Studying in Australia

Australia is one of the most widely diverse and multicultural countries in the world. Ranging from red earth to beautiful sunny beaches and humid tropical rainforests, Australia is a country rich in natural beauty and unique animal life. While the vast desert wilderness comprises the majority of Australia, it does not reflect the bustling and sociable nature of its coastal major cities. Alice Springs College is located in the heart of Melbourne’s Central Business District, in which there are an abundance of shopping centres, restaurants, public facilities, and more for students to enjoy.

Australia’s official language is English, although many Australians are multilingual and speak a language other than English at home.

Australia’s education system is renowned for its excellence, and many awards from Australian institutions of higher education are internationally recognised. The living costs and tuitions fees in Australia also compares well with the global market, with over 540,000 international students already studying in Australia.

Life in Melbourne

Melbourne is the capital city of Victoria, one of Australia’s six states. Melbourne is one of Australia’s most populated cities, and is the central hub of diversity and growth, as well as home to a variety of multicultural societies and cultures. Melbourne thrives off of its unique and varying residents from over 140 different cultural backgrounds, and its welcoming nature makes Melbourne one of the most liveable and harmonious cities in the world. Melbourne is famous for its food, culture, and sport, and is considered to be the fashion capital of Australia. As an international student living in Melbourne, we want you to make the most of your study in Australia and enjoy your stay.

Cost of living

The Australian Government has compiled a rough estimate of average living costs to inform international students of the costs of living in Melbourne. Costs will vary between individuals but the below costs can be used a rough guide:

  • Accommodation (house and apartment rentals): $165 to $550 per week

  • Groceries and eating out: $80 to $280 per week

  • Public transport: $15 to $55 per week

  • Mobile phone and internet: $15 to $150 per week

  • Entertainment: $80 to $150 per week

The overall average living cost for a student in Australia is estimated to be around $20,300 a year.


Australia uses a dollar and cents system of a decimal currency with 100 cents in one dollar ($1). Silver coins include the 5 cents (smallest), 10 cents (medium), 20 cents (medium-large), and 50 cents (largest). Gold coins include the larger one dollar and the smaller two dollars coin.

Australian notes used are the purple 5 dollars note, the blue 10 dollars note, the red 20 dollars note, the yellow 50 dollars note, and the green 100 dollars note.

Credit cards are also widely used in Australia, and commonly accepted cards include Visa, Mastercard, American Express and JCB. However, credit card transactions and purchases sometimes incur a small surcharge by the seller.

To give you an estimate of costs in Australia, the list below will provide you with the estimated cost of basic items. However, these prices will vary between locations and time.

  • 1 litre of milk: $2

  • 500 grams of butter: $5

  • 1 loaf of bread: $3

  • 1 kg of apples: $4

  • 1 kg of potatoes: $3.50

  • 1 kg of meat: $15

  • 1 dozen eggs: $6

  • 1 kg of cereal: $3

  • 2 litres of juice: $4

  • 1 kg of rice: $4

  • 1 kg of cheese: $9

  • 3 litres of laundry detergent: $13

  • 500 ml of shampoo: $3

  • Hairdresser: $20 to $75

  • 1 litre of fuel: $1.46 (note: this cost changes every day and can range from as low as $1.13 to $1.69)

  • Monthly public ticket transport: $138

  • Movie ticket: $25

  • Newspaper: $2

  • 1 box of 32 tampons: $7

  • Toothpaste: $4

  • 4 rolls of toilet paper: $3

  • 1 pair of jeans (Levi’s or similar): $110

  • 1 pair of sports shoes: $150

  • 1 pair of men’s leather business shoes: $180

  • Below are a few popular Australian supermarket websites for your reference.

    Public transport

    Melbourne’s public transport system is easily accessible and reasonably priced. Trains, trams, and buses extend throughout the city and suburbs and run often. A ‘Myki’ card is your reusable public transport ticket, and must be bought and topped up with funds before travelling. Mykis can be bought from the information desk at train stations, and topped up at Myki machines. Mykis are used for buses, trains, and trams. You must make sure to touch on your Myki by tapping it to the reader at the train station, and touch off after your trip. Tram travel is free within Melbourne’s CBD and Docklands. All stops within the zone are clearly marked with “Free Tram Zone” icon.

    To find out more about public transport, Mykis, and zone costs, please visit


    Australians always drive on the left-hand side of the road. Please watch for cyclists, who may sometimes ride on roads.

    To fine out more details about driving in Victoria, please visit

    Working in Australia

    Your Student Visa currently allows you to work 40 hours fortnight as an international student, and full-time during school holidays. However, you should not rely on your employment income in Australia to support yourself in Australia. Please check your Visa conditions to confirm the number of hours you are allowed to work per week. You are expected to manage your own time studying if you choose to take on employment in Australia.

    If you decide to take on employment in Australia, you will need to create an Australian Tax File Number (TFN), which can easily be done through ATO website. please visit

    Below is a list of websites that advertise jobs in Australia.


    Australia typically enjoys warmer weather than most countries. While Melbourne is known for its unpredictable weather, the following is a guide to the average temperature for each season.

    Spring (September to November): 12 – 22˚C

    Spring is usually the most variable season of the year, with weather often changing from blue skies and sun to cold and windy rain. October typically experiences the most rainfall in the year.

    Summer (December to February): 20 – 32˚C

    Melbourne’s hottest months are generally January and February, with temperatures known to soar above 30˚C (86˚F) and even 40˚C (104˚F) sometimes. Summer is usually dry with occasional hot spells that can last days. Make sure to lather on sunscreen on sunnier days to avoid UV rays.

    Autumn (March to May): 10.9 – 20.3˚C

    While autumn mornings are foggy, the days can end up sunny and clear. However, there may be light winds toward the end of the season.

    Winter (June to August): 6.5 – 14.2˚C

    Winter weather is cold and cloudy, and in the mornings, you may find frost has built up. Melbourne does not experience snow, but snow falls in the northeast of Victoria (High Country). Heavy rain is rare this time of year.

    Legal systems

    Australia follows a Westminster system of government and law inherited from the British who originally colonised the country. There are two main political parties and a number of minor parties, which make up the Commonwealth Parliament. Each state and territory also has its own government.


    Melbourne is famous for its huge sporting events. The Australia Football League (AFL) season occurs every September at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and other Australian sporting stadiums. The day before the AFL Grand Final has even been declared a public holiday for all Australians, and footy is a major aspect of Australian culture.

    Melbourne also hosts the Australian Open (tennis grand slam), the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Boxing Day Ashes Test, and the Spring Racing Carnival (Melbourne Cup), all of which are massively popular events.

    Melbourne is home to the largest shopping centre in the country, Chadstone Shopping Centre, which contains some of the world’s biggest brand names as well as Australia’s own.

    Melbourne also prides itself on its art and music and contains many galleries dedicated celebrating different artworks and artists. The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is the oldest gallery in Australia and displays a wide range of local and international artists, exhibitions, programs, and events.

    Melbourne has a distinctive grid structure that is fairly easy to navigate, with many laneways that are often populated with numerous cafes, bars, and shops. Melbourne also has a thriving Chinatown that holds Chinese festivals, features many authentic Chinese restaurants and cuisine, and celebrates the Chinese New Year with spectacular dances, a parade, and fireworks.

    Melbourne’s main community venue is Federation Square, which holds many multicultural festivals and celebrations throughout the year, including Fiesta Malaysia, the Japanese Summer Festival, the Diwali Festival of Light, the Indian Film Festival, Nepal Festival, and more. These events are usually free.