Melbourne is a vibrant, exciting and multicultural city and a world-class home for international students. Before you touch down in the wonderful land of Aus, read our guide to what you need to know about living and studying here.

Plan your arrival

When you step off the plane, make sure that you know what you are doing and where you are going.

It’s a great idea to organise your accommodation before you arrive in Australia, whether it’s long or short term. Before settling into a permanent residence, many students choose to stay in a hostel, hotel or other temporary lodgings. When you arrive at the airport, make sure that you have your accommodation address written in English to show to a taxi driver or check out the public transport you’ll need to take to get there.

Melbourne’s public transport is excellent and easy to navigate, but it is worth familiarising yourself with it. The Public Transport Victoria website and App can help you plan your route. Make sure you know how to get to your most important places, including your accommodation and college campus.

Once you’ve arrived in Australia, there will be a few tasks to tick off your to-do list straight away. Firstly, setting up a bank account. Commonwealth and Westpac are popular choices, but a quick Google search will help you find what’s best for you.

The next task is getting an Australian SIM card. It’s a good idea to switch to an Australian provider to avoid incurring extra fees when using a phone from abroad. You can go on contract or choose a prepaid option. Popular providers include Optus, Telstra and Vodafone.

Types of housing

An apartment and a group of students

There are several housing options available in Melbourne so it’s all about finding what’s best for you.


Live like a real Melbournian by renting an apartment, house or room in one of its beautiful suburbs. Renting by yourself can be very expensive (upwards of $300 per week) but moving further from the city centre will reduce your costs. Most rental prices do not include bills so make sure to check.

House share

A popular choice for students is house sharing. Not only does this significantly reduce costs, but it also allows you to socialise with housemates and make lifelong friends. Prices range between $170-$400 per week depending on the type of property and where you live.

You can search for rooms online (Flatmates is a popular choice) or through estate agents. Always ensure that you stay safe when attending a property viewing and never pay money before seeing the room.

Student accommodation

Live with other students in specially designed studios and apartments. With state-of-the-art facilities and services, these residences are purpose-built to help you settle into student life.  Scape, Iglu and The Student Housing Company offer student accommodation with rooms starting at $299 per week.

Consumer Affairs Victoria has a short video explaining housing options and top tips for international students looking for accommodation.

Where to live

When looking for somewhere to live in Melbourne, it’s crucial to think about what you want. Do you like inner city living or being close to nature? Do you want lots of bars and restaurants on your doorstep or do you prefer a quiet street? And, of course, how much do you want to spend? Melbourne is regularly voted the world’s most liveable city, so you can feel confident that anywhere you choose will be pretty fantastic. Here are a few of our picks for places to live in Melbourne:


Just one suburb away from the CBD, Richmond is only a 5 minute train ride from Flinders Street (situated in the heart of Melbourne). You’ll be close to Melbourne’s famous nightlife and food scene and stone’s throw from college if you’re studying at our CBD campus. These advantages do come at a price, and rental costs will be relatively high.


The home of our West Footscray campus and named one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world in 2019, Footscray is a thriving and multicultural suburb. Often underrated, this area is a foodie’s dream. It’s bursting with restaurants serving up tastes from around the world and it boasts several excellent bars and cafes. It’s less than 20 minutes from the city and the rental prices are more than reasonable.


Brunswick is a laid-back suburb that attracts young and alternative individuals who love art, live music and sustainable living. Rummage through the rails at a local op shop before visiting Ceres Community Environmental Park and then heading to a gig in the evening.


Undeniably cool, Fitzroy has an atmosphere that positively buzzes. It has plenty of great cafes and restaurants and some excellent night spots. Despite being only 10 minutes tram ride from the CBD, it has a chilled vibe that makes it a relaxing place to live.

Chapel Street

This street is Melbourne’s largest shopping and entertainment area. If you love to be in the middle of the action then one of the surrounding suburbs such as South Yarra, Prahran or Windsor is a great choice. As with any bustling city space, the prices will be higher here.

St Kilda

Calling all beach-lovers, St Kilda is the place to be if you can’t go more than a week without dipping your toes in the ocean. It’s a popular destination for travellers and tourists so it can get busy, but it’s popular for a reason. However, it can be an expensive place to live due to its popularity.


Docklands is a relatively new suburb in Melbourne that is recognisable for its tall buildings and apartment blocks. If you like modern-living close to the city centre, then Docklands is for you.

Remember that the further you travel from the city, the cheaper property becomes. If you find a suburb that you love but it’s out of your price range, look at the surrounding neighbourhoods. You can usually find a more affordable option with easy transport into the heart of the action.


People working in a cafe.

Many students choose to work while in Australia. Your student visa permits you to work 40 hours a fortnight during term time and unlimited hours during holidays. Not only is the money great (Australian minimum wage is $19.84), but a job can help you to meet people and feel a part of the city. And if English is your second language, then it provides you with the perfect opportunity to practice.

You can search and apply for jobs using Seek, Australian Government’s Job Search, or Indeed. If you’re looking for a hospitality job then it’s more common to hand in your resume at the venue. The Australian Government has provided useful tips and tricks to write your resume and how to apply for jobs here.

Things to do

Things to do in Melbourne

As the second largest city in Australia and the capital of Victoria, Melbourne is nothing short of impressive. Famed for its restaurants, bars, art scene, cultural events and (of course) its coffee, visitors are never short of things to do.

Navigate the city’s laneways and marvel at the street art that rivals any gallery exhibition before strolling among the rare and beautiful plants in the Royal Botanic Gardens. Spend your evenings enjoying a drink beside the Yarra River or watching a gig in one of Melbourne’s hundreds of live music venues.

If you like to spend your time in the great outdoors, then you can journey out of the city and explore Victoria’s natural wonders. Hike through the stunning Dandenong Ranges, relax in Mornington Peninsula’s hot springs, or drive down the world-famous Great Ocean Road.

Helpful resources


As an international student, you have the same renting rights as locals. It’s important that you know what these rights are and know where to get help if you need it.

The Australian Government’s Study Melbourne website includes a guide to your rights and responsibilities as a renter. It also contains links to resources in case you need help and assistance.

At CAC, we want our students to feel happy and settled. If you need any additional help with housing, then you can contact our Student Support team. We can refer you to appropriate services and discuss any concerns that you may have with you.


All international students need Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). This covers doctor visits, particular hospital care and some other health items. You may also wish to purchase additional insurance whilst in Australia. The Australian Government has provided further resources on insurance options here.

Melbourne is a wonderful place to both live and study. CAC offers several outstanding courses that will allow you to gain a first-class education while exploring all that Australia has to offer. We hope to see you in Melbourne soon.