Arriving & Living in Australia

Whether relocating from interstate or overseas, moving for study can be a daunting prospect. Here at Opulence College, we want all our students to have the best experience from the moment they apply to study with us, so we have put together all the information you need in a handy guide to make the process of moving and living in a new place less challenging.

How to get to Canberra

For domestic students, and international students already living in Australia, there are a number of options for travelling to the nation’s capital. The quickest way to travel from the major cities is to fly, and for shorter distances (or cheaper alternatives), train or bus. Students can also drive to Canberra, which is only 3 hours away from Sydney, and 8 hours from Melbourne.

International students have the option to fly directly into Canberra (only from select destinations) or fly into one of the major international airports (Perth/Brisbane/Sydney/Melbourne) and either take a connecting flight to Canberra or catch a bus interstate.

Airport Reception​


All international students have the option to book our airport reception service by contacting our friendly admission team when applying to study at Opulence College. A staff member will greet you on arrival at Canberra Airport and will accompany you to your accommodation.

Alternatively, students can take their own route. Visit Transport Canberra for information on public transport, tickets, and journey planning.

Choosing the right accommodation can make the difference while studying in Australia! Luckily, there are lots of options available for students to ensure they have the best possible experience for studying in Canberra. Canberra has a wide range of accommodation types, from one-bedroom units to city apartments and suburban houses. You will need to consider whether you want to live by yourself or to share rooms and bathrooms – potentially with strangers. Shared accommodation is often a great way to meet new people and make friends, and is generally cheaper, but for those who prefer their own space, living in a studio is also one of the great and affordable options.

There are lots of useful websites to help you to find the right accommodation:



Living with a Canberra host family in a homestay is popular among international students as it helps you practice your English and gives you extra support on your arrival in a foreign city. You can stay for your first 2–4 weeks with an option to extend if you wish.



When using websites to find accommodation, it is important for you to research whether they are legitimate providers by talking to friends in Australia or by speaking to Opulence College’s friendly staff. Using real estate agents is usually the best way to guarantee safety and standard of living, otherwise using websites such as Flatmates could be another option as they vet all users. Please be advised that you must inspect any properties that you are going to rent prior to entering into any agreements with the landlords.

Canberra is considered one of the safest cities in Australia, however, there are still many potential dangers to be aware of, especially at night. If you or someone you are with are in need of emergency assistance from the Police, Ambulance Service or Fire Brigade, call Triple Zero – 000.

In accordance with student visa conditions, all international student visa holders must maintain an adequate level of health insurance for the duration of their studies in Australia. Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) provides public and private cover for medical and hospital visits, including GPs or specialists, as well as limited pharmaceutical cover, in the event of unplanned medical and hospital care. Students and their dependents must purchase OSHC before arrival in Australia and the evidence of purchase must be included in the student visa application.

There are currently six Australian Private Health Insurers that offer OSHC:

Some students may be eligible for Medicare (Australia’s universal health insurance scheme) if their country of residence has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia (United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Italy or New Zealand). However, students from these countries are still required to purchase OSHC, and any entitled Medicare coverage will be in addition to the OSHC. Exemptions to the OSHC requirement may apply to students from Sweden, Belgium and Norway, who have special arrangements under their own national schemes. To see if an exemption may apply to you, check the Department of Home Affairs website for current information.

When you move to Australia to study, one of the most important things to organise is an Australian bank account. While it may be possible to use your overseas account, it is often more reliable to have funds in Australia to make payments easier, as well as to allow you to get a local job. What’s more, many of the larger banks in Australia offer special student accounts, which have reduced or no account fees, and extra benefits such as retail discounts. 

Key things to consider when researching bank accounts:

  1. Account fees– Does the bank charge fees for withdrawing, overdrawing, foreign ATM use, or international transactions? Most student accounts do not have monthly keeping fees, but it is worth comparing banks to make sure you are aware of all costs.
  2. 24/7 access– It is common practice for banks to offer online banking and mobile apps to make banking on the go that much easier, ideal for international visitors. While not a major issue, some apps are more user-friendly than others, so do your research beforehand to find which banks offer the best features for you.
  3. Opening an account from overseas– Some banks, such as Commonwealth Bank of Australia, allow customers to open an account from overseas, and the ability to deposit funds before arriving in Australia. This means you can have easy access to your money from the moment you touch-down in Australia. You usually need to visit a local branch to verify your identity, and there can be time-limits on this, so be sure to read all the terms and conditions!
  4. ATM access– Banks often charge you for using another company’s ATM, so check beforehand to see the distribution of each banks’ ATMs in your area.


There are four main banks in Australia:

These are distributed across the whole of Australia, and so access to in-branch services and ATMs is usually easy (especially in the major cities), however there are many more banks, both regional and international who operate in Australia, such as HSBC and ING, so it’s worth shopping around for the best option for you.

While studying with Opulence College, you will not only be focusing on your course, but you will have the opportunity to experience and immerse yourself in multicultural society of Australia. This will add to the cost of your time while studying, on top of course fees and essentials such as food and accommodation. Budgeting for your time in Australia is important, and we’re here to help with our living expenses guide! Read on to find out more.

Students should be aware that the costs of studying in Australia will depend on your education provider, the level of study you choose and your study location in Australia.



  • Hostels and guesthouses: $90 – $150 per week
  • Shared Rental: $95 – $215 per week
  • Homestay: $235 – $325 per week
  • Rental: $185 – $500 per week
  • Boarding Schools: $11,000 – $22,000 per year


Other living expenses


  • Groceries and eating out – $140 to $280 per week
  • Gas, electricity – $10 to $20 per week
  • Phone and Internet – $15 to $30 per week
  • Public transport – $30 to $60 per week
  • Car (after purchase) – $150 to $260 per week
  • Entertainment – $80 to $150 per week


Cost of living


The Department of Home Affairs has financial requirements you must meet in order to receive a student visa for Australia.Refer to the step by step Student Visa Subclass 500 application and Document Checklist Tool for details on how to provide the evidence required to cover the costs of your stay, including your travel, study and living expenses.As of January 2023 the 12-month living costs are:


  • Students or guardians: $21,041
  • Partners coming with you: $7,362
  • For each child coming with you: $3,152

The Home Affairs website covers in more detail how to work out how much money you might need to cover the costs of your stay in Australia as an international student.  The Insider Guides ‘Cost of Living Calculator‘ is also a useful, practical tool to help estimate your cost of living in Australia.If you experience financial trouble while in Australia, talk to Opulence College student support and student accommodation services staff for assistance.

For further information, please refer to Education and living costs in Australia.



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