Travelling to Sydney

Travelling to Sydney

Sydney harbour
Welcome to Sydney! Here are some tips to help you settle into your new home...

We recommend that you plan to arrive in Sydney at least one week before classes begin, or in time for you to attend O Week (usually in Week 0). During O Week, you'll need to attend an International Student Arrival Talk and your faculty activities but the rest is up to you. Don't forget to accept and enrol online - on campus enrolment support will be available in January, or keep an eye out for live chat sessions with our friendly staff.

Before your arrival 

  1. Review our tips on studying in Sydney, Australia.
  2. Follow the travel checklist, organise your accommodation and book your free airport pick-up.
  3. Organise your Overseas Student Health Cover and understand the conditions of your student visa.
  4. You might also need to understand the specific arrangements required if you are travelling with your family, including your children.
  5. Open an Australian bank account as this will be the easiest and most affordable way to access your money in Australia. There are four major banks in Australia including the National Australia Bank (NAB) who have a branch on campus. Details for how to apply for an account before you arrive can be found here. Make sure you ask about 'student accounts' as most banks will offer discounted or no fees for students.

On your arrival

  1. Withdraw and exchange money at Sydney International Airport:
  • Australian currency can be withdrawn from ATMs located before and after Customs.
  • Travelex ATMs offering multiple currencies are located throughout the airport.
  • Traveller's cheques can be cashed at the Travelex outlet located at Terminal 1 after Customs and at other bank branches at the airport.
  1. Withdrawing and exchanging money on campus:
  • Australian currency can be withdrawn from ATMs across campus and at Macquarie Centre located across from the University on Herring Road.
  • During business hours, there's a National Australia Bank (NAB) on campus to exchange currency, withdraw money, open a bank account and cash traveller's cheques.

You'll need your passport as a form of identification. Note that some foreign banks may have a cash withdrawal limit or charge a withdrawal fee for transactions made from an overseas bank account.

  1. If your luggage is lost during your flight, contact your airline directly. For luggage lost at the airport, contact Sydney Airport Lost Property.
  2. Contact your family to let them know you've arrived safely:
  • International calling cards can be purchased from some Australian newsagencies (shops that sell newspapers), Australia Post (post office), supermarkets and on campus at MacShop (located within the Campus Hub, Building C10A).
  • To call outside of Australia, dial 0011 followed by the country code, the area code, and then the number.
  • For your family to call you from overseas on your landline (or home phone) in Australia, dial the international access code in your country followed by 61 2, and then the number(e.g. access code +612 1234 1234).
  • For your family to call you from overseas on your mobile, dial the international access code in your country followed by 61, and then the number without the 0 at the beginning. (e.g. access code +614 1234 1122)

Don't forget to update your contact details with the University, including your new sessional address (Australian address) and contact number. Go to ask.mq.edu.au for help.

After your arrival

  1. Organise or set-up your mobile phone - choose between a prepaid or a postpaid plan:
  • On a prepaid plan, you pay in advance for your mobile phone use and you don't pay any monthly bills.
  • You can purchase a SIM card from any supermarket, activate your mobile and obtain a contact number. 
  • A prepaid voucher (phone credit) can be purchased from either the supermarket or by accessing your service provider's website.
  • A postpaid plan is a long-term contract for either 12 or 24 months where you agree to pay a minimum monthly amount.
  • You can purchase a phone on a plan by signing a contract at a mobile phone retailer. To find the best deal, do your research online and visit retail outlets at shopping centres.
  • Refer to NSW Fair Trading and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for advice on purchasing a mobile.

Refer to emergency contacts for important numbers to save in your phone.

  1. Get access to the Internet:
  • Off campus, free internet access is available at several places around Sydney; for example, the airport, McDonald's and some coffee shops. This service can be used if you have a wireless device like a laptop or mobile phone.
  • The internet can also be accessed at internet cafes. The closest internet cafe to the University is located at the Macquarie Centre (The Loft, level 4).
  • On campus, wi-fi is available in most areas. You need to have completed your enrolment and first-time login to access this service on your personal devices.
  • There are several computer labs on campus that are monitored by Campus Security after hours. To access the labs, you will need to show your Campus Card.
  • To organise internet access where you're living, contact internet service providers directly. The Australian Government has advice on choosing a provider.
  1. Order your Overseas Student Health Cover (OHSC):
  • You can print your temporary card at oshcallianzassistance.com.au. Your policy number is your Student ID number found in your letter of offer and Confirmation of Enrolment followed by 'MU'.

If you don't have your OSHC card, you will be required to pay upfront fees for medical consultations. You can request a receipt when you pay and then lodge a claim with your provider.

  1. Activate your Australian bank account opened offshore, or open a bank account if you haven't done so yet. The National Australia Bank has a branch on campus and other main banks are located at Macquarie Centre. Banks are open from 9am to 4pm, Monday to Thursday, or from 9am to 5pm on Fridays. Make sure you ask if they have a 'student account' offering discounted or no fees. It's also a good idea to check on rates and processing fees if you're planning on transferring currency.
  2. Make sure you've completed all the steps to get started and join us at Orientation!

Frequently asked questions 

  1. Where can I go if I have a problem with my offer?
  •   Contact your International Admissions Officer indicated in your letter of offer from Macquarie or contact Macquarie International.
  1. Where can I get medical treatment if I'm sick?
  • An on-campus medical service is available at the Macquarie University Clinic. Show your Campus Card and OSHC card at reception upon arrival.
  • There are medical centres located off campus where you can see a doctor / general practitioner (GP). An online search using the following keywords will provide you with contact details:
    • 'medical centre + name of suburb' 
    • 'GP + name of suburb' 
  • The closest medical centre to the University is the Macquarie Medical Centre.
  • You'll need to make an appointment to see a doctor/GP during business hours. 
  • For after hours treatment, call the National Home Doctor Service on 13 SICK (13 7425).
  1. How do I access my student email?

Log into your student email account via Gmail. To access your email, you need your OneID password (see first-time login).

  • Username: your first name.last name@students.mq.edu.au.
  • Password: your OneID password.

If you have a popular name, you may be required to use a number after your name (e.g. john.smith1@students.mq.edu.au).

Check your email regularly - the University uses email as its primary method of communication with you about study and campus events.
  1. Who can I speak to if I'm homesick or having trouble adjusting to life in Australia?

The Counselling Service has a range of online and in-person support services to help you cope with your studies and adjusting to university life.

  1. Are there religious facilities on campus?

Yes, we have a Muslim Prayer Room and a chaplaincy service to provide religious and spiritual support for all faiths and religions.

  1. Where can I can go for help with my English?

The English Language Centre offers courses (at a fee) to help you improve your English. There are free New Conversation Groups designed to help you practice spoken English and StudyWISE is a free online resource designed to help you improve your reading and writing. For more help with your English, see these language development resources.

  1. Where can I get help with finding a job?

The Career and Employment Service has information and resources about finding work in Australia. Check your visa conditions and work permissions before committing to employment. This important employment information will be helpful to read.

  1. Where can I go for help with my finances?

The Welfare Service can help with advice and support on money matters. The cost of living website will give you an idea before you arrive on how much you will need to live and study in Sydney. MoneySmart has useful information about budgeting and financial planning.

  1. Who can help me if I need legal advice?

The NSW Government provides free legal services, including Law Access and Legal Aid, to help you with a legal issues relating to car accidents, driving and traffic offences, tenancy, and employment.

  1. Are there security and safety services available on campus?

Yes, the University has a Security Service on campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They have many services to keep you safe on campus, including a free shuttle bus to take you around campus from 4:00pm to 12.30am, Monday to Friday, during the semester.

  1. What safety information do I need to know when I'm off campus?

The City of Ryde has a community safety program with information on:

  • contacting the Police
  • keeping safe at parties and in the workplace
  • fire prevention 
  • being ready for summer

Macquarie's Sport and Recreation also has information about how to stay safe in and around the water and at the beach.

  1. Where can I go if I have other questions about my studies, life in Sydney or the Australian culture?
  • Student Connect is your first point of contact for enquiries about your life at Macquarie. If they can't answer your question, they'll be able to point you in the right direction.
  • Macquarie University Mentors is a program that supports new students in their first year at Macquarie. Mentors are a great source of information because you're hearing from the personal experiences of our current students.
  • Service NSW has a service dedicated to helping international students living in Sydney including information about accessing community support services, staying safe and well, working while you study, getting around by car or public transport, and staying in off-campus accommodation.
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