Welcome to New England College

Living in Australia


Living in Australia will be a new experience, but there are support services in your institution as well as from other organizations to help make adjusting to life in Australia easier. As Australia is the eleventh happiest country in the world (World Population Review 2020) and we have two of the top ten best cities in the world for students (QS 2019), you are sure to enjoy your time here.

No matter what type of study you are doing in Australia, whether you are here for a few months or a few years, some research and planning will help you have a safe and rewarding study experience.

Important considerations and planning include:

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

For International Students: Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is compulsory insurance that provides cover for the costs of medical and hospital care which international students may need while in Australia and is mandatory for international student visa holders. OSHC will also cover the cost of emergency ambulance transport and most prescription drugs. At NEC our preferred providers for OSHC are Allianz Global Assistance:

How do I get OSHC?

You can elect for NEC to include OSHC as part of your application for enrolment. Alternatively, you may elect to organise your own Overseas Student Health Cover. Please note that only Australian health funds that have signed an agreement with the Australian Government can provide OSHC. You may choose to change your health fund at any time, but will need to abide by the conditions of change of the health fund provider you are leaving.

Further information on OSHC can be found at: https://oshcaustralia.com.au/en

If you come to Australia on a Visa other than a student Visa and undertake a short course of study of three months duration or less you will not be eligible for OSHC. It is wise to purchase travel or private medical insurance in this case.

What am I covered for?

OSHC provides a safety net for medical expenses for international students, similar to that provided to Australians through Medicare. Additionally, OSHC includes access to some private hospitals and day surgeries, ambulance cover and benefits for pharmaceuticals.

For more information on your OSHC please refer to the Policy Information Booklet available directly from the OSHC provider.

How do I use my OSHC card?

If you need to visit a doctor or medical centre, show your card at the end of the visit. There are two components to the medical bill, those payable to the doctor and those which are covered by the government. The medical centre may process the government fee for you, and charge only the doctor’s fee. If the medical centre is not able to process the government fee, pay the total amount, keep the receipt and you can claim the government fee back from your OSHC provider.

Planning Your Travel to Australia

Once you have been accepted to study at an institution and have received confirmation of your student visa, the next step is to start planning for your arrival.

Here is a checklist to help you plan your departure:

  • Apply for/renew your passport
    • Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months prior to your entry arrival in Australia. It is also a good idea to make copies of your passport in case it is lost.
  • Arrange your student visa
  • Make contact with New England College
  • Complete required forms with New England College
    • You will need your electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) and student information pack (This Handbook), which you will have received from New England College.
  • Make payments to New England College
  • Arrange for immunisations and medications from Doctor
  • Apply for a credit card and/or arrange sufficient funds
    • 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.
  • Confirm overseas access to your funds with your bank
  • Make travel arrangements
    • 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.
  • Arrange travel insurance / OSHC
    • 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. You may want to have a list of emergency contact details for family, as well as your embassy, accommodation and New England College

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.

  • Advise the College of your travel details
  • Arrange accommodation
    • 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).
  • Arrange transport from airport to accommodation
    • 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.

  • Pack bags being sure to include the following:
    • Name and contact details of a college representative
    • Enough currency for taxis, buses, phone calls etc. in the event of an emergency
    • Important documents:
      • Passport
      • A copy of your Letter of Offer & Agreement
      • Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)
      • Certified copies of qualifications & certificates
      • Travel insurance policy
      • ID cards, driver’s licence, birth certificate (or copy)
      • Receipts of payments made to the College
      • Medical records and / or prescriptions

Customs and Border Protection

You should ideally fly into Melbourne Airport. Visit https://www.melbourneairport.com.au/ for detailed airport information.

You need to be aware of what you cannot bring into Australia and therefore what you should not pack. It is illegal to carry drugs including marijuana, cannabis, heroin, cocaine and amphetamines in and out of Australia.

There are a number of items that you must declare upon your arrival in Australia including:

You should also be aware that as a routine part of their work, Customs and Border Protection officers may question travellers at any time, and trained dogs may also be used to detect illegal drugs or prohibited imports. If you are in doubt, declare your goods or ask a Customs and Border Protection officer for advice. Declaring goods does not necessarily mean your baggage will be examined.

People who deliberately break Australian Customs and Border Protection regulations could be fined or taken to court. You can also find information at the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service website: https://www.abf.gov.au/entering-and-leaving-australia/can-you-bring-it-in

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Students are often surprised by how strict the Department of Agriculture; Water and the Environment (DAWE) biosecurity requirements can be.

Live animals and plants, plant material, animal products and some food from overseas could introduce some of the world’s most serious pests and diseases into Australia, devastating our valuable agriculture and tourism industries and unique environment.

Therefore, it’s important to remember when you’re packing to not bring fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, poultry, pork, eggs, nuts, dairy goods and live plants and seeds, as they will not be allowed into the country. You can also find information on what you can bring or send to Australia at the DAFF web site: https://www.agriculture.gov.au/travelling/to-australia/studying-in-australia
If you’re in doubt about whether your goods are prohibited or not, declare them on the Incoming Passenger Card which you will receive on the plane. On the spot fines can apply for not declaring items.

Arriving in Australia

When you arrive at an Australian airport, you will first need to go through immigration and customs clearance. If you need help finding your way around, just ask the airline staff or one of the border officials in the arrivals area. A clearance officer will check your travel document and visa, and once cleared you will be able to collect your luggage to go through customs and quarantine clearance processes. More information on what to expect when you arrive at the airport is available at https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au
Getting to your new home

You should arrange accommodation before you arrive in Australia; even it is just for the first few days. Have your accommodation address written in English ready to show the taxi or hire car, or detailed directions if you are using public transport. Please contact the student support officer at NEC should you wish us to arrange the airport pick up.

All costs are in Australian dollars (AUD) and are an approximate only. Source: http://www.studyinaustralia.gov.au/global/live-in-australia/living-costs

How do I start looking for accommodation?

New England College can provide you with help in finding accommodation and understanding contracts such as leases and tenancy agreements.

Student noticeboards and newspapers often advertise rooms, apartments and houses for rent. Some institutions also post accommodation vacancies on their website. Websites like REIWA, Realestate.com.au, Gumtree, Homesales.com.au, Flatmates.com.au, RateMyAgent.com.au and FlatmateFinders.com.au are great places to look for rental accommodation.


Homestay means living with an Australian family for all or part of your study period. It is a great opportunity for you to learn conversational English, and experience first-hand the friendly Victorian lifestyle and culture.

Single or shared rooms are available. Meals are usually included, but cheaper self-catering homestay is available. As you will be living in someone else’s home, you will be expected to clean up after yourself, especially in shared areas. The Australian Homestay Network (AHN) can provide assistance with finding a suitable homestay.

Rent a house, apartment or room

Renting your own property

If you want to be completely independent, you can rent a property and share living expenses with other students or friends. Rental properties are advertised on the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) website and in Melbourne’s local newspapers.
As with most capital cities, the rental market in Melbourne is competitive and you will need to make sure you have done some research and have a reliable source of income before you start looking. As most properties are unfurnished, you will also need to purchase electrical items, furniture, bedding and kitchen utensils. You will usually need to pay four weeks’ rent upfront (known as bond) as well as cover the costs for connecting the electricity, gas, telephone and internet.

Renting a room

If you cannot afford the upfront costs of renting a property, you may want to consider renting a room. Students and families often rent out furnished spare rooms in their houses and apartments, and this can be a great way to live independently without the expense of renting on your own. Websites like realestate.com.au, GumTree, homesales.com.au and flatmates.com.au are great places to look for rental accommodation.

Youth hostel

Hostels are either privately-owned or run by organisations such as Youth Hostels Australia (YHA). Single and shared rooms are available, with communal kitchen and bathroom facilities. You can also search for privately-owned youth hostels in Melbourne.

Women-only or men-only accommodation

With most types of shared living accommodation, you will need to specify if you prefer to share with either men-only or women-only.