For those keen to study in Australia, life in Sydney fuses educational opportunities with cultural experiences. With a number of the country’s most popular universities, like the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney, you’ll have no trouble finding courses in your major and a population of students with whom you can socialize.

Education comes in many forms, and in your free time, you’ll learn about Sydney lifestyle and Australia as a whole. Beyond the Opera House, Sydney is also the site of several world-renowned museums, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Australian Museum. On nice days, you’ll find people relaxing in Hyde Park and other urban green spaces or pursuing more ambitious outdoor adventures via coastal walks like the Bondi to Coogee.

At the end of your Sydney studies, you’ll have not only course credits and a scrapbook of memories but also an idea of what it means to fully embrace a foreign place.

Studying in Sydney, you’ll attend classes against the backdrop of Australia’s cultural center. There’s more to this city than its famous opera house, so read on to get an idea of what to expect.

Culture & Immersion

Study overseas programs provide plenty of opportunities for students to immerse themselves in their new culture. In Sydney, this might involve visiting one of the many museums, such as the Australian Museum, which houses exhibits on the country’s history and Aboriginal culture. Naturally, much of your immersion experience will happen outside of class trips and educational institutions, as you munch on meat pies, get lost in a new neighborhood, and acclimate to life in Sydney.

Culture Shock & Support

It’s normal to feel a little out of your depth when you move to a new country. After all, you can’t even rely on the comfort of familiarity! Everything from food to activities will seem foreign, and properly adjusting involves patience, an open mind, and, sometimes, help from your peers. Confiding in other students, whether they’re also foreigners or not, will help you make sense of your new world, and if it’s really serious, you should turn to guidance resources provided by your host university or program.

Lifestyle

Over four and a half million people live in Sydney, and in the streets, you’ll walk alongside business professionals, families, artists, immigrants, tourists, and, like you, students. Some hallmarks of living in Sydney are very indicative of a grand city lifestyle -- there are restaurants to sample, museums to stroll, and events to attend -- but don’t feel compelled to restrict your outside roaming to the sidewalks. It’s also normal to lounge on Bondi beach or take a weekend excursion to go hiking in the nearby Blue Mountains.

Insider Tips on Studying Abroad in Sydney

Whether your program spans one semester or multiple, you could easily spend the entire time exploring just Sydney. But no matter how big the city may seem, it’s just one part of an even bigger country, so make time to explore beyond the capital. Whether it’s a weekend spent surfing in Byron Bay or a longer trip to visit the Outback and Uluru, you’ll be glad you took the chance to yet again go outside your comfort zone. One thing is for certain: whatever your plans, don’t forget sunscreen.

If you’re considering studying abroad in Sydney, then there are a few technical details to go over, such as program types, where to live, and how to get around.

Course Types

Through direct enrollment, students apply at Sydney institutions, like the University of Sydney, and attend classes as a regular student. Similarly, the direct exchange also allows you to attend Sydney schools, but via a partnered exchange program with your home university. The final option is to go through a third-party provider, where you will study alongside fellow overseas students and take classes with an independent program.

Housing

Whether you attend a Sydney University or study with a third-party provider, student housing is typically offered in dormitory style. Another option is to find your own place to live in a local flat, either through Facebook groups or online housing databases such as Gumtree and flatmates.com.au. If you do strike out on your own, remember that Sydney is one of the largest cities in Australia, so double check that your location won’t be too far from your classes.

Transportation

To pay your train or bus fare in Sydney, you’ll need an Opal card. You can order one online and have it shipped, but the most efficient thing to do is go to one of the many stores that sell them and purchase a card on the spot. Once you’ve done that, download the Opal Travel app for topping up, finding routes, and more. The public transit system in Sydney is easy to navigate, and you can even use your Opal card to take other New South Wales (NSW) trains, such as those going to the Blue Mountains for weekend getaways.

How much does it cost to study in Sydney, and how can you afford those expenses? This section covers the ever-present money question when it comes to studying overseas.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Australia is fairly comparable to that in the U.S., with consumer prices slightly higher and rent slightly lower. Opal fares start at the equivalent of around $2 for off-peak travel under 10 kilometers, and, according to Numbeo, the average cost of a meal out is close to the equivalent of $14, as of today. Of course, you’ll also be spending money on activities, souvenirs, and general adventuring, so plan to have some saved up before you go.

Visas

To study overseas in Sydney, you’ll need a student visa. There’s a stack of documentation required, including your passport, acceptance letter, proof of sufficient funds, and proof of health insurance. You can stay up to five years, meaning most students won’t need to renew at any point during their studies. The application is available online, and the current visa fee is about the equivalent of $425 (though, as you probably know, exchange rates fluctuate).

Can You Work While Studying in Sydney?

With a student visa, yes, you can work while studying in Sydney. As of today, the rule is up to 40 hours every two weeks, for an average of 20 per week. To find a job, you can find student work opportunities and resources available through your university or conduct a search yourself using job databases like SEEK. Popular industries include hospitality, retail, and service.

Scholarships

From government-funded grants to university-specific scholarships, there are a few ways you can relieve the cost of studying overseas in Sydney. Look out for Commonwealth Government of Australia scholarships, as these also come with a waived visa fee.

  • Australia Awards: This government-funded program is open to students from developing nations who are interested in studying in Australia.
  • University of Sydney: International students can apply for scholarships at the undergraduate and postgraduate level directly from the University of Sydney.
  • Scholarships for U.S. Students: From general awards (like the Fulbright) to Australia-only opportunities (like the American Australian Association scholarships), the Australian government provides resources on a number of scholarships for U.S. students looking to study overseas in Sydney.

Programs

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much does it cost to study abroad in Australia?

    The cost of studying abroad in Australia will vary greatly by the institution you hope to attend as well as your home institution. It's very possible to apply through an exchange program at your university in the states and pay exactly what you pay normally. You can also choose to enroll directly in an Australian university which will run you anywhere from $4,500-$9,700 per semester, or you can apply through a third party provider, which will cost between $9,200-$13,500. Keep in mind that you will also want to budget in living expenses for your semester, including meals, accommodation, transportation, cell phone plan, etc. The average cost for a semester in Australia after airfare and program fees is $5,000-$7,000.

  • Is it easy to study in Australia?

    The ease of studying in Australia really depends on what you're looking for in a study abroad experience. On the one hand, English is the official language of Australia, so for native English speakers it can certainly be a good option since you know you'll be able to communicate. Here are some other important things to note when considering a semester in Australia: it's relatively expensive, so you may need to budget more than you would for another country; the grading system is different than what is used in American schools; you'll need to get a visa if you'll be there longer than 3 months; and remember it's very far away! So jet lag will certainly be a factor.

  • Can I bring my family to Australia on student visa?

    Australia will generally allow people on a student visa to bring their immediate family members with them as dependents. Dependents can include your spouse (or partner) and children under the age of 18.

  • What is the student visa fee for Australia?

    The base application fee for a student visa to Australia is 620AUD or approximately $415 in USD.

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