Living in Sydney

Australia is a great place to live and study in. By studying in Sydney you will enjoy the sights and sounds of one of Australia's most visited cities. You will also be close to many of our finest east coast tourist destinations.

Sydney was rated the number nine student city in the world (QS Best Student Cities, 2019).

Life in Sydney

A melting pot of cultures, cuisines and international events, Sydney prides itself on being a multicultural metropolis. Besides its culturally diverse reputation, Sydney is famed for its spectacular harbour and beaches; internationally renowned sights such as the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge; world-class restaurants; and bustling nightlife. As a student at VU Sydney, you will never be short of things to see and do between classes.

Living in Sydney means you have easy access to excellent tourist experiences, including the picturesque Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley. Whether you enjoy exploring mountains, visiting beaches, bushwalking or whale watching, New South Wales (NSW) has a lot to offer.

Find out more about visiting Sydney and New South Wales.


Your safety matters to us at Victoria University Sydney. We foster a safe environment where you feel empowered to speak up if something bothers you, or you believe someone needs help.

You can feel confident that VU Sydney is committed to keeping you safe while you study with us.

Our Student Services team will be on hand to offer support, advice and assistance whenever you need it. Our campuses are all tobacco and smoke-free so you can study in a healthy environment.

Sydney is often ranked highly among the world’s most liveable cities. But, like most large cities, there are some risks, especially at night. Here are some tips for staying safe.

Cost of living

While Sydney may sometimes seem expensive, it is comparatively cheaper than other capital cities around the world. According to Insider Guides, you can expect to spend between A$350-A$370 per week in an inner-city share house or serviced serviced apartment. Budget approximately A$50 a week for unlimited travel on train, bus, ferry and light rail services. Use the Insider Guides' Cost of Living Calculator to find out how much it costs to live in Sydney, depending on your lifestyle.

As a condition of your student visa, you must have enough money to pay your course fees, and travel and living costs, for you and any accompanying family members while you are in Australia. You might need to provide evidence of your financial capacity with your visa application.

The Australian Government's minimum 12-month living cost is:

  • student or guardian - A$21,041
  • accompanying partner or spouse - A$7,362
  • accompanying child - A$3,152.

View more information about education and living costs in Australia, as well as providing evidence of financial capacity (refer to Step 2).

Living costs will vary by location, and by your lifestyle. With a student card, you will be eligible for concession prices to events, the cinema, museums and more.

More information

See the following webpages for great advice on managing your money during your time in Australia:


Finding the right accommodation is one of the most important factors to consider once you have made the decision to study and live overseas. You will need to be mindful of how much your accommodation costs, how far it is from the campus and other areas, and whether there are adequate services nearby, such as supermarkets and health services.

Working in Sydney

An Australian student visa (subclass 500) allows you to work in Australia once your course has commenced. 

You have automatic work rights if your student visa was granted after 26 April 2008. If you were granted a student visa on or before 26 April 2008, you can apply to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) for permission to work.

Work rights allow you to work:

  • for the duration of your visa
  • once you have started your course
  • for a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight (40 hours per two weeks) while your course is in session
  • unlimited hours during the summer or winter non-teaching periods in the academic calendar.

Work that is formally registered as a requirement of your course, such as work placements, is not included in the 40 hours per fortnight limit, nor is some voluntary or unpaid work.

Please see the Department of Home Affairs website for further details. Study Australia also have information on finding work as an international student on their website.


Students who undertake paid work will also need to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN) and complete an income tax return at the end of each financial year.

For further information, please refer to the Australian Taxation Office.

Schooling for your children

If you have children aged between 5 and 18 accompanying you to Australia, they must by law attend school. Most temporary resident students pay the temporary resident administration fee and education fee to enrol in a NSW government school. Allow schooling costs of at least A$8000 per year for each child.

There are many public, private and multi-faith/religious schools for all ages, which charge fees ranging from quite low to very expensive. Find out more about the schooling system and education in New South Wales.