Prepare to arrive in Sydney

Some helpful tips on being ready for your exciting move.

Shadow of plane over beach

Things you need to know 

Once you’ve accepted your offer to study with us, it’s time to do some important preparation to help make your journey to UNSW as smooth and stress-free as possible. Here’s what you need to prepare before you arrive.  

Student visa

Once your offer is accepted, you can apply for your student visa. You can’t study in Australia without it, so we recommend applying as soon as possible, but at least six weeks before your course is due to start. This is also a great time to ensure that your passport is current and valid.  

It’s your responsibility to make sure you satisfy all visa requirements and processes for obtaining your student visa. This includes COVID-19 vaccination requirements. You should also take the time to understand all conditions of your visa, the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system is a great resource.  

And don’t forget to print and keep with you a copy of your visa while travelling!

Health insurance

To make sure you stay safe and well while living in Australia, all international students must obtain health insurance. It is a visa requirement.  

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) provides affordable access to medical and hospital treatment, and subsidises most prescription drugs and emergency ambulance transport. It does not cover dental treatment or physiotherapy. 

Health services on campus include a medical clinic, optometrist, dentist, doctor, physiotherapist and UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS).  

Find out more about OSHC with Medibank* – our preferred provider.

*There are many suppliers of OSHC. Our contract agreement with Medibank Private Ltd, allows us to receive a standard industry commission from Medibank Private Ltd to act as a preferred supplier of OSHC for our international students.


Find out more


Since you’re moving here, you need somewhere to live! Do you want to live alone, with friends, with other students, on campus or close to the beach? There are plenty of accommodation options close to campus in Sydney; you just have to choose what will work best for you. Think about booking some short-term accommodation before you arrive, then settle on somewhere long-term once you’ve had time to explore. If you are under 18, there are some additional requirements, but we can help you every step of the way. 


Explore accommodation options

Bring your own device (BYOD)

You will need to bring your own PED (Personal Electronic Device) to all classes. This is how you will access learning materials, and participate in learning activities and outside the classroom. We recommend you purchase and get used to your own device before you arrive, so it’s one less thing to have to figure out while settling in and starting classes. It’s also great for communicating with friends and family back home, anytime.  

What kind of device?  

A laptop or notebook computer is considered the most suitable option for all study activities. Here are some things to keep in mind when making your choice.  

  • Size and weight: You’ll be carrying your device around all day and taking it to classes, so make sure the weight and size is practical for you. Try and make it under 2kg.  
  • Battery life: If you can’t recharge your device during the day, you want it to last throughout class time. Look for devices with good battery life, ideally 10 hours or more.  

Check out our guidelines for more information on BYOD.  

Device Guidelines (English)

Device Guidelines (Chinese)

Cost of living

When moving to a new city, it’s important to understand how much money you’ll need to be able to live, study and socialise the way you want. The Australian Department of Home Affairs requires students to have the financial capacity to cover living costs of at least $A21,041 per year (not including course fees).  


Find out more in our cost of living guide

Booking flights and what to pack 

When your visa is approved, you should look into booking your flights to Sydney. We would recommend arriving around a week before your Orientation date, so you have some time to settle in and prepare for the adventure ahead.  

Packing for your trip 

You won’t be back home for a while, so it’s important to make sure you’ve packed to essentials for your arrival in Sydney. Here are a few tips from us: 

    • Your passport  
    • A document folder containing printed copies of your: 
    • Offer letter 
    • Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) 
    • Original academic transcripts 
    • Your orientation letter 
    • Tuition payments receipts 
    • Identification documents 
    • Important contact numbers 
    • Details of pre-arranged accommodation 
    • Important medical records 
    • A copy of your passport 
    • A laptop or tablet 
    • Chargers for your phone, camera, laptop and other electronic devices, plus a converter for Australian power outlets. 
    • Money – you want to have about A$2000 available when you arrive in Sydney, but this doesn’t have to be all in cash. 
    • Any medication and prescriptions, plus spare glasses or contact lenses. 
    • Clothes for many different seasons. We experience extreme heat and cold in Sydney, so best to be prepared for anything.  
    • Basic toiletries, but you can buy whatever you need when you get here.  

Pre-book your airport pick-up service  

When you arrive at Sydney airport, there are many ways to get to your accommodation. If you’ve travelled before, you can use public transport, a taxi or rideshare service. Just follow the signs in the arrivals hall to direct you where you need to go. The easiest option is our Airport Pickup service. 

For ease and simplicity, you can also pre-book UNSW Global’s airport pickup service, at an additional cost, once you have accepted your program offer. Under 18 students must use the approved airport pickup service. Please arrange and pay for this at least two weeks before arrival. 

Simply complete our Airport Reception Form and we’ll handle the rest. 

Register for face-to-face classes

If you’d like to pick your own class times, you can register for your classes before you depart. If you don’t get around to it, we will provide you with a timetable.  

Once you arrive 

You’ve arrived! Here are some recommended next steps to help you get ready for student life in Sydney. 

  • At the airport we recommend that you purchase an Australian local mobile SIM card. Telstra, Optus or Vodaphone are all located in the Arrivals Hall inside the terminal. 
  • Call, text or email your family to let them know you’ve arrived safely. 
  • Buy an Opal Card to travel on Sydney public transport. 
  • Locate all the essentials – your closest supermarket, doctor, chemist, shopping centre and public transport stops. 
  • Open an Australian bank account 
  • Apply for a Tax File Number (if you want to work while studying). 
  • Check your UNSW Global email for any important messages about your Orientation Day. 

Our Student Support team is available to help you with any questions you have. Connect with a professional from our team with our professional team.