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The biggest questions you have about studying in Australia

Want to study in Australia? Here's what you need to know

A group of friends laugh and chat together as they sit outside
A group of friends laugh and chat together as they sit outside

If you’re thinking about studying in Australia, chances are you have many questions, from the serious (how are my credits transferred?) to the less serious (kangaroos: friend or foe?).

The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be. Here we answer your most pressing questions about studying in Australia.

How soon before the semester begins should I arrive in Australia?

Most universities will run an orientation program for international students, so aim to arrive with enough time to acclimatise to Australia (get over jet lag) before orientation begins.

If that’s not possible, then just ensure you arrive before the first day of classes.

How are my credits transferred?

You may be eligible for credit (often called a ‘recognition of prior learning’ or RPL) for some or all of the courses you’ve completed in your home country.

Each university will operate on a case-by-case basis, however most will have an online credit transfer calculator which will give you an indication of whether you’re likely to receive credit. Here is the online credit transfer calculator for the University of Melbourne and the University of the Sunshine Coast to get you started.

How can I find accommodation?

There are many accommodation options, from renting a room in a private house, to sharing a house or flat, to staying in a student village. Although universities don’t book accommodation for you, they will offer information on local options via their international student or housing assistance pages.

The following resources may also help. offers places to rent. Sites like will help you find people to live with, and many universities will have notice boards listing local rooms for rent.

The other thing to keep in mind is that some dishonest operators will charge international students excessive prices, well above the norm, for properties that aren’t ideal. Fortunately, each state has a tenant’s union which will be able to advise you (free of charge) on what is and isn’t acceptable.

Check out the tenant’s unions in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

With so many options, it’s not always easy to make a good choice when you’re far away. One option is to book temporary accommodation before arriving, and then find reasonably priced accommodation in a convenient location when you arrive. If you’re moving to Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane, check out our city guides for more information.

With so many options, it’s not always easy to make a good accommodation choice when you’re far away.

Can I get help with the English language during my studies?

Yes! Each university will offer language services for international students. However, assistance may be limited to a certain amount of time per student so check what’s available to you as you may need to ration it out. Most universities will also offer English language skills programs for international students.

Can I transfer programs if I don’t like my classes?

The short answer is yes, but it depends on a few different factors. Universities all have their own international student transfer policies, so check their websites for detail. There is a deadline (usually a few weeks into each semester) by which you have to submit any transfer requests, so while it’s possible, there’s usually a lot of paperwork so you have to decide and act fast.

Do I need to purchase overseas student health cover (OSHC)?

As an international student, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) requires that you have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the duration of your student visa. Check the Australian Government’s ‘Study in Australia’ site for more information.

At nib we’ve helped over 135,000 international students from across the globe get the cover best suited to their stay, so get in touch and let us help you find a cover that works for you.

Can I update my OSHC from single to family cover?

If you’re planning to make the most of your stay in Australia, have brought your partner and children with you while you study in Australia and they’re on your student visa, your OSHC can cover them as well. Contact nib to chat about your cover options.

Can I stay in Australia after I finish studying?

Your student visa will last for the duration of your course plus a small amount of time afterwards (typically one to three months). If you’re looking to stay longer, whether it’s for more study, to start work, to travel or have family visit, it’s important to have a plan. We’ve put together an article to help make your decisions easier: 5 options for international students after graduation.

Travelling to Australia as a student? Check out our articles for international students and visitors on The Check Up.