Living in Sydney
Moving to a new city is exciting, but it can be scary at first! We've collected some important information here to get you started with your new life as a student in Sydney.
Click the headings below to read about what to expect when you arrive, and some good tips for making the most out of your time.
Arriving in Sydney
Arriving at Sydney Airport
What to expect
Sydney is a multicultural city where people from all over the world come to study, live, work, and travel. You might hear up to 10 different languages spoken when you walk down the street! Remember to smile, be friendly, and practise English whenever you can - Australian people are used to speaking with foreigners, and are usually very patient.
When you first arrive
If you don't pre-book your homestay or accommodation through friends, relatives, or La Lingua, we strongly recommend staying in temporary accommodation such as a backpackers, hostel, hotel, or AirBNB while you get settled and get to know the city. Each neighbourhood in Sydney is different in terms of character and price, and there are many different options.
You can find a room in a shared house or unit (flat) by using sites such as www.gumtree.com.au, www.flatmatefinders.com.au or shared accommodation groups on Facebook. It's also helpful to ask around at La Lingua after you arrive - students are always coming and going in Sydney, and it's likely that someone at school will be able to help you find a room.
Backpackers & hostels
This type of accommodation is great for short-term visitors and travellers, or when just arriving in Sydney, but can also be arranged for longer stays. Hostels are a great place to meet young and old people from all over the world and practice your English. They often provide free or cheap breakfast, activities, and other services such as laundry.
Renting an apartment
Renting an apartment or house alone in Sydney can be very expensive, and complicated if you are still learning English. You will need to read and sign a lease agreement, complete a property inspection report, and arrange to pay the full amount of your rent by bank transfer (from an Australian bank account) every two weeks. You will also be responsible for connecting and paying the gas, electricity, phone and internet bills. Your landlord may come by for an inspection every few months, but they are required to give you lots of notice before they come.
Groceries and eating out
$80 - $280 per week. You can save money by buying groceries at supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths and cooking at home. Eating out at restaurants and cafes is a lot more expensive than eating at home.
$35 - $140 per week. Depending on your accommodation, this may be split between all house residents equally or proportionally. Make sure you check what your responsibilites are when you move in. You can save money on these bills by turning off lights, having shorter showers, turning off the TV and your computer when not in use, and unplugging all of your appliances at the wall when not in use.
Phone and internet
$20 - $55 per week. Using a lot of mobile data on your phone will be more expensive - save money by connecting to free or public WiFi when out and about. La Lingua has free student wifi available every day, with no limits. Ask your student advisor for the password!
$80 - ?
School fees and expenses
You must have the money to pay your school fees and expenses before you come to Australia - the government requires this in order to grant your student visa. You shouldn't rely on your Australian job to help you pay your school fees.
Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is compulsory for all international students in Australia. You will not be able to see a doctor if you don't have health insurance, or it will be very expensive.
Coles and Woolworths are the most popular and biggest supermarket chains, and often have cheap groceries and other items. Smaller grocery stores such as IGA and Harris Farm carry more speciality items such as organic and local produce, but may be more expensive.
Although Melbourne is known as the home of fashion in Australia, Sydney has some great shopping for aspiring fashionistas. International department stores such as H&M, Zara, Uniqlo, and Forever 21 can be found just a few blocks away in Pitt Street mall, next to local favourites David Jones and Myer. Westfield is the largest shopping mall in Sydney, with outlets in Bondi Junction, City, Burwood, Parramatta, Penrith, and Blacktown.
Furniture & homewares
Cheap department stores such as Kmart and Target are perfect for a student budget, and are right nearby Central Station at Broadway Shopping Centre. If you like putting things together, travel a little bit further to Rhodes or Tempe for the IKEA Swedish Homewares store. Stores such as David Jones and Myer in the city carry many items for a low to high budget.
Buying electronics in Australia can be more expensive than other countries, due to the import and shipping costs involved in getting them here. Expensive items such as computers, smart phones, headphones and speakers can be cheaper if purchased duty and tax free upon arrival or departure from Australia.
In Sydney you can travel by bus, train, ferry, or light rail (tram). To see the different options for your area, go to http://www.transportnsw.info and enter your start and finish points. Mobile apps are also helpful on-the-go for train timetables: TripView and NextThere are the most popular and can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.
Taxis & Uber
There are many different taxi companies in Sydney, and you can book from any of them by calling 131 008. You can also hail a taxi in the street, depending where you are and at what time. Sydney taxis run on a meter, so you don't need to negotiate the price upfront. However, make sure you tell the driver clearly where you want to go and if you know the quickest way to get there.
GoGet is a carshare service with many cars and vans all over the city. If you have a drivers license, you can sign up to rent these cars by the hour or by the day. For more information go to GoGet.Com
Many people in Sydney own cars, but most people who work or study in the city use public transport. Parking in the city can be very expensive, from $25 - $100 per day depending on the location. Street parking is sometimes available, but you usually need to pay for a parking ticket at the meter.