Top reasons to study in Melbourne
Visit the Student Welcome Desk at Melbourne Airport when you arrive. The friendly staff can answer questions and help you make your way to your destination.
International student welcome desk
The Student Welcome Desk is at the Travellers Information Service, International Arrivals Hall, Ground Floor, Terminal 2, Melbourne Airport. The desk is open every day from 7am to midnight.
Study Melbourne Student Centre
The Study Melbourne Student Centre (SMSC) in Melbourne provides access to free support, information and contacts to help you enjoy living and studying in Victoria. Find out more about the SMSC, including where we are and how to contact us.
Melbourne is the world’s most liveable city
Again and again, Melbourne is named as the world’s most liveable city. The title is awarded to the city with the highest score for stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. When you study in Melbourne, you’ll be living in a safe and vibrant city that offers world-class study options, services and the widest range of things to do.
Australia’s best student city
In 2017, QS Best Student Cities awarded Melbourne as Australia’s best student city and the fifth best in the world. Key features such as Victoria’s high standard and quality of living, vibrant multicultural society and social inclusion attracted 175,000 international students to Victoria in 2016.
Often called Australia’s cultural capital, Melbourne is home to the attractions that make the Australian lifestyle so appealing.
Where to live
Some of Melbourne’s inner suburbs are funky and hip, with great coffee culture, cool shops and restaurants with high density apartment living or quirky terrace houses. Other suburbs offer leafy peace and quiet, with wide streets, shady trees, gardens, parks and houses on larger blocks.
What to consider
When choosing which part of Melbourne to live in, research the things that are important to you.
Many students like to live near to where they study. Check a map of Melbourne to see which suburbs are near ITHEA.
If you are looking for accommodation in a lower price range, try searching further away from the centre of Melbourne.
Remember to check if there is regular transport to ITHEA. If you don’t have your own car, also consider whether there are shops and other services nearby that you could walk to or ride your bike.
There is a network of trams, trains and buses in Melbourne that extends beyond the central business district (CBD) and into the suburbs.
Find out about public transport in your preferred suburb on the Melbourne local areas page on the Public Transport Victoria (PTV) website.
Melbourne regularly appears in lists of the safest cities in the world. Laws in Victoria protect your rights. It is against the law for anyone to bully or harass you. There are many places to go for help, including the Study Melbourne Student Centre and student services at your university, college or school.
Things to do
All of Melbourne’s suburbs have a unique flavour. If you live in the centre of Melbourne, or in the inner suburbs surrounding the city centre, a quick trip by public transport brings you into the heart of Melbourne so it will be easy to enjoy festivals, free events and a wide range of live music and theatre.
Suburbs further out have their own events and fun things to do – with Melbourne CBD still easy to access by train, tram or bus.
Talk to friends and family
We have asked many students where they found out about the best places to live. Students often tell us that they asked friends or family who already lived here. If you have friends or family living in Melbourne, or if you know someone who does, they may be able to give you some tips about choosing the best suburb to live in while you study.
Melbourne offers high quality, safe student accommodation from the cosmopolitan inner city living to leafy garden suburbs.
When you first arrive in Australia, temporary or short term accommodation gives you time to explore permanent living options. Book short term accommodation before you arrive.
Budget accommodation – hostels
Hostels in Melbourne offer cheap, short term accommodation. Most have a mix of private rooms and dormitory accommodation.
Tip: To find out more about hostels and budget accommodation, do a search using words like ’hostels melbourne’.
Discounted online rates – hotels
For lower cost hotels, try booking online on discount accommodation sites. Some sites have discounts for booking well in advance. Some websites offer last-minute discounts.
Tip: To find out more about lower hotel rates and discounted accommodation sites, do a search using words like ‘discount hotels melbourne’.
Luxury hotels and accommodation
Book high-end hotels and accommodation through many sites on the web.
Tip: Search using words like ’luxury hotels melbourne’.
Renting a home means you choose the location, people and furniture. You are also responsible for arranging and paying for utilities – electricity, gas, telephone and internet.
Expect to pay from $150 a week for rent, depending on how many people you share with and where you live.
If you are renting from an agent or direct from a landlord, you sign a lease with them. You also give a security deposit – called a bond – to the agent or landlord. They must lodge it with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA).
The agent or landlord cannot access the bond and you cannot use it for rent. If you cause any damage to the property while you are renting it, the landlord can request the RTBA to compensate them at the end of the lease.
Help for renters
The RentRight app is a free resource with information and tools to help renters in Victoria.
Furniture and facilities
Most apartments offer a private or twin room with a shared kitchen and bathroom.
Rooms are often fully furnished with a bed, mattress, wardrobe, study desk and chair. Generally you also have access to common rooms, laundry facilities and internet.
Some provide a regular cleaning service, on-site staff and social activities.
Costs vary and you can expect to pay from $200 a week including utilities and sometimes internet.
Accommodation availability and cost
Find student accommodation and learn more about costs and facilities on the internet.
Living with a family
When an international student living with a family in their home it’s called a homestay. A homestay gives you a family support network ready to introduce you to Australian society.
When you stay with a family on homestay you will have your own furnished bedroom. The family provides most meals. They will also have internet and other utilities. You will not have to clean the home but you will have to keep your room tidy.
Homestay costs from $250 a week. The cost depends on facilities, location and the number of meals the family provides.
Your responsibilities and independence depend on the family you stay with. The homestay may also be further away from campus than other types of accommodation.
How to find a part-time job
Internet searches are a good way to check the kinds of jobs that might be available but remember that not all jobs are listed on the internet. Sometimes you can find a great job by being in the right place at the right time.
Many students find work through connections their fellow students, friends and family. Tell people that you are looking for work and the kind of work you are looking for.
Understand the industry
The best way to find part-time work is to understand the industry you want to work in. Each industry uses different ways to recruit part-time workers.
Searching for work on the internet
There are a number of online job websites that you can use to search for work in Victoria.
Paying tax in Australia
In Australia, if you have an Australian bank account or if you work and earn money, you need to have a tax file number (TFN) and lodge an annual tax return with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
The tax year (also called the financial year) runs from 1 July to 30 June. Most tax payers are required to lodge their returns by 31 October.
Goods and Services Tax
Australia has a Goods and Services Tax (GST) which is applied to many items you purchase. The price displayed in Australian shops and online stores includes GST. You do not need to add it to the diplayed price. When you make a purchase and receive a tax receipt, you’ll see the GST amount included.
The GST does not apply to fresh food, your education or international airfares.
Tax file number
Your Australian TFN is unique. It belongs to you and you do not need to re-apply, even if your circumstances change.
Apply for a Tax File Number (TFN) if you:
- want to open an Australian bank account
- are earning money in Australia as an employee or business owner
- want to pay the minimum tax on money you earn, including wages, interest, dividends, sales and professional services
- are enrolled in a course that is more than six months long.
Apply for a tax file number
When you apply for a TFN using the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website or an official ATO form, you do not have to pay a fee.
To apply online as an international student, you may need a valid passport or relevant travel documents.
Hint: Some education agents and third party websites charge a fee to lodge your application. If someone is asking you to pay a fee, check what services they are offering in addition to the application.
In Australia, superannuation is a way of saving money for retirement. Superannuation is often called ‘super’.
If you are working while you are in Australia, you may be entitled to compulsory super contributions from your employer. This is called the superannuation guarantee.
The government sets the minimum rate for contributions, called the statutory rate.
The statutory rate is currently 9.5 per cent of your of your ordinary earnings. Ask your employer if your pay includes super. Some or if they pay super on top of your pay.
Read more about superannuation on the Tax and superannuation page on the Fairwork Australia website.
You can also find information on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website in their Super section for individuals.
Choosing your own superannuation fund
You can choose what superannuation fund your super contributions go into. If you are working on some types of visas, your employer does not have to offer you a choice of superannuation fund. Even if they don’t offer it, you have the right to ask.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has a form that you must use to nominate your preferred fund.
Visit the Superannuation (super) standard choice form page on the ATO website.
Australian currency is in dollars and cents.
We use the dollar symbol $ and the cent symbol ¢.
In text, we identify Australian dollars with AUD.
Australian coins are 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, one dollar and two dollars.
The $1 and $2 coins are gold coloured. The $2 coin is smaller than the $1 coin.
Australian banknotes are available in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.
Our banknotes are coloured and have special security features. Find out more on the Australia’s banknotes page on the Reserve Bank of Australia website.
Rounding up and down
When shopping, prices are rounded up or down to the nearest five cents.
If an item is priced at $1.99 or $1.98 you pay $2.
If an item is priced at $1.97 or $1.96 you pay $1.95.
The Reserve Bank of Australia lists exchange rates on the Exchange rates page on their website.
Exchange services are located at Melbourne Airport, in Melbourne’s central business district (CBD) and most banks.
You will need to pay a fee for all foreign currency exchanges.
Banking in Victoria
You can set up a bank account before you arrive in Australia or after you get here. Your university, college or school may also be able to help you set up an account.
Banks and credit unions
There are four major banks in Australia and a number of credit unions. The major banks are:
- Commonwealth Bank
- National Australia Bank (NAB)
ID requirements to open an account
Check with the bank you want to open an account with. Generally, you must have your letter of offer or Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) from the university, college or school you are enrolled in, as well as your passport, and other forms of identification. You will also need your Australian Tax File Number (TFN).
Most banks are open Monday to Friday from 9.30 am to 4.00 pm. Some are also open later on Friday afternoons and on Saturday mornings.
Automatic Teller Machines
Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are available all day, every day. Many universities, colleges and schools have ATMs on campus.
If you use an ATM for a bank that’s not your own, you may be charged a fee. The ATM displays a message to tell you that a fee will be charged for continuing the transaction, and you can choose to continue or to cancel your transaction.
If you use an ATM from the same bank as the card you are using, you won’t be charged a fee.
The cost of living in Victoria
When you calculate the cost of living in Melbourne or regional Victoria you may find that the expenses are different to what you have to pay in your own country.
The Living costs in Australia page on the Study in Australia website lists some common expenses and approximate costs.
What to include in the cost of living
Rent (or other accommodation), utilities, groceries, restaurants and transport are good places to start.
Rent and other accommodation
Tenants pay rent and also need to pay for electricity, gas, internet and cable services.
If you are sharing the rental of a property, you and the other tenants will probably split these expenses between you.
If you are living in a homestay, student accommodation or in a residential college on campus you may find that these expenses are included in your rental.
In Australia you may hear people talking about ‘utilities’. Utilities include electricity, gas, telephone an internet.
To check the cost of electricity and gas in Melbourne or other Victorian cities, search the internet for energy price comparison melbourne (or the name of another city in Victoria where you want to study)
For best results, view the organic search results. The sponsored results may not give an unbiased answer.
Groceries and restaurants
If you plan to enjoy Melbourne’s wonderful restaurants, include the cost of eating out in your calculations. You can keep costs low by cooking your own meals.
Best things to do in Victoria
Melbourne and Victoria offer experiences across sports, nature, the arts and more.
Visit Victoria top picks
The Visit Victoria website lists things to do in Melbourne and Victoria. See their top picks on the Top attractions page.
Events of all kinds
Melbourne and Victoria host all kinds of events each year. The Visit Victoria website lists events of all kinds – food and wine, sport, art, lifestyle and multicultural events.
Read more on the Events page on the Visit Victoria website.
Free and fun things to do in Melbourne
If you like music, markets, festivals or exhibitions there are always events for you to go to. Many are low cost or free. With all this entertainment on offer, it’s no surprise that Melbourne is voted the world’s most liveable city.
There is plenty of sport to watch in Melbourne.
Local sportsgrounds are a great place to watch or join in local amateur football, soccer and cricket.
Globall – for international students
The Globall program, an initiative run by the Essendon Football Club to use sports as a way to introduce international students to Australian culture. Get involved with Globall for a chance to:
- attend Australian Rules Football (AFL) matches for FREE
- meet Victorians who will introduce you to these sports
- make new friends
- connect with sporting clubs and community sporting activities that are close to where you study or live
- visit iconic sporting grounds like the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
- help make the team banner with the Essendon Cheer Squad.
Melbourne’s event calendar is filled with arts, music and performance festivals for all tastes and budgets.
Check the Study Melbourne events page for free or low cost events that international students would be interested in attending.
Exhibitions and shows
Free or cheap entry is available at these fun and informative places; the National Gallery of Victoria, the State Library of Victoria, Federation Square, Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, and the Melbourne Museum.
That’s Melbourne lists free and paid events and things to see and do in Melbourne.
Melbourne’s outdoor attractions
When the weather is fine Melbournians love to take a picnic to one of the many outdoor parks in or outside the city. Parks are great places to enjoy nature and relax. Many of Victoria’s parks have free barbeque facilities, public art and plenty of space to relax with friends or a book or laptop.
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Flagstaff Gardens, Docklands Park and Treasury Gardens are just a few of the many parks open for the public to enjoy.
Visit the Parks Victoria website to see more about parks in Melbourne and beyond.
Day trips and short holidays
There is plenty to do beyond Melbourne, in regional Victoria. Explore Victoria’s many great beaches for swimming, surfing and strolling. If you love the outdoors you could try bushwalking in parks or coastal areas.
Discover the many markets, fairs and festivals also on outside Melbourne.
Visit Victoria website
Visit the Regions section of the Visit Victoria website to see more.
Visit Phillip Island to see the Fairy Penguins
Only 90 minutes drive from Melbourne you’ll find Phillip Island Nature Parks. See penguins in the wild at the world famous Penguin Parade. View koalas up close along the tree tops.
Public transport in Melbourne
Melbourne’s public transport system includes a network of trams, buses and trams.
Public Transport Victoria is the contact for information on public transport in Victoria.
Planning your trip
Use the journey planner to work out the best route for your regular journeys to study or work. Most transport services end around midnight, although special night buses service many areas.
In regional Victoria, train services are provided by V/Line. Visit the V/Line website to see timetables and book tickets.
Tickets and fares
A myki card lets you travel on any mode of public transport around Melbourne and on regional trains and some buses.
Free tram zone
Tram travel is free in Melbourne’s central business district and inner city. There are signs on the tram stops to tell you where the free tram zone begins and ends. Most tram drivers also announce when you are entering or leaving the free tram zone.