Before you arrive

What you should know before you arrive.


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

  • Valid passport with Student Visa
  • Offer of a place / admission letter
  • Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE)
  • Receipts of payments (e.g. tuition fees, Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), bank statements etc.)
  • Insurance policies
  • 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 certified copies that can be left behind with family and sent to you.

Weather (seasons)

In Australia, the seasons are the reverse of seasons in the Northern Hemisphere. For example, summer is December, January and February while winter is June, July and August.

Pack clothes for Australia's four seasons:

  • Spring/autumn: Light jumpers/sweaters, light jackets, trousers, sports/covered shoes
  • Winter: Woollen jumpers/sweaters, thick jackets, trousers, raincoat, thick socks, gloves, scarves, sports/covered shoes
  • Summer: T-shirts, cotton shirts/blouses, dresses shorts, light sandals, sports/covered shoes.

On your flight

Wear comfortable, layered clothing so that you are able to make adjustments according to the local weather. Remember – if you are flying from a northern hemisphere winter into the Australian summer it will be very HOT so wear light weight clothing underneath, and have a pair of sandals or lighter shoes in your hand luggage if you need cooler footwear.

Before landing in Australia passengers are given an Incoming Passenger Card to fill in. This is a legal document. You must tick YES if you are carrying any food, plant material including wooden souvenirs, or animal products. This includes fruit given to you during your flight. If you have items you don't wish to declare, you can dispose of them in quarantine bins in the airport terminal.

Don't be afraid to ask airline staff if you have any questions.

Customs (quarantine)

The Australian Government restricts food, plant and animal products brought into the country. Please check the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website for items that are banned and for items that must be declared and inspected.

Preparing your finances

Buy travellers cheques or arrange a bank card with your financial institution before you leave home. Have approximately A$200-A$300 in cash when you arrive, but do not carry large sums of money on you or in your luggage. Please note that Australian law limits the amount of cash you can bring into the country. If you are bringing A$10,000 or more (or the equivalent in foreign currency) you must declare this to customs officials on arrival in Australia.

You can exchange your travellers cheques and foreign currency at any money exchange agent or bank. Daily currency exchange rates can be found at the XE website.

Health issues

Health insurance is compulsory for international students studying in Australia, so visit the Medibank Private website  for more information and check the offer letter invoice payment. Bring a copy of your medical history with you. Your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) generally does not cover any pre-existing medical conditions. Serious medical problems should be taken care of before you come to Australia. OSHC covers only certain conditions. You should check your policy carefully and think about whether you will need Optional Extra Cover.

If you are taking prescribed medication please check with the Australian Diplomatic Mission (ADM) in your home country to confirm what medicine you are allowed to bring into Australia. Ask your doctor to write a letter (translated into English) stating why you need the medicine. This will be useful if you need to see a doctor about the same condition in Australia. You may even need to show this documentation when you pass through customs at Sydney Airport.

Australian Slang

Much common word usage or 'slang' may seem strange to people new to Australia. Slang words start from many different sources. Some words are shortened versions of longer words. Many were expressions already used by migrants who came from the north of England. If you are unsure what an expression means, it is all right to ask the person who said it to explain.

Electrical sockets (plugs)

You will need an adapter to use electrical items brought from your country. Voltage in Australia is 240 volts with a 50-Hertz frequency. Australian electrical plugs have three flat angled prongs.

Airport pickup

If you have requested airport pickup, you must notify Sydney TAFE of your arrival details two weeks before you are due to arrive. A representative will meet you at the airport in the Arrivals Hall, holding a sign with your name on it. You will enter the Arrivals Hall after you clear Customs. There is no need to worry if your flight is delayed as the representative will wait for you.

We recommend students use this service, unless you are staying with relatives. If you have booked an airport pickup service please don't leave the airport with family or friends who may surprise you by coming to the airport.

Note: The airport pickup service costs A$140. You will need to pay the airport pickup fee at the same time as your tuition fee.

Travel from airport (taxi/train)

If you are not using the airport pick-up service you can:

  1. Take a taxi to Sydney's city centre and this will cost approximately A$50, OR
  2. The Airport Link Rail Service runs from Sydney Airport to the city centre every 10 minutes during peak hours. The fare from the Airport to Central Station is approximately A$16. You can then catch trains or buses to Sydney metropolitan areas or NSW regional centres.

If you are lost at any time, stop and ask for directions or phone Sydney TAFE during office hours 8:30am to 6:00pm, Monday to Friday on 1300 360 601.


Our CRICOS Provider Code is 00591E and CRICOS Provider Name is TAFE NSW - Technical & Further Education Commission.


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