Settling In

Settling In


Your cost of living and studying in Australia will depend on your lifestyle preferences. The categories below will help you get an idea of what you should budget for, how to open a bank account and accessing other utilities during your stay in Australia.


Budgeting is one of the most important aspects associated with any long term overseas stay. Please ensure that you have researched the cost of living in Sydney – especially in the areas you would like to live in.

Even if you are on a scholarship you should consider whether this is enough for you, or if you need to budget more of your personal finances.

Things to factor in when planning your budget:

  • Accommodation costs
  • Food
  • Public Transport costs
  • Social Travel & Social Events
  • ATM fees & exchange rates
  • Travel Insurance Costs
  • Visa Costs


Setting up a bank account in Australia is usually fairly easy. However, you will need your passport, a bank/credit card in your name (considered extra ID) and proof of enrolment at Macquarie University if you wish to set up a student account.

You may wish to go the Macquarie Shopping Centre opposite the university as they have the following banks:

Commonwealth Bank

National Australia Bank

ANZ Bank


St George Bank

Westpac Bank

You may wish to compare interest rates & fees before deciding on a bank.

Banking Business hours: Generally, banks operate from Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and are closed on weekends. Most banks have 24-hour online banking available.


There are many different options for accommodation – on campus, off-campus, private, university arranged, temporary etc. It might sound confusing but the MQ Accommodation Services has made it easy for you to peruse the different options. Just go to for more information.

WIFI and Internet

On Campus:

Wi-Fi is available on most parts of the campus. However, you’ll need to be enrolled in order to access this service.

There is also a Higher Degree Research Student Space located on Level 5 of the Library (Building C3C) which has desktop power for laptops and Wi-Fi. Further details on accessing this space are in the LIBRARY section of this guide.

Off Campus:

Many cafes offer free Wi-Fi. For internet at home, you may need to arrange this through your landlord or through an internet provider.


Public transport in Sydney has in recent times has become much more convenient! There is a train station at Macquarie University (marked on the campus map on pg. 3 of this guide) which provides a direct train line into the city.

Opal Cards

The Opal card is an easy, convenient way of paying for public transport. It has now been implemented for all Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink Intercity services and Sydney Ferries services. You can also use your card on some Sydney bus services. You top your Opal Card up with money and away you go!

For more information and to order your card go to

NB: International Students must always purchase adult fares and are not eligible for concession on public transport.

Mobile Phones

Prepaid Plan

On a prepaid plan you pay in advance for your mobile phone use and you don’t pay any monthly bills.

Purchase a sim card from any mobile phone retailer or supermarket and activate your mobile phone number.  A prepaid voucher (phone credit) can be purchased from either the supermarket or newsagent, or by accessing the website of the service provider.

Contract Plan

This is a long-term phone plan – usually 12 or 24 months. These plans generally require you to pay a minimum monthly fee for a set amount of calls, text and data usage. You can set this up at any mobile phone retailer.

Always do research on different plans available. Compare the costs involved in each plan, as very often there are extra fees if you go over your monthly amount of calls, text and data usage. You should also find out if there is cancellation fee for stopping you plan before the end of the 12 or 24-month contract period.

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