Cost of living

There are many local and foreign banks and other financial institutions in Australia. If you want to open a local bank account and will need personal identification to do so. 

When choosing your bank and bank account:

  • compare interest rates, fees and charges at different banks. Some banks provide students with accounts where fees are not charged.
  • ask whether you can transfer money from your home country directly into your bank account by telegraphic transfer.
  • ask what fee the bank charges for transferring or receiving funds.

After you open a savings or a cheque account at the bank you will be issued with an ATM (Automated Teller Machine) card so you can withdraw cash from an ATM machines or buy goods and services. You can also arrange money from your home country to be transferred directly into your bank account (your Australian bank may charge a fee for transferring funds).


Supermarkets sell fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, frozen foods, canned goods, bread, paper products, stationery, personal needs and same non-prescription medicines. Department and variety stores sell products such as clothing, furniture, cutlery, gifts and shoes at a fixed price. 

Large shopping centres such as Mirvacand Westfieldare located in the centre of Sydney and suburbs as well as larger regional cities and towns. Large shopping centres usually contain major department stores such as David Jones, Myer, Target, Kmart, and Big W, supermarkets such as Coles, Woolworths, and IGA, specialist stores selling books, clothing, computers and software, telephones, sportswear and music, banks, cafes, fast-food outlets and movie theatres such as Event CinemasHoytsIMAX Theatre.

Markets sell new and second-hand goods. There are a number of weekend markets in Sydney, including Paddy's Markets in Haymarket and FlemingtonThe Rocks MarketsGlebe MarketsBondi MarketsBalmain MarketsSydney Fish Markets and Eveleigh Farmers and Artisans Market


Overseas phone cards, offering cheap rates, are available in most newsagents and convenience stores. If you are making an international call from Australia to another country you will have to dial 0011 + country code + area code + telephone number.

A reverse charge (collect) international call is also available. A collect call is a telephone call that is charged to the person you are calling. To make a collect call with Telstra dial 1300 362 162 to be put through to an operator who will assist you. 

For more information about collect call visit Telstra website and 1800 Reverse website. For operator-assisted calls within Australia, internationally, telephone 1234. Telephone providers include Telstra and Optus.

Public payphones

Public payphones that accept coins can be found in airports, post offices, railway stations, shopping centres and in the centre of the city. Local calls are untimed. Long-distance and international calls are charged by the minute. Find a public payphone's location using Payphone Locator search tool

Mobile phones, internet and email

Mobile phone services are available from several telephone companies which offer a wide range of phones and payment options. Internet cafes providing internet services at low rates are easy to find in city areas.

Depending on the network in your home country, you may be able to connect your existing mobile phone to an Australian network by installing a new SIM card. 

Mobile call costs may be more expensive than fixed line calls. Many students find it easier to buy pre-paid mobile phone packages which also help to budget for telephone costs.

Postal services

Australia Post is the national postal service. Small and large parcels addressed to you are usually held at your local post office. The postman leaves a card in your letterbox and you take the card to your local post office to collect your parcel.

Australia Post offices and shops also sell postage stamps, envelopes, packing boxes, cards and other stationery items. You can also pay many bills with cash, BPay or debit (EFTPOS) cards at any post office.


The Australian dollar (AUD) is based on the decimal system with 100 cents to the dollar. Australian currency is available as polymer notes and coins in the following values:

  • Notes: $5, $10, $20, $50, $100
  • Gold coins: $1, $2
  • Silver coins: 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c

Cost of living

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New South Wales


NSW lies on the east coast of Australia.
Sydney is the state's capital and the largest
city in Australia.

To find a school go to School locations.

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Helpful guides

Guides on living, studying and working in:


ESOS Framework

The Australian Government wants international students to have a safe, enjoyable and rewarding study experience in Australia.

Read more about the ESOS Framework.


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DE International has a worldwide network of representative agents who can help you complete and submit your application to study.

These representatives must provide you with accurate and up-to date information and advice regarding programs, courses, application procedures, living and studying in Australia. They can also assist with your visa application. If you wish to apply through an agent it is recommended that you use an agent on this list. If you choose to use another agent who is not published on this list, then DE International is not responsible for the accuracy of the advice provided to you.

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Cost of living

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