Plan Your Arrival

Once you have been accepted to study at SAE in Australia and you have received your student visa, it's time to start planning.
Film lecturer explains film equipment to student


We recommend international students arrive in Australia 2-3 weeks before the course start date to settle into accommodation, familiarise themselves with the city and prepare for orientation and study.

You are not permitted to arrive in Australia without Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). If you arrive in Australia before your policy start date, you may be prevented from entry. If you need to arrive before your OSHC policy commences, ensure you change the start date to match your arrival.

We recommend you arrange your accommodation before you arrive in Australia, even if it is just for the first few days.
Brisbane Visitor Information

For information about activities and events in Brisbane visit: Brisbane Visitor Information

Accommodation in Brisbane

For more information about accommodation in Brisbane visit:

Choose Brisbane – Accommodation in Brisbane

Brisbane International Airport Travel

For more information on traveling to and from Brisbane International Airport visit:

Air Train

Uber, Taxi & Shuttle Bus

Public Transport

Translink operate, Buses, Ferries and Trains in Brisbane. You can research how to travel from your accommodation to SAE using this tool: Plan your journey

Byron Bay Visitor Information

For information about Byron Bay including weather, transport and activities visit: Byron Visitor Centre

Accommodation in Byron Bay

For more information about accommodation in Byron Bay visit:

Byron Bay Student Accommodation

Byron Shire Echo (local newspaper) accommodation notices

Gumtree: Flatshare and Houseshare

Gumtree: Short Term accommodation

Byron Bay Airport Information

To get to Byron Bay by plane, you have 2 international airports to choose from:

Gold Coast International Airport (40 minutes by car)

Brisbane International Airport (2 hours by car)

Airport to Byron Bay Travel

There are several airport transfer operators running daily trips between the airports and Byron Bay. For more information visit: Byron Visitor Centre

Melbourne Visitor Hub

Melbourne Visitor Hub in located in the centre of the city at Melbourne Town Hall. The visitor hub is staffed by city ambassadors that can help plan your time in Melbourne and share the secrets only a local would know. For more information visit: Melbourne Visitor Hub

Accommodation in Melbourne

For more information about accommodation in Melbourne visit:

Student Accommodation: Student housing Melbourne

What are your rental rights: Victorian rental rights

Melbourne International Airport Travel

For more information on traveling to and from Melbourne International Airport visit:


Uber, Taxis & Rideshare in Melbourne

Public Transport

Public Transport Victoria (PVT) operates Trams, Buses, and Trains in Melbourne. You can research how to travel from your accommodation to SAE using this tool: Plan your journey

Perth International Student Welcome Desk

The Study Perth International Student Welcome Desk is located at the Arrivals Hall in Terminal, on the left-hand side as you walk out of the arrivals doors after passing customs. Just look out for our Airport Greeters in blue!

The welcome desk will operate from Monday to Friday 5:30 – 8:30, 10:30 – 15:30, 16:00 – 21:00, 23:00 – 2:00, and Saturday and Sunday 17:00 – 22:00.

For more information visit: Study Perth International Student Welcome Desk

Accommodation, transport and general information about Perth

Study Perth has information for students about finding accommodation, transport and other advice for living in Perth. For more information visit: Study Perth – Living in Perth Information

Sydney International Student Welcome Desk

The Study Sydney International Student Welcome Desk is located at Sydney International Terminal 1. The welcome desk is staffed by volunteers who greet students and offer orientation advice including maps and information about accommodation and transport.

For more information visit: Study NSW International Student Welcome Desk

Accommodation, transport and general information about Sydney

Study NSW has information for students about finding accommodation, transport and other advice for living in Sydney. For more information visit: Study NSW – Accommodation Information


How much does it cost and how can you budget to make the most of your time studying in Australia? It depends on the city you’ve chosen to study in, where you live (city or suburbs), the type of place you want to live in (share house, private accommodation) and your lifestyle.
As a guide, a single student living away from home will need to budget $2,500 – $4,000 each month in addition to your course fees to cover general living expenses such as accommodation, food and clothing, transport and entertainment (according to Study Australia as at May 2024).
The Study Australia site is designed to help you think about how you spend money and to give you a broad estimate of potential costs in Australia. To get a better idea of the average living costs in your chosen city of study, check out the cost of living calculator..

The Department of Home Affairs requires international students to demonstrate that they have access to at least A$29,710 to cover living costs in Australia during the first year – this number increases if you are bringing a partner or dependants. See the Department of Home Affairs website for more information.

Plan for your everyday expenses and accommodation

We have listed some categories below to help you plan ahead.

Choose from a variety of accommodation options including homestays with local families, managed student accommodation, share houses with friends or a private residence. Rent can vary from $300 to $900 per week depending on location and type of accommodation.

A weekly grocery bill for one student can vary from $80–$250.

You can access public transport buy purchasing a travel card for whichever city you have chosen to study in, for example an opal card in Sydney or myki card in Melbourne. These can be ordered online or purchased from a registered retailer. Public transport costs are capped at $55 per week in Sydney, and $53 in Melbourne.

These expenses will vary depending on your preferences so allow for at least $100 per week. Lots of places offer student discounts so keep your student card with you and don’t forget to budget for other incidentals including mobile plan / sim card, eating out, clothes, health and beauty, and social activities.


Overseas Student Health Cover is compulsory for international students, and costs will depend on your insurance provider and your level of cover. You may have additional costs including fees for specialists and prescription medications.



You are not required to have your own laptop and should not worry if you do not already have one when you arrive. All SAE campuses have Apple Mac computers available for use in each classroom and you can also book computers in the library. However, if you already own a laptop and are able to bring it to Australia with you, that is probably the best option.

The computers on campus have all the required software already installed for your course requirements. It is not recommended to purchase any software for your course before you arrive, as it may not be necessary. We also encourage students to try other software they may prefer, rather than insisting that you can only use one type. If you want to purchase your own software, it’s best to discuss your needs with your class teachers after you start your course.

Most software used in your course can be installed on either Apple Mac or Windows operating systems. SAE do not favour any particular system and encourages students to choose their preferred.

SAE do not use textbooks however if you would like to purchase any specific texts, get some advice from your class teachers after you arrive.

Students taking audio subjects are advised to purchase a good quality set of studio headphones (over-ear). We don’t insist on a particular brand but our teachers are happy to give you some advice when you arrive. General advice is to get the best quality that you can reasonably afford on your budget.

Some technology may be more expensive to purchase in Australia compared to overseas. Although prices vary, you can get an approximate idea of prices in Australia, by checking out some of the large, popular retailers such as Harvey Norman, JB Hi Fi and Apple Australia.

Discounts for SAE student card holders are available from some stores. You will receive your student ID card at orientation and receive more information about discounts



You can withdraw your money using your electronic banking card at automatic teller machines (ATMs) which can be found all over Australia (there are ATMs at all airports).

Most ATMs recognise international cards, so you will be able to use your credit or debit card from your home country. Your bank will charge extra fees to withdraw money from your home account – make sure you check with your home financial provider before you arrive in Australia.

In Australia, most every-day transactions, including shopping and transport, are completed electronically. While some small shops still take cash only, this is becoming rare, particularly in the cities. You will not need to carry large amounts of cash for your daily expenses.

You can exchange currency at all airports in Australia. The currency of Australia is Australian Dollars (AUD). There are 100 cents in one dollar ($1). Australian dollar notes come in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Coins are issued in denominations of 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2.

Prices are rounded up or down to the nearest 5 cents in shops and supermarkets. For example, you would pay $1.95 for an item priced $1.97, but $2 for an item priced $1.99.

You can set up an Australian bank account before or after you arrive. To do this, you will need to have your Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE), passport, Letter of Offer and other forms of identification. You may also need an Australian Tax File Number (TFN). You can find information about getting a TFN at the Australian Tax Office website.

SAE student services will give you more information about opening a bank account when you attend orientation.



In most places, public transport (trains, buses, ferries and trams) cannot be paid for in cash or electronically and you will need to purchase a transport card for travel, in advance, before you attempt to make a trip. Transport cards can usually be purchased at airport arrivals from the newsagent (newsstand).

Taxi Cabs – Taxi drivers do not accept cash, you will need to pay with a credit card or electronic debit card

Uber – Uber ride sharing requires an app linked to your bank account for automatic payment. Be aware that you may be charged an extra fee by your bank if payments are linked to your bank in your home country.

Airport Transfer services – Some airport transfer services (either bus or train) allow you to purchase a paper ticket at the airport, using cash or a card. Some may require that you pay online for your ticket. You should enquire about and if possible, book your service in advance before arriving.

If you hold a current drivers licence in your home country, you might be able to drive in Australia without taking a driving test. Some states may require you to get an Australian drivers licence if you are here for more than three months.

You will need to check with the State Government of the city where you are living:

Sydney: NSW Transport, Roads & Maritime Services. Information for overseas licence holders

Brisbane: Queensland Government Department of Main Roads & Transport. Overseas Licences

Byron Bay: NSW Transport, Roads & Maritime Services. Information for overseas licence holders

Melbourne: Victorian State Government, VIC Roads. Licence information

Perth: Government of Western Australia, Department of Transport. Overseas licence holders

Or visit Ausroads for more information.


SAE student services will help you with setting up a mobile phone and Internet, when you attend orientation.

It is best to purchase a SIM card or Australian mobile number after you arrive in Australia, because using your home phone number will incur high costs. You can get mobile Internet, SMS, local calls and international calls with most mobile phone accounts and coverage in Australian cities is generally good. There are two types of mobile phone accounts you can choose from:


Pre-paid mobile phone cards are a good idea if you are worried about getting high mobile phone bills. You can choose the amount you want to spend each month and track how much credit you have remaining, with the option to top-up your account if you need more. Prepaid SIM cards and mobile phones are sold in many shops and supermarkets. Prices start from $30 for a basic android phone and up to several hundred dollars for top-range.



If you will be using your mobile a lot, and will be in Australia for a fixed period of time for study, a contract might work out best for you. There are numerous mobile phone operators in Australia, and you can choose from a range of phone plans where you can get the handset with little (if any) up-front cost; you then pay a fixed price per month for a certain amount of calls, text messages and data.

To make international telephone calls from Australia, dial 0011 followed by the country code, the area code (if required) and the telephone number. To call Australia from overseas, dial 61 followed by the area code and telephone number. To make calls from one location to another within Australia, dial the area code (if required) followed by the telephone number.

Planning your departure

You must carry all documents relating to your enrolment, visa, accommodation and plans in Australia, and have them ready to present to customs on arrival.

Check that your passport is valid for at least 6 months prior to your entry arrival in Australia, and that you have all your visa documentation. It is also a good idea to make copies of your passport in case you lose your passport.

You will need your electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) and student information pack, which you will have received from your institution.

This is a requirement for entry to Australia, so make sure you have your health cover policy arranged before you leave home.

You should also consider travel insurance, which covers things your OSHC may not – such as cancelled flights, lost documents, dental or optical care, etc.

Make sure you are aware of the date and time of your flight. Keep your flight details in a safe and secure place, with your passport and visa.

You may want to have a list of emergency contact details for family, as well as your embassy, accommodation and institution details. If you have used an education agent, keep their contact details on you, in case you need to contact them once you arrive in Australia.

There are money exchange places available at Australian airports and in cities, but it is recommended to have some Australian currency on you prior to leaving your home country.

Whether you are taking public transport, a taxi, or you are being picked up from the airport by your education provider, it is important that you have all the details including the time, the route and, if your travel has been arranged by your institution, their contact details. If you need a map to assist you in getting to your accommodation from the airport, they will be available at the airport, or you can print one prior to leaving.

Make sure you have the address of where you will be staying as well as their phone number and payment confirmation (if you have already paid for your accommodation).

Man pushing audio equipment back of stage at live performance


Click for more information about studying at SAE in Australia.