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.

Safety

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 as the world’s most liveable city. But, like most large cities, there are some risks, especially at night. Here are some tips for staying safe.

  • Avoid parks, lanes and poorly lit areas at night.
  • Travel with a friend whenever possible.
  • Check your directions before you travel.
  • Take care when crossing roads: look to the right and the left before you step off the curb, and use pedestrian crossings or traffic lights whenever possible.
  • Don’t get in a car with people you don’t know.
  • Don’t get in a car with someone who’s been drinking.
  • Wear bright clothing when you’re walking or cycling at night so that drivers can see you.
  • Feel free to approach police officers on the street or walk into a police station at any time.

  • When you’re travelling on a train, light rail or bus, sit in the first carriage or up the front near the driver, and press the emergency button only if necessary.
  • Never cross railway crossings when lights are flashing or barriers are down.

  • Stay alert when using ATMs, and cover your hand when entering your PIN.
  • Don’t give out your phone number or personal details freely.
  • Always buy your own drinks, especially in a bar or pub.
  • Never carry more than $100 in cash with you.
  • In an emergency, dial 000.

Emergency services are provided to help all Sydney residents. The staff who work for these services are trained professionals.

If you ever find yourself in an emergency you can call 000 for:

  • police
  • fire
  • ambulance.

This is a free call and can be dialled from all phones, even those without credit. If you place a call to any of these services, the telephone operator will provide assistance until help arrives. To speak to someone in your own language ask the operator for a translator.

Contact us

For immediate assistance contact:
Karol Clancy, VU Sydney Associate Director Students
Phone: +61 481 003 154

In case of an emergency you should always call 000 in the first instance.

Accommodation

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.

Temporary accommodation

The following is a list of budget-conscious hotels and hostels that you may like to contact for temporary accommodation upon your arrival in Sydney. They are located within walking distance of the campus in Sydney's city centre.

Homestay and other options

Browse options at the Education Centre of Australia's preferred accommodation provider CozzyStay.

Vacant properties or share accommodation

Search for vacant rental properties or share accommodation in Sydney:

We recommend getting an idea of what is available, but not actually signing or paying anything until you can inspect properties and meet potential roommates.

Tenancy advice

Free tenancy advice is available from Tenants NSW and the Tenants Union of NSW.

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:

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.

Taxes

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.