be acceptable as 100 points IF you open an account within six weeks of arrival in Australia. After this time you will be required to produce additional documentation.

As a student you will be able to open an account with special student benefits. Many banks have ‘Student Accounts’ which contain no or minimal fees for transactions that might normally be attached to regular savings accounts. You will also require the student ID card from your institution to prove you are a student and should have access to the benefits offered by a student bank account. For a comparison of accounts in banks throughout Australia see: www.banks.com.au/personal/accounts

Most people in Australia enjoy the convenience of Internet banking and/or Telephone banking, which enables them to manage their money, pay bills etc. from home. At the time you are setting up your account you can request these services from your bank.

Bank & ATM Locations


Working in Australia

If you are a student visa holder, you and your dependent family members have permission to work included with your visa. You and your family members must not breach the work conditions that apply to their student visa. Students and their families must not breach the work conditions that apply to their student visa. You cannot work until you have commenced your course in Australia. Once your course has commenced you are permitted to work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight when your course is in session, and unlimited hours when your course is not in session. Work that is a formal registered part of your course is not included in the limit of 40 hours per fortnight.

Voluntary, unpaid work, is not included in the limit of 40 hours per fortnight if it:

  • is of  benefit to the community

  • is for a non-profit organisation

  • is genuinely voluntary (that is, you are not paid either in cash or other—board and lodging is acceptable).

You must obtain a Tax File Number to be able to work in Australia. This is available from the Australian Tax Office. (https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Tax-file-number/Apply-for-a-TFN/)

Workers in Australia – including visa holders with permission to work – have rights under Australian workplace law. The Fair Work Ombudsman Pay and Conditions Tool (PACT) (https://calculate.fairwork.gov.au/) provides information on pay rates, shift calculations, leave arrangements and notice and redundancy entitlements. All workers in Australia have rights and protections at work. This includes foreign nationals, whether they are working lawfully, are working in breach of their visa conditions, or have overstayed their visa. Your employer must comply with Australian workplace and immigration laws. The Fair Work Ombudsman (https://www.fairwork.gov.au/find-help-for/visa-holders-and-migrants) can give you further information and advice about your workplace rights and obligations, and has workplace information translated into different languages.

Your Employer Cannot Cancel Your Visa

Your employer can’t cancel your visa, even if it’s been breached. Only the Department of Home Affairs can grant, refuse or cancel visas. We’ve set up an arrangement with the Department of Home Affairs to support and encourage migrant workers to come forward to request our assistance and provide us with any evidence or information about exploitation. This will help us to better understand the issues faced by visa holders and migrant workers so that we can educate employers and employees about entitlements and obligations. A person’s temporary visa will not be cancelled if they:

  • Had an entitlement to work as part of their visa
  • Believe they have been exploited at work
  • Have reported their circumstances to us
  • Are actively assisting us in an investigation

This applies as long as:

  • They commit to abiding by visa conditions in the future
  • There is no other basis for visa cancellation (such as on national security, character, health or fraud grounds)

For temporary visa holders who don’t have work entitlements attached to their visa, the Department of Home Affairs will consider the case on its merits. Helpful recordkeeping hints when you start working in Australia:

  • Keep a diary of days and hours worked
  • Keep copies or records of employment details, pay slips, agreements and superannuation and tax documents

More information can be found at:

  • https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/trav/work/work/workplace-rights
  • https://calculate.fairwork.gov.au/
  • https://www.fairwork.gov.au/find-help-for/visa-holders-and-migrants

Finding Work

You may find it difficult to find work in Australia as you will be joining the general Australian population in your search; therefore you should not rely on income from employment when budgeting to pay for living expenses. There is no guarantee that employment companies will find work for you.

There are many different ways to find a job in Australia:

  • Newspapers
  • University Job Boards Online
  • Seek: www.seek.com.au/
  • Career one: www.careerone.com.au/
  • My career: www.mycareer.com.au

Earning an Income


Taxes are managed through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The tax you pay depends on how much you earn.

Getting a Tax File Number

You must obtain a Tax File Number to be able to work in Australia. A tax file number (TFN) is your unique reference number to our tax system. When you start work, your employer will ask you to complete a tax file number declaration form. If you do not provide a TFN your employment will be taxed at the highest personal income tax rate, which will mean less money in your wages each week.

You can apply for your TFN online at www.ato.gov.au or phone 13 28 61, 8am to 6pm

Monday to Friday. For the ATO translating and interpreter service phone: 13 14 50.

Taxation Returns

If you pay too much tax you are entitled to a refund. To get a refund you will need to lodge a tax return. You can lodge online using e-tax (free), by mailing a paper tax return, or by paying a registered tax agent to complete and lodge the return for you. If you lodge by e-tax your refund will normally be issued within 14 days.

Lodge online using e-tax at www.ato.gov.au

For a registered tax agent visit www.tabd.gov.au

Tax returns are lodged at the end of the Australian tax year – (1 July to 30 June).


If your monthly wage is more than AU$450, your employer must contribute an additional sum equal to 9.5% of your wage into a superannuation (pension) account for you. In most cases, you can access your contributions when you leave Australia permanently, although the contributions will be taxed. To check your eligibility to claim your superannuation and to apply for your payment, visit:

www.ato.gov.au/departaustralia. You will need to provide the details of your superannuation fund.

Laws and Safety in Australia

Obeying the Law

One of the reasons we have such a wonderful lifestyle in Australia is due to our representative democracy, the separation of powers, and our respect for the rule of law. We have a lot of laws in Australia and as a result, society runs smoothly.

In being granted a visa to study in Australia, you signed a document (Australian Values Statement Temporary) agreeing to respect Australian values and obey the laws of Australia for the duration of your stay. Failure to comply with the laws of this land (including State and Territory laws) could result in a fine or the cancellation of your visa and possible deportation back home. If you are convicted of a serious crime, it could result in imprisonment. Nobody wants this to happen!

You can find a comprehensive outline of Australian law and the legal system at:


Legal Services & Advice

If you do break the law are arrested and need to attend a court appearance you will need legal representation to negotiate Australia’s complex legal system.


Personal Safety

When you are out and about it is important to be alert and aware of your personal safety.

If you are going out at night remember:

  • Think ahead – consider how you are going to get home – what about pre-booking a taxi or arranging transport with a friend or family member?
  • Never hitch-hike.
  • Make sure that you stay with your party and that someone knows where you are at all times.
  • Make sure you have enough money to get home or to phone.
  • Keep away from trouble – if you see any trouble or suspect that it might be about to start – move away from the scene if you can. The best thing you can do is to alert the police and keep away.
  • Walk purposely and try to appear confident. Be wary of casual requests from strangers, like someone asking for a cigarette or change – they could have ulterior motives.
  • Try not to carry your wallet in your back trouser pocket where it is vulnerable and in clear view.
  • See also “Drink Spiking” under Alcohol, Smoking & Drugs.

If you are out and about:

  • Be alert to your surroundings and the people around you, especially if you are alone or it is dark
  • Whenever possible, travel with a friend or as part of a group
  • Stay in well-lit areas as much as possible
  • Walk confidently and at a steady pace
  • Make eye contact with people when walking – let them know that you have noticed their presence
  • Do not respond to conversation from strangers on the street or in a car – continue walking
  • Be aware of your surroundings, and avoid using personal stereos or radios – you might not hear trouble approaching
  • always keep your briefcase or bag in view and close to your body
  • Be discrete with your cash or mobile phones
  • When going to your car or home, have your keys in your hand and easily accessible
  • Consider carrying a personal attack alarm
  • If you do not have a mobile phone, make sure that you have a phone card or change to make a phone call, but remember – emergency 000 calls are free of charge.

Road Rules

If you are going to drive in Australia, no matter whether you are an experienced driver and have an international drivers’ licence or not, YOU MUST KNOW THE ROAD RULES before you attempt to drive (even 10metres)! Many lives are lost on Australian roads every year and international visitors are at high risk! If you come from a country where you drive on the opposite side of the road to

Australia it is sometimes helpful to have a companion drive with you to ensure you both take note of traffic conditions and signs until you are more familiar with driving on the left side of the road. A handy tip is not to think of it as the other side of the road, but to think that the “white line” (or centre dividing line on the road) is on your side as the driver, just as it is in all countries. It is recommended that you take one or two driving lessons in Australia before you begin to drive here on your own.


Owning a Car


Any motor vehicle you own must be registered before you drive it on the road. You must register it in your name and provide the State car registration board with your driver’s licence details and your residential address in Australia.


It is recommended that you have car insurance if you own a car, this will protect you if you have an accident that is your fault as it will help pay for any damage you may have caused to your car or another car.


There are very obvious reasons for having speeding and traffic rules. The risk of being involved in an accident increases with the speed a vehicle is being driven because there is less time to react, less control of the vehicle and the distance needed to stop is longer. The higher the speed a vehicle is travelling when it hits a pedestrian, the greater the chance of a fatality occurring. Speed kills.

Mobile Phones and Driving

The use of mobile phones when driving is dangerous, against the law if it’s not hands-free, and potentially fatal. This applies to sending or receiving text messages as well as calls. Operating a mobile phone while driving makes you nine times more likely to be killed in a collision. Police actively target the use of mobile phones by motorists. Fines are considerable and demerit points penalties do apply. You should be aware of how to legally use a mobile phone while driving.

Demerit Points Scheme

The Demerit Points Scheme is a national program that allocates penalty points (demerits) for a range of driving offences. The scheme is designed to encourage safe and responsible driving. Along with financial penalties, demerit points provide a strong incentive to drive within the law.

Different offences have a different number of demerit points. A complete list of all offences, demerit points and fines can be downloaded from the related links section.

Licence Requirements

In most States/Territories of Australia if you hold a current driver licence from another country, you are allowed to drive on your overseas licence as long as:

  • You remain a temporary overseas visitor
  • Your overseas licence remains current
  • You have not been disqualified from driving in that State or elsewhere and
  • You have not had your licence suspended or cancelled or your visiting driver privileges withdrawn.

Most overseas visitors are not required to obtain an Australian licence if you comply with these conditions and can continue to prove your genuine visitor status to State Police if required.

Note: If you are a licence holder from New Zealand, you must obtain an Australian driver licence within three months of residing in Australia or you must stop driving.

When driving in NSW you must carry your overseas driver licence. Your licence must be written in

English or, if the licence is not in English, you must either carry an English translation or an International Driving Permit. If you are a temporary overseas visitor and you wish to obtain an Australian licence seek advice from your local Police Station.

Adjusting to Life in Australia

While living and studying abroad may be an exciting adventure, it can also present a range of challenges. Having decided to study and live in Australia you will be undertaking adjustments in many areas of your life including cultural, social and academic. It is also important to remember that while these changes are occurring you will be embarking upon a new semester of study (for many of you in a different language) and be away from your usual supports, networks and resources. Adjustment to a new country and culture is a process that occurs gradually and takes time. The values, beliefs, traditions and customs of your home country may vary greatly from those in Australia and adapting to the Australian way of life may take some time.

Listen, Observe and Ask Questions

Adjustment to a new culture and way of life takes time. Allow yourself time to observe those around you and patterns of both verbal and non-verbal communication. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if there are things you do not understand as this will reduce the chance of confusion or misunderstandings.

Become Involved

Make an effort to meet people and become involved in groups both on campus and in the wider community. Maintain an attitude of openness to new situations and experiences. Establishing friendships and joining groups is the best way to experience and learn about Australian culture and will certainly mean you have a richer and more enjoyable time here.

Try to Maintain a Sense of Perspective

When confronted with difficulties remind yourself that living and studying abroad is a challenge and it is normal to feel stressed, overwhelmed and out of your depth at times.

Try to recall or make a list of the reasons you initially wanted to study abroad in the first place. Listing positive events or changes within yourself that have occurred since you arrived may also assist with getting things in perspective.

Maintain some of the routines and rituals you may have had in your home country.

This can include small things such as continuing to drink a certain type of coffee or tea or eating specific foods. It may also include maintaining involvement in bigger events such as celebrating a national day in your country of origin with a group of friends or finding a cultural group related to your home country for support.

Keep lines of communication open with those at home.

Communicating with those at home regularly about your experiences of study and life in Australia, through emails, telephones and letters, is vital. Not only does it help to keep you connected with important social supports, it also assists your friends and family to understand your experiences which will smooth the transition when you return home.

Sense of Humour

Importantly, remember that living in a different culture means you will inevitably find yourself in a range of unusual and often confusing situations. Being able to laugh in these situations will remind you that it takes time to understand different cultures and that it is ok to make mistakes.

Ask for Help

Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance or support if you need it. In addition to the

Counselling Service there are many organisations set up on campus to ensure you have a successful and enjoyable time in Australia.

Finally, relax and enjoy the journey!