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Living In Australia

This section will provide you with a brief overview of some essentials such as student visas, average student living costs and an accommodation guide. For detailed information about Australia and study related topics please visit the useful links section on this site for some reliable in depth links to these topics.

About Sydney

Australian Pacific College is located in the beautiful city of Sydney and looks over the blue waters of Sydney Harbour. Sydney is recognised as a safe, clean city with fresh air and numerous trees, parks and green spaces. Sydney also has stunning beauty including wonderful supervised surfing beaches where you can walk and swim in safety. If sport appeals to you, there is a great variety from which to choose. Australians love sport and either participate in their favourite sport or watch it regularly. Within walking distance from APC are many cultural and historical places which form the very heart of the city: the Rocks area, rich in history from the colonial past; the Opera House; Darling Harbour, the State Library; Chinatown; and some of the world’s finest Shopping Centres – Sydney has it all and it is all within a five minute train ride or walking distance from the College. Australians also enjoy eating out in many of the fine restaurants available in Sydney. Restaurants cater for every taste and budget. The cosmopolitan nature of Sydney has enabled the development of a wide variety of ethnic restaurants providing the opportunity to experience cuisine from around the world.

About Brisbane

Brisbane, the capital of Queensland – known as the “Sunshine State” –is a dynamic, cosmopolitan, safe and friendly city, once voted Australia’s most livable city. It is surrounded by some of the most popular sightseeing places in Australia: the Gold & Sunshine Coasts, beautiful sand islands, zoos and theme parks. The city is also renowned as the education centre of Queensland as it is home to nine universities. Living costs are comparatively low and public transport is affordable and accessible. The amazing weather, excellent quality of life on offer and the friendly people make Brisbane the perfect Australian city in which to live and study.

About Melbourne

Melbourne, the second biggest city in Australia, is a safe, friendly and cosmopolitan city.  It is sometimes called the cultural capital of Australia as it has a lot to offer in terms of theatre, music and the arts.  Melbourne has a lot of great places to shop as well as numerous restaurants and its vibrant atmosphere make it a great choice for study and travel. Melbourne is very well-designed and it is really easy get around due to its systematic layout.  Within an hour travel from the city there are beaches, wineries and other attractions.


Sydney's climate is temperate with 342 days a year of sunshine on average. The wettest months are March to May; the coldest month is July and the hottest months are January and February. The weather in Sydney may change many times during the day. During the Spring and Summer months temperatures can range from 15 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees, in the middle of the day. You should dress lightly but always carry a light sweater or cardigan for the evenings. During autumn and winter, the temperature ranges from 5 degrees to 15 degrees Celsius. You should wear a jacket or coat, especially in the city, where the wind is strong and cold. Although it does not snow in Sydney, winter is very cold because most homes do not have central heating.

Brisbane has a comfortable subtropical climate. The average maximum daily temperature throughout the year is around 25 degrees with an average of 300 days of sunshine per year.

Melbourne has a moderate climate and is well known for its changeable weather conditions. It is a little colder than other mainland Australian state capital cities in the winter with only a small variation in winter temperatures. Melbourne summers are notable for occasional days of extreme heat.

Cost of Living

The average international student in Australia spends about $405 per week on:

  • accommodation
  • food
  • clothing
  • entertainment
  • transport
  • international and domestic travel
  • telephone
  • incidental costs

While this is a realistic guide, it is important to remember that individual circumstances will vary by location, course and lifestyle. When you are structuring your budget also take into account the following:

  • tuition fees
  • health insurance
  • working while you study


Money and Banks

Australian currency is the only legal tender in Australia. When you first arrive, money from other countries can be changed at the exchange facilities located at international airports, banks and major hotels. Travellers cheques are easier to use if already in Australian dollars, however, banks will cash travellers cheques in virtually any currency. Major hotels and some shops, depending on individual store policy, will cash travellers cheques. It is a good idea to set up an Australian bank account. You will need to provide your visa and evidence of residency. Banking services in Australia are extremely competitive. Over 20 local and numerous international banking groups are represented in Australia. All major banks have a branch in cities and regional centres. Most shopping centres have Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) facilities. These machines can be used for deposits and, in many instances, withdrawals 24 hours a day. Many department stores, supermarkets and specialist shops have electronic transfer terminals (EFTPOS) where cash withdrawals can also be made in addition to purchasing goods.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are widely accepted around Australia. The most commonly accepted credit cards are American Express, Bankcard, Diners International, MasterCard, Visa and their affiliates.


Australia uses a dollars and cents system of decimal currency with 100 cents in a dollar. The bank notes in use are $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Coins used are the silver coloured 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent and 50 cent and the gold coloured $1 and $2 coins.


Tipping is not the general custom in Australia and service charges are not added to accounts by hotels and restaurants.
In better-class restaurants, it is usual to tip food and drink waiters up to 10 per cent of the bill for good service. Porters have set charges at railway terminals, but not at hotels. However, at any time, tipping is a matter of individual choice.

This information has been sourced from the Study in Australia website, for more information visit this site:


All of the APC campuses are within walking distance of train stations and bus stops. Public transport systems provides bus, train and ferry services throughout the city. In addition, Sydney has a light rail system and Melbourne has a tram system. There are both government and private services. Taxi services are also available, but they are expensive in comparison with other forms of public transport.

To travel by public transport you will need to purchase a travel card. This has a different name in each city. Sydney has an Opal card, Brisbane has a Go card and Melbourne has a Myki card. You can add credit to these cards and then you don’t have to worry about not having enough cash to catch public transport. All can have extra credit added to them online or through a retail outlet. Just remember to tap on and tap off.

To get to and from the airport catch the airport line train in Sydney or Brisbane or the Skybus in Melbourne.

Australian People

Australians are friendly people and quite informal. Don’t forget different countries have different customs. We say 'please' and 'thank you' a lot, and always say 'excuse me' when we talk to a stranger or to someone who is busy. It is okay to shake hands when you meet someone - or just smile and say 'How are you?' Australians use first names a lot, but with older people wait until they ask you. Call them 'Mr Smith' or 'Mrs Smith' or by their first name if they ask you.

Water use

Australia is a dry country and has water restrictions in place to limit the amount of water that is wasted. Please remember to turn off taps, limit the length of time you leave water running when you clean your teeth, take a shower or wash your hands. If you own a car use a bucket to clean your car instead of a hose. Every state imposes heavy fines for water wastage.

Safety and Clothing

Layered outfits are the most practical clothing for Australian conditions. A waterproof jacket is useful but, even in mid-winter, an overcoat is not often necessary in Sydney. Australian dress is generally casual by international standards.

Australia is considered to be one of the safest countries in the world. However, like in all countries/major cities, undue risks should not be taken in Sydney. For example, avoid poorly-lit areas at night time, do not provoke undue attention to yourself with loud behaviour, dress etc. and take care of your valuables and belongings at all times. If you are not familiar with Sydney or if you must travel at night, travel with a friend. Also do not accept a ride in a car from someone you do not know, even if they seem friendly or helpful.

Student Spotlight

Camilo Vega.JPG

Camilo Colombia

“I have been in Australia for two years, one year in Sydney. I love the multicultural life and I’m looking forward to doing a Master degree.”

Occupation: Student / bartender
City: Sydney

“Living in Sydney is a great opportunity to learn about other cultures, to live a cultural life and to improve the quality of living. There isn’t anything you can’t do in this city. The majority of people respect other ways of thinking and there is always an opportunity to express what you are feeling in a free way.”


Maxine Sweden

Maxine has been studying in Australia for 5 years. She studied Diploma of Management and Advanced Diploma of Management for the last 18 months of her stay at APC city campuses. She graduated with APC in December and returned to Sweden in January.

Occupation: Student
City: Sydney

“I cannot thank (APC) enough for the kind, professional and efficient help I have received from staff and trainers. You have all gone above and beyond what I experienced in both another private institution, university and community college I have attended in Australia, and I am highly grateful!
I have received both my college diplomas and I’m back in Sweden. I had a very easy time to get the job that I wanted back in Sweden and a lot of thanks to the diplomas I completed with you (at APC). Thank you again for your wonderful service and great staff!! APC is truly the best establishment I have attended in Australia.”

Paula Ribas Demarco.JPG

Paula Brazil

“I am a Brazilian student, 25 years old. I have been studying at Australian Pacific College for over four months. I really appreciate my time at APC. I’m grateful for the opportunity to study English in this college.”

Occupation: Student
City: Sydney

“I am very satisfied with my choice to study English at Australian Pacific College. The teachers at APC are helpful and friendly. Being part of this campus is a great experience. I can feel my English getting better every day. I would surely recommend this course.”

Viviana Toniolo

Viviana Italy

“English grammar lessons on comprehension of a text, reading, listening, writing and speaking tasks.”

Course: English Courses
Occupation: Student

“I am a student from Italy and I’ve been studying at Australian Pacific College for almost a year. The reason why I chose this college is because I had great feedback from a dear friend who studied here. The environment really encourages students to improve their skills. The teachers are competent and make you feel welcomed. It’s a good opportunity for me to stay in the country, improve my English and make new friends.”