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Preparing to arrive

This is where you'll find everything you need to know about preparing for your journey and settling in Australia.

What do I need to bring?

Make sure you bring all of your cables for your electronic devices, but remember that Australia’s electrical socket may be different to what you use at home. In Australia we use a three-pin electrical plug you can buy adaptors for your devices at the airport, hardware stores and even newsagents.

It is important before you leave home that you make sure all of your medical prescriptions are up to date, including things like reading glasses and any medication you may need. It may be cheaper for you to do this before you leave your home country rather than in Australia, but remember to travel with a doctor’s prescription listing your name, to show the medicines are for your personal use.

If you forget anything or cannot fit it in your suitcase you can buy everything else when you arrive. There are shopping centres and convenience stores all around Perth so you will be able to find one that is conveniently located to you.


Perth has the most days of sunshine of all cities in Australia and we love it! In summer it can be very hot, but it can also get quite cool in winter. Here are the seasonal dates and temperatures to prepare for:

  • SUMMER: December to February 20⁰C – 35⁰C and mostly sunny
  • AUTUMN: March to May 15⁰C – 30⁰C with sun and rain
  • WINTER: June to August 7⁰C – 20⁰C and sometimes very wet days
  • SPRING: September to November 15⁰C – 25⁰C and mostly sunny

Dress Code

Australians are casual when it comes to clothing. University students tend to wear jeans and casual tops to school. If you are travelling in or around the city, the same dress code applies. Going out for dinner, to a movie or to see a show you can even wear smart/casual jeans, depending on the location. Most clubs or bars have dress codes, where smart attire applies (closed in shoes and a collared shirt for boys). If you are unsure, check our Facebook page and see what our students are wearing around Perth!

Your student visa

One visa for all your studies

As an Edith Cowan College (ECC) student, you can apply for a single visa to cover the duration of your studies. Under this visa you can package your ECC program, your degree at ECU and your English language program (if required).

It is compulsory for all international students to have a student visa when studying in Australia.

Australia is known for being a preferred destination not just in terms of travel and work but also for education. International students choose to study in Australia because the country offers an educational experience that makes a real difference from other nations.

Applying for your student visa is easy. After receiving your acceptance, we will issue you with an eCoE. Simply submit the eCoE with your visa application to the Australian Department of Home Affairs.

If you’ve applied to ECC with the help of an agent, they will gladly assist you with the visa application as well. If you’ve applied directly to ECC without the help of an agent, you have two options:

  1. Seek the assistance of an agent, or
  2. As each country has different visa requirements, consult the Immigration website  for more information.

Some of the common documents required by the Australian Department of Home Affairs are as follows:

  • Letter of Offer
  • Letter of Acceptance
  • ECC proof of payment (official receipt)
  • Proof of funds to support your stay in Australia
  • Valid passport and photocopy of passport information page
  • Two photos meeting the embassy’s requirements
  • Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

Each Australian embassy office will also require some of its own documents to be completed. Find out more about your embassy’s additional requirements.

Don’t delay! Visa applications can take anywhere from 30 days to get approval.

If students are not applying under the Streamlined Visa Processing (SVP), please note that citizens and residents of some countries may need to undergo a pre-visa assessment through an Australian High Commission, embassy or consulate before any payments can be made to ECC. This may take an additional four to six weeks.

Applying for a ‘packaged offer’ enables you to apply for one student visa to cover both your studies at ECC and Edith Cowan University. This means that you save time and cost, as you will not need to apply for another student visa.

Student visa holders have the opportunity to work part-time for up to 40 hours per fortnight and full-time during the holidays.

As of mid-2012, students studying a bachelor’s degree in Australia will be able to get a two-year work visa after they complete their studies and master’s students can apply for an extra three-year work visa.

Graduates in Australia have many employment doors open to them.

Your student visa will be issued for the duration of your ECC course, as stated in the eCoE that you will receive from ECC. If you plan to continue your studies at ECU, you may package your ECC and ECU courses together and receive a eCoE for both.

The advantage of this is that you will receive one visa for the entire duration of your studies at ECC and ECU. With your Letter of Offer, you will receive an Acceptance of Offer form.

Please note: If your ECC course finishes in September and your course at ECU starts in February of the following year, Australian immigration law may require you to leave Australia between October and February. ECC takes no responsibility for students who fail to take this into consideration when selecting their course modules and units.

It is your responsibility to renew or extend your visa as required, before it expires. You must present specific documents when applying for a student visa extension or renewal. A checklist and the required forms are available on the Study Australia website.

If you are a prospective international student and you have any school-aged dependents coming to Australia with you, you must pay full fees for each dependent who is to be enrolled in a government or non-government school.

The provision of education to international students is regulated by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE) through the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) legislative framework. Read the overview of this framework, including the rights and responsibilities of international students.

Know your rights as an international student

The Australian Government’s Education Services for Overseas Students Act, or ESOS Act, provides consumer protection for international students on a student visa, aims to enhance the quality of the student experience and protects the student visa program.

Find out more about your rights and responsibilities as an international student under the ESOS Act.

Opening a bank account

Three steps to opening a bank account when you get to Australia

Opening a bank account is one of the most important things you’ll need to do after arriving in Australia. To help make this process easier, we have listed below the three simple steps to opening a bank account in Australia.

Step 1: Visit your nearest bank within 6 weeks of arriving in Australia

There are banks in most Perth suburbs. Australia’s big four banks include:

  • Commonwealth Bank (CBA)
  • Westpac (WBC)
  • Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ)
  • National Australia Bank (NAB)

Step 2: Present your passport to the bank staff and let them know you’d like to open a bank account.

Step 3: Complete the relevant paperwork given to you by the bank staff.

A helpful tip for avoiding extra fees: Cut down your Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) charges. Every time you use an ATM that does not belong to your bank it charges you $2.50 per transaction. $2.50 adds up over time. Check out your bank’s partner ATM’s below!

ATM partners

  • Commonwealth Bank and Bankwest
  • ANZ
  • Bank of Queensland and RediATMs
  • BankSA, Westpac and St George
  • Bendigo Bank and Suncorp
  • NAB and RediATMs

Fun fact: ECU is named after the first female politician in Australia, Edith Cowan, and her face appears on the Australian $50 note.

Currency, transport and apps

Some important things to know

Currency is very important and you need to know what each coin or note means. Here are the coins and notes that we use in Australia.

There are lots of banks in Western Australia where you can open an Australian bank account, and they are usually open between 9.30am to 4pm. Most banks are connected to Maestro or Cirrus so you can access your international funds. To open up a bank account you will need to take your passport, CoE, OSHC card, birth certificate and any other forms of ID you have to the bank you choose. You can use the ATM to withdraw your money quickly and easily and they are open 24 hours. You can use EFTPOS to pay for goods at petrol stations, shopping centres and department stores so you don’t have to use cash all the time.

Once you get your student ID card, you will notice on the back of the card is a SmartRider.

Therefore, you can use this same card to take public transport in Perth, including the train, bus and ferry. Students receive a discount on all public transport in Perth. You can add value to your card at some train stations, on the bus or online. Ticket fare is calculated by GPS location, so always remember to tag on and off when you use public transport.

Perth offers free bus services around the CBD, Joondalup and Fremantle. The Joondalup CAT connects the ECU campus with the train station and shopping malls in minutes.

You must have a copy of your translated drivers’ licence and your passport with you whenever you drive. The translation can be done in Northbridge at a cost of around $20.

It’s important to remember that people drive on the left-hand side of the road in Australia. If you are not confident, it’s strongly suggested that you take a few private driving lessons before driving alone. Driving lessons are normally charged by the hour at a rate of around $60.

It can be a bit difficult to find your way around Perth to begin with, but these apps can make your life a bit easier! From public transport, to finding places to eat, these are the apps you may find helpful:

Experience WA: This is free from Tourism WA which tells you what is happening when and where the best places are to visit.

Free Wi-Fi Finder: Whether you’re looking for a quiet space to study or just wanting to chat to friends and family back home, Free Wi-Fi Finder can help you find nearby locations offering free wi-fi access. The app allows you to filter results based on location type, such as cafés and libraries, and save your favourite locations for future reference.

Transperth app: Pre-plan your whole journey and make sure you aren’t late for class with this app. You can see where you are in Perth and quickly access timetables and bus/train routes, you can also get your SmartRider balance!

SwanTaxis: For when you need a taxi fast or need to pre-plan your journey, this free app is a great one to have.

Skype: If you don’t already have this app, it’s a great way to video chat your friends and family back home and it’s free!

Uber/Didi/Ola: ridesharing app for fast, reliable rides in minutes – day or night. There’s no need to park or wait for a taxi or bus. You just tap to request a ride, and it’s easy to pay with credit card.

Managing culture shock

Learn what is and what is not acceptable in Australia

When studying in a different country, you will need to adjust to changes in the physical environment, the type of food available, the way people look, speak and act, as well as having to use a different language to communicate. These differences may result in you experiencing a variety of feelings and reactions. Understanding some of the differences you may encounter living in Australia may help to lessen the effect of culture shock and adjust to living in Australia.

  • Equality for all citizens, regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation, or in non-professional or professional positions. Questions of age and income should be avoided.
  • Punctuality. Always be on time for appointments or let people know if you will be late.
  • Tidiness in the community. All rubbish should be disposed of in a bin, or carried with you until you find a bin.
  • Waiting your turn in a queue.
  •  Informality when addressing others. First names are accepted when first meeting someone. It is acceptable to ask a person what they would like you to call them.
  • If you find yourself in awkward social situations such as when food or drinks are being served, which you do not like or can’t consume for religious or other reasons, do not hesitate to point out politely that you cannot partake in what is being offered. Australians are aware of different customs and will not be offended.
  • Saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ where appropriate is highly regarded.
  • Maintaining eye contact is important during conversation with friends, lecturers, in tutorials and oral presentations.
  • Some behaviour is socially unacceptable and there are laws against it. For example, it is against the law to be drunk in public, to use indecent language, or to behave in a sexually indecent way.
  • Smoking is considered unhealthy and not allowed in public buildings, public transport, taxis, shopping centres, hotels/bars or restaurants. Smoking is banned on all university campuses.
  • Sniffing instead of blowing your nose. Please use handkerchiefs or tissues to blow your nose. If you feel uncomfortable doing this in public, you can go into a bathroom or toilet and blow your nose.
  • Opening someone’s door without knocking first. Always wait for the person to answer ‘come in’.
  • Making loud noises which are unreasonably annoying to another person, even if you make the noise in your own home, especially between the hours of 10.00pm and 6.00am (e.g. loud music, parties, etc).
  • There are very strict laws against driving when you have consumed alcohol – there are heavy fines and even jail terms for offenders.

Public holidays

Note the following public holiday dates

There are several public holidays in Perth. On these days, most shopping centres and workplaces will be closed for business. Keep this in mind when you book a day to arrive in Australia.

  • New Years Day (1 January)
  • Australia Day (26 January)
  • Labour Day (First Monday in March)
  • Good Friday / Easter Monday (will be over a weekend in March / April)
  • ANZAC Day (25 April)
  • WA Day (First Monday in June)
  • Queen’s Birthday (Last Monday in September)
  • Christmas Day (25 December)
  • Boxing Day (26 December)

Mobile phones

How to get a SIM card

Prepaid services provide you with the flexibility to manage your call expenses effectively. Prepaid SIM cards and recharge vouchers are readily available in various retail outlets, such as Aldi, Coles, and Woolworths. With no fixed contract periods, you have the freedom to switch providers at your discretion.

A Postpaid plan might be a cost-effective option if you use your mobile a lot. Once you select your phone plan, you commit to a fixed monthly fee, covering a specified allotment of calls, text messages, and data.

You can also compare the different types of phone plans.

Once you’re enrolled at your campus, you’ll have free Wi-Fi access, so you’ll be able to use messaging apps on your phone at no cost.

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