Living in Sydney

Australia

Australia is a land of contrasts: sweeping golden beaches, coral reefs rich with marine life, tropical rainforests, mountain ranges, vast grazing lands and sparse deserts.

One of the oldest continents, Australia is the only country to occupy an entire continent. Surrounded by the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Australia has many animals and plants, which are unique on the planet. The surface geology is typically old and flat with a major mountain range stretching down the eastern coast and another mountain range in the north west of the continent. (Top)

Sydney

Sydney is the largest city in Australia with a population of approximately four million peoples. Sydney is the capital city of New South Wales, a city with multicultural society from different ethnic backgrounds. SIBN College is located in the heart of city, it’s just a short walk from the train station or bus stop. (Top)

Climate

Sydney has a temperate climate with few extremes in the weather patterns. It never snows.  Summers can be very humid and wet. Note that Sydney is in the southern hemisphere and the seasons are reversed to those in Europe the USA, and most of Asia. Sydney is a comfortable place to stay. During the summer months from December through to February, outdoor activities are popular, as scores of students head off to the beach for school holidays (December to January). (Top)

Art

Australian contemporary arts reflect the world’s oldest continuous cultural traditions and also a diverse, multicultural society. Our visual and performing arts communities receive international acclaim for their vibrancy, originality and cutting-edge work in the arts, literature, stage and cinema, dance, classical music and contemporary Australian rock music.
The National Museum of Australia opened as part of Australia’s Centenary of Federation celebrations in 2001. It is co-located with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies in the nation’s capital city of Canberra and adds to more than 1000 museums throughout Australia. (Top)

Multiculturalism

More than 100 ethnic groups are represented in Australia, making Australia one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Australia’s dynamic multiculturalism can be attributed to its unique combination of Indigenous cultures, early European settlement and immigration from all parts of the world.
Australians value the wealth of cultural diversity and social sophistication that international students bring to our campuses and our communities. We take great care in looking after international students and helping them to adjust to the Australian way of life. International students also gain great benefits from their education in Australia and make lifelong friendships. (Top)

Language

Although English is the official language, a host of other languages are spoken in Australia. As one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world many Australians are naturally fluent in other languages. More than 2.4 million Australians speak a language other than English at home. Within the education and training system about 15 per cent of those of working age studying for an educational qualification have English as a second language. More than 800,000 Australians speak a European Union language, apart from English, in the home. Another 800,000 Australians speak an Asian language in the home.
In Australia not only is there the opportunity to improve your English through specialist study in an English-speaking environment but all sectors of Australian education and training provide tuition in many other languages as well.

English as it is spoken in Australia is very easily understood by nearly all people from other English-speaking nations. While there are some minor differences in accent between the cities and country areas the difference is much less than you will find in America, Britain and Canada where French is also spoken. As you improve your English in Australia you will learn some of our slang, and have much fun explaining the meanings to your friends and relatives at home. (Top)

Religion

Australia is predominantly a Christian country; however, all religions are represented in our multicultural society. Australians respect the freedom of people to practice their choice of religion. Churches, mosques, temples and synagogues are located in most major cities. Some universities have their own spiritual groups on campus. (Top)

Cosmopolitan

Students from all over the world come to Australia to take advantage of our world-class education and enjoy our friendly hospitality and cultural diversity. Australia has low crime rates and strict gun control laws providing a safe environment in which to learn and travel. With one of the highest standards of living in the world, Australia offers modern transport systems, convenient telecommunications, cosmopolitan shopping complexes and excellent health services.
Visitors from many parts of the world are attracted by Australia’s spectacular natural environment and the distinctive personality and friendliness of the Australian people. Australia is rich in the arts and is keen to preserve and display its diverse cultural heritage.
Australians are also environmentally conscious and keen to preserve the country's natural beauty and scenery. Our Clean Up Australia campaign is being adopted worldwide. (Top)

Health care

Australia has a very good health care system. All Australians pay a Medicare levy (additional tax) to fund the public health system and ensure everyone gets access to public system doctors, hospitals and other health care services. People who pay extra into a private health insurance fund receive certain privileges when they use private health care services. As well as the usual services available in just about any Australian suburb or town, most Australian institutions also provide special health care services and advice for students.
International students studying in Australia are required to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the duration of their student visa. (Top)

Food

Australia has a fantastic variety of food. Our top quality meat, fish, fruits and vegetables are exported to markets all around the globe. There is a large range of fruit and vegetables available at Australian produce markets. You should have no difficulty in finding the foods that you are used to at home.
You can sample almost every type of cuisine available throughout the world in our many restaurants. There are elegant restaurants or typical Aussie pubs. Ethnic restaurants offer cuisines from all around the world. Good food at reasonable prices can be found at bistros or cafes. And for those who like takeaway, most of the major global fast food chains are well represented. The adventurous can try some of our ‘bush tucker’. (Top)

Electricity

The electrical current in Australia is 240/250 volts AC, 50 cycles. The Australian three pin plug is extremely safe. Adaptors are usually required for most foreign appliances. A transformer may be required if you bring an appliance from overseas that operates on a different voltage. (Top)

Transport

With one of the highest standards of living in the world, Australia offers modern transport systems. Australia has an extensive public transport system that includes trains, buses, tramways, ferries, two major national airlines and a number of regional airlines. Metropolitan areas are divided into zones and your ticket type and cost depends on which zone you are going to travel in and for how long. Tickets can be bought at train stations, on buses and trams and at newsagencies.
Tourist students may drive in Australia on a valid overseas drivers licence but if the document is not in the English language the visitor must carry a translation with the permit. An international driving licence is not sufficient by itself.
Metered taxicabs operate in all major cities and towns. You will find taxi ranks at transport terminals, main hotels or shopping centres or you can hail taxis in the street. A light and sign on the roof indicates if a cab is vacant. There is a minimum charge on hiring and then a charge per kilometre travelled. Taxi drivers do not have to be tipped. (Top)

Telephones

Australia has a modern telecommunications system with mobile and internet access generally available at low cost. Public telephones are available at all Post Offices, shopping centres and are often situated on street corners. Public pay phones accept a variety of coins and Phonecards. Phonecards are pre-paid for use in public pay phones and can be bought at a large number of retail outlets in denominations of $A5, $A10, $A20 and $A50. Credit phones take most major credit cards such as American Express, Visa, Mastercard and Diners International and can be found at international and domestic airports, central city locations and hotels.
Mobile phones are very popular and can be purchased from a number of retailers. (Top)

Sport and Recreation

Australians are very keen on sport and outdoor activities and have gained a worldwide reputation, both as individuals and as teams. Hosting the Year 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney highlights Australia as a leading destination for international events.
Australia has more than 120 national sporting organisations and thousands of state, regional and club bodies. It is estimated that 6.5 million people, about a third of the population, are registered sports participants. While there are over 120 sporting organisations, Australians also take part in bushwalking, fishing, boating and water sports. (Top)

Entertainment

Campuses offer spacious surroundings suitable for social, sporting and other outdoor activities. They are also centrally located for students to experience the sophistication of our cities and excitement of our entertainment facilities. There are plenty of opportunities for international students to have an enjoyable time with friends. (Top)

Budgeting

You should work out a budget covering accommodation, food, transport, clothing and entertainment. Childcare, if applicable, should also be taken into account.
The average international student in Australia spends about $360 per week on accommodation, food, clothing, entertainment, transport, international and domestic travel, telephone and incidental costs. School students in Australia typically spend a little less - about $285 a week - on accommodation and food, entertainment, transport and associated items. While this is a realistic guide, it is important to remember that individual circumstances will vary by location, course and lifestyle. (Top)

Money and banks

Australian currency is the only legal tender in Australia. When you first arrive, money from other countries can be changed at the exchange facilities located at international airports, banks and major hotels. Travellers cheques are easier to use if already in Australian dollars, however, banks will cash travellers cheques in virtually any currency. Major hotels and some shops, depending on individual store policy, will cash travellers cheques.
It is a good idea to set up an Australian bank account. You will need to provide your visa and evidence of residency. Banking services in Australia are extremely competitive. Over 20 local and numerous international banking groups are represented in Australia. All major banks have a branch in cities and regional centres. Most shopping centres have Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) facilities. These machines can be used for deposits and, in many instances, withdrawals 24 hours a day. Many department stores, supermarkets and specialist shops have electronic transfer terminals (EFTPOS) where cash withdrawals can also be made in addition to purchasing goods. (Top)

Normal bank trading hours

9.30 am – 4.00 pm Monday to Thursday
9.30 am – 5.00 pm Friday 
Some banks are open Saturday mornings (Top)

Credit cards

Credit cards are widely accepted around Australia. The most commonly accepted credit cards are American Express, Bankcard, Diners International, Mastercard, Visa and their affiliates. (Top)

Currency

Australia uses a dollars and cents system of decimal currency with 100 cents in a dollar. The bank notes in use are $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Coins used are the silver coloured 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent and 50 cent and the gold coloured $1 and $2 coins.
Australia's development of the polymer (plastic) banknote heralds the introduction of advanced banknote technology for the new millennium and rewrites world standards in design. Not only does this leading-edge polymer technology offer immense security benefits but its concepts of cleanliness, environmental responsibility and recyclability set an example for the world to follow. (Top)

Tipping

Tipping is not the general custom in Australia and service charges are not added to accounts by hotels and restaurants. In better-class restaurants, it is usual to tip food and drink waiters up to 10 per cent of the bill for good service.
Porters have set charges at railway terminals, but not at hotels. However, at any time, tipping is a matter of individual choice. (Top)

Accommodation

The following types of accommodation are available for International students:-
1.  Full Board (Homestay) A$230.00 - A$260.00 per week. 
2.  Student house A$120.00 - A$180.00 per week. 
3.  Half - Board A$ 150.00 - A$ 200.00 per week (plus expenses). 
4.  Leasing a House/Flat A$250.00 - A$350.00 per week (unfurnished) 
This accommodation can be booked prior to arrival. Two weeks advance notice is required before you depart for Australia. Further details can be obtained from the International Student Welfare Officer. (Top)

Transport

Australia has an efficient public transport system (buses, trains and trams) in all cities. Many students ride bicycles on campus and some even have their own car for longer travel. There are also train, bus and air services between cities and towns. Students using public transport can apply for a student concession card that entitles them to discounted fares. (Top)

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

International students are required by the Government to join Overseas Student Health Cover that is a private health insurance scheme administered by Medibank. The OSHC premium cover must be paid before a student visa is issued. You will need to pay the OSHC premium at the same time as the tuition fees. The OSHC entitles you to free hospital cover and 85% of standard doctor's fees.
You can find out more about purchasing OSHC here. (Top)

A Good Choice for Study

There are more than 50,000 overseas students studying in Australia and each year approximately 15,000 students from the Asia Pacific region arrive in Australia to continue their education. They have chosen Australia for several reasons:

  • Australia has a high quality education system, the equal of any country in the world
  • Australia offers traditional education in reputable schools, colleges and universities
  • Awards from Australian institutions of higher education are recognized internationally
  • Australian universities, colleges and schools have established networks of support to help overseas students
  • The Australian education system includes informality and accessibility of academic staff, the availability of computers, small group tutorials and close supervision
  • Living costs and tuition costs compare well with other countries and most overseas students are permitted to work part-time.
  • Australia is a safe, stable country with a pleasant climate. (Top)

Australia Welcome Overseas Students

Overseas students are welcomed in Australia because they:

  • contribute to the development of people and institutions both in their home country and in Australia.
  • contribute to the Australia's research capability
  • develop cultural, educational and economic links between Australians and people of other nations.

Australia has a long history of involvement in international education development, staff and student exchange programs and scholarships. (Top)

Study Methods

In Australia, much emphasis is placed upon private (individual) study along the lines of assignments, on research and learning to analyse data and present arguments about subject matter, and on being willing to defend one's argument. All these involve heavy use of libraries, intensive note taking in lectures, and active participation in the learning process (as opposed to passive listening and rote learning).
To be a successful student in Australia, you will need to adapt to these methods of learning, but most education institutions in Australia are very willing to help as they offer counselling services and assistance to develop effective study skills. Many lecturers in Australia have vast experience teaching overseas students, they understand the difficulties in getting used to different study methods and they will be patient in helping you to develop new skills. (Top)

Cost Of Living

In addition to paying the full cost of their courses, full-fee students must meet all their own travel and living expenses, plus any student association fees or administrative charges made by the institution. A single person studying in Australia will need a minimum of A$18,610 each year in addition to the tuition fees. This amount also depends on the kind of accommodation a student chooses. For a married person with a dependent, he/she will need another A$6,515 each year. If there are children, the living expenses needed will be approximately First child A$3,720/first child/each year, Second Child-$2750/each year.

Students will need a minimum of A$18,610 per year (excluding tuition) to cover living expenses. Accommodation costs range from $150 per week (flat/apartment accommodation) to $260 per week (homestay). Food costs about $100 per week and transport can cost about $40 per week.

The lifestyle in Australia is safe and friendly. Australians have a high standard of living. The climate is pleasant, there is plenty of food and the vast natural resources in Australia enable most people to live well.
Fruit, vegetables and meat are available fresh and at reasonable prices. Clothing and personal effects are usually good quality and available at a wide variety of prices.

Below is a price table of typical daily items. This is only a guide. Remember that you can shop around for items such as clothing and shoes to find a cheaper source. (Top)

 

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