You are taking a brave step by moving to a brand new country – you should be proud of yourself. We understand you may feel a bit anxious, but we’re here to help you get settled in.

What to bring when moving to Sydney

We’ve put together a packing list to help you plan your move to Sydney. Don’t stress if you don’t have everything. You can buy most of it here, but this is a great starting point.

  1. Studying essentials – Laptop, a notepad and pens. If you need specialised equipment for your degree, you can purchase it here at UNSW, elsewhere in Sydney or online.
  2. Student visa documents – Carry printed copies of your travel documentation, including your student visa granting letter and your UNSW offer, when you travel to Australia.
  3. Sun protection – Australia is a very sunny country. While sunshine is good for keeping you healthy and happy, it’s important to protect yourself against excessive UV exposure. Stay safe by wearing sunscreen every day. You should also bring a hat, sunglasses and protective clothing for the days you spend in the sun.
  4. Clothes – Shorts, t-shirts and dresses are perfect for summer. In winter, you’ll need jeans, sweaters and a coat. A rain jacket is also a good idea. For shoes, sneakers are great for exploring the city on foot. You might also want to bring boots and dress shoes to go out in. When you arrive, buy yourself a pair of thongs (flip flops) to fit in with the locals.
  5. Technology – Universal adapter, headphones for the plane and possibly a portable charger for your devices.
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But before you start packing, you should know this one thing:

Australia has one of the strictest biosecurity controls in the world. There are things you cannot bring into Australia and things you need to declare when you arrive at the airport. Make sure you have read this list before you start packing.

If you bring in restricted items without declaration, it may cause heavy fines and even cancellation of your visa.  

When you arrive in Sydney

Once you’ve touched down on Aussie shores, there are a few things you need to do. We’ve created a checklist to help you.

  • Telstra, Optus and Vodafone are the main providers for phone and internet services. You can get a SIM card at the airport or most supermarkets. You will need your ID, usually your passport, to register and activate your SIM.

  • Commonwealth, Westpac, ANZ and NAB are the ‘Big 4’ banks in Australia. Some international banks also have branches in Sydney.

    There are ATMs on campus where you can deal with basic banking needs once you have a bank card.

  • Woolworths, Coles and IGA are the biggest supermarkets where you can get almost everything you need for groceries. There is an IGA store on campus near Gate 2 on High Street and a couple of Asian grocery stores along Anzac Parade. 

  • You may need to purchase things like bedding, homewares, toiletries, cleaning products and other essentials. Myer and David Jones are the biggest department stores in Australia. You can also get some budget-friendly options at Target or Kmart.

    Royal Randwick is the closest shopping centre to our Kensington campus, only 10 minutes walk from the upper campus.

  • We have plenty of programs to help new international students get familiar with their life in Sydney. Visit the International Student Welcome Centre to book a Cultural Mentor who will help you settle in.

    And don’t miss out on O-Week!
  • Head to The Nucleus: Student Hub located on level 2 of the main library to take an ID photo and get your UNSW student card when you arrive. Remember to bring your passport when getting a student ID. You will use this card for identification, building access and borrowing books from the library.

    Check out how to get a student ID card below.

  • Once you have your student ID, you can set up your student login to access UNSW online portals and software. Below is a checklist for you to start with. 

  • An Opal card is a prepaid card for public transport in New South Wales, such as trains, buses, light rails and ferries. You can choose to use an Opal card for public transport, or you can use your bank card instead. You can either apply an Opal card online or get it from most convenience stores or news agencies.

    Remember to tap on and tap off when you trip to get the correct fare. 

  • If you plan to work during your stay, you’ll need a Tax File Number (TFN). This will be your personal reference number in Australia’s tax and superannuation system.

    It is free to apply for a TFN and you should keep this number in a safe place when you have it. 

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Avoiding scams and staying safe

Unfortunately, there are a small number of people who try to take advantage of international students and other members of the public. At UNSW, we offer a range of resources and support services to help you avoid scams. Read through the information we’ve gathered on the most common scams currently circulating in Australia so you know what to look out for.

How we can help you get settled in Sydney

We want your experience in Sydney to be memorable for all the right reasons. So, we offer a range of services to ensure you have a smooth arrival and departure, as well as a fun, unforgettable time here.

  • Accommodation
    No matter if you want to live on-campus or off-campus, we can help you understand and compare the different options. 
  • Free airport pick-up
    We offer free airport pick-up service to commencing international students. We’ll collect you from the airport and make sure you arrive safely at your accommodation. Book here.
  • Campus tour
    Discover the place you will spend the next few years at! We run regular tours to help you familiarise with the campus.
  • English conversation workshop
    Get together with other students to practice your English and make new friends. 
  • Scholarships
    When you submit your admission application, our Scholarship team can help you find any scholarships that might be available to help you cover the cost of your time in Australia.
  • Cultural mentor program
    We’ll introduce you to a friendly senior student mentor to answer your questions about learning at UNSW or living in Sydney.
  • Global sport program
    Get active and social by joining a sporting team at UNSW with various discounted events and programs on offer. 
  • Nightly shuttle bus
    Our campus security team can help you get across campus safely after hours. 
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Start your UNSW journey

Explore why UNSW Sydney should be your first choice. Study at a global top 20 university. 

Ready to start your adventure? 

It only takes a few simple steps to apply to UNSW. Follow our guide to start your application.

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 Want to find out more about studying in Sydney?

If you have any questions about studying at UNSW or your life in Sydney, contact us below. We’re here to help.