Melbourne for international students

RMIT Training

With over 50 years’ experience, RMIT Training delivers leading education solutions, university pathways and English language courses and testing at the RMIT City campus in Melbourne, Australia.

Living and Studying in Melbourne for international students

If you’re thinking about studying abroad, Melbourne is the perfect destination. Melbourne is regularly listed as one of the most liveable cities in the world and is known as a popular destination for international students.  

Becoming familiar with life in Melbourne is important if you’re planning on moving here to study or if you’re already living here. Studying and living in Melbourne is a great way to learn and practice English. It’s a safe place to live, has great public transport and offers a wide variety of cultural experiences for its diverse population.  

We’ve put together this page to help you understand some of the important things you need to know before making your decision to live and study in here, including: accommodation, weather, transport, finding work, culture, food and more.

About Melbourne

Melbourne, Victoria, is a vibrant, multicultural city with many attractions, events, festivals, cultural experiences, live music, art exhibitions, restaurants, shops and entertainment. Melbourne is known for its constant activity and its celebrated café culture. In Melbourne, you can immerse yourself by making friends with Melbournians (the locals) and students to help you discover great places to eat, visit and explore the incredible options this city has to offer. 

Melbourne city skyline and Yarra river

Weather

Melbourne generally enjoys a temperate climate with warm to hot summers, mild and sometimes balmy springs and autumns, and crisp, fresh winters. The weather can change quickly in a day going from beautiful sunshine to torrential rain, so always be prepared with an umbrella and take a jacket when you are out and about. Learn more about Melbourne weather

Seasons

Summer in Melbourne begins in December and ends on the last day of February. These are usually the warmest months and average daily temperatures that range from 12 to 27 degrees Celsius. Melbourne summers are usually dry and hot with temperatures reaching higher than 40 degrees Celsius. It is not uncommon that for extremely hot days to be followed by a cold change, so it is always best to be prepared when planning a day out with sunscreen and an umbrella.   

Much like other countries, Autumn between 1 March and 31 May, is the time when the leaves turn brown and fall to the ground. Australia has many wonderful evergreen trees, like our native eucalyptus trees that create beautiful streets and spaces during the autumn months.   

Melbourne winter begins on 1 June and ends 31 August. Winters are often cool and crisp with more rainfall than other seasons. It does not usually snow in Melbourne in winter but there are many snowy mountains you can visit in surrounding towns.  

Spring is a wonderful time to be in Melbourne with the winter cold slowly being replaced with warmer summer weather. Between 1 September and 30 November, it’s important to remember your antihistamines and inhalers, if you need them, as this is the time when you will find high pollen counts in the air.  

Cost of living (bank account, rent, etc)

The cost of living in Victoria can depend on many different things. Where you live, what you eat, what you do for entertainment and where you work can all have considerable impacts on your finances.  

Get advice on the cost of living in Australia – The Victorian Government’s Study Melbourne website includes useful tips and advice on where to live and the cost of living in Melbourne. It has helpful advice on public transport, entertainment, shopping plus tax and banking information.  

RMIT University also has information on living expenses as well as advice on creating and sticking to a budget. 

Opening a bank account in Australia is easy but there are a few things you need to know. 

Australian culture  

There are some important things you may like to know about Australian culture as an international student studying in Australia. Before you study in Melbourne you might like to learn more about punctuality, housework, rubbish, tipping and how to talk to local people. 

Transport - arriving, travelling and getting around 

Travelling around Melbourne is easy. Whether you’re arriving for the first time, returning home to visit family and friends or getting around day-to-day, you’ll find there are plenty of options for you to get around.  

Melbourne Tram

Cycling is great for your health and the environment. Melbourne is one of the most bike friendly cities in the world with bike lanes and paths available on most streets and inner-city areas.  

Learn more about Melbourne’s bike paths, shared footpaths, and bicycle parking facilities Bicycle Network website

If you prefer driving, there are a few things you should know before you can start exploring Melbourne by car.  

Drivers licence and road rules

You may already be an experienced driver back home but you may discover that your drivers licence is not valid in Australia. Before you start to drive, it is important to check with VicRoads to ensure you have the correct qualifications. 

Buying cars 

You may seek to buy a car when you’re in Australia. Buying new and second-hand cars in Australia is relatively straightforward but it’s important to understand what you’re buying before making a decision. When purchasing a car, it is recommended you do your research and if you’re unsure, seek further advice. 

Carshare or hire cars  

If you need a car for a short period of time, there are many carshare or hire car companies to consider. These companies offer hire car options for a few hours, a few days, a few weeks and even months at a time. When choosing a company, be sure that you pay attention to contract details about insurances and additional costs before making a decision. 

 

Tram on Melbourne street

Melbourne’s Public Transport Victoria service is a great way to get to class, work or explore the sights and sounds of Melbourne with friends. Trains, trams and busses travel frequently to and from the city across hundreds of routes. If you live in Melbourne, you are likely to have a public transport service near you.  

To travel by Bus, Train and Tram around Melbourne you will need to get a Myki card. Check out the Public Transport Victoria (PTV) website for more info on public transport routes and how to get a Myki - Public Transport Victoria (PTV).

Rideshare services like Uber, Ola and DiDi, plus local Taxi’s, can take you anywhere in Melbourne including pick-up and drop-off at Melbourne Airport. It’s important to remember that these services can be more expensive than public transport or the SkyBus, depending on the distance you need to travel.  

Rideshare services do not accept cash, so you will need to have money in the account linked to your rideshare app.  

Taxi’s in Melbourne take cash in Australian dollars (AUD) and debit/credit cards. 

When planning your arrival in Melbourne, or a night out with friends, make sure you budget enough money for your local travel.   

Arriving in Australia as an international student

For students arriving or returning to Australia, here are some ways you may want to get to your new accommodation and home. 

Free RMIT airport pick-up – all commencing RMIT students are eligible for a free airport pick-up upon arrival in Australia.  

Rideshare or Taxi – Students may decide to use a rideshare service (Uber, Ola, DiDi, etc) to travel to and from the airport. Remember these options can be more expensive depending on how far you need to travel, so make sure you have money to pay for this service. 

Skybus – SkyBus provides regular express travel to and from the CBD and Melbourne Airport and Avalon Airport. 

Melbourne Park

Working in Australia

Work conditions on a student visa

Working while you study is a great opportunity to earn money, improve your English, gain skills, and meet new people.

Some work restrictions and conditions apply to international students, such as: 

  • You can work up to 20 hours a week during your program 

  • You can work full-time during holiday periods 

  • Volunteer work is not included in the 20-hour limit 

  • You can only start work once your program has commenced 

RMIT building

The RMIT University website has more information about work conditions for student visa holders. You can also access information about your rights as a worker in Australia at the Fair Work Ombudsman website

Finding a job in Australia 

When looking for work in Australia, the first thing you will need is a resume listing your education and work experience. Your resume is the key part to finding work in Australia.  

You may also find that a job application requires a cover letter. A cover letter is a short letter stating your interest in an advertised position. You will find that cover letters are often required for professional jobs in an office or corporate environment, but they can be requested by any employer, so make sure your read the advertisements thoroughly.  

Get advice on applying for jobs 

Accommodation 

One of the first things you will need to do when you arrive in Melbourne is find a place to live. From short-term to long-term, there are many options available, so see below for a quick guide on some student accommodation options.  

Student accommodation 

RMIT University City campus is located near a variety of long-term and short-term student accommodation providers. Purpose-built student accommodation is conveniently located close to RMIT University. This type of accommodation can offer furnished apartments, as well as convenient communal facilities. 

Melbourne city skyline

Renting and share housing 

There are special rules for renting different types of accommodation in Australia.  These rules are important because they can protect you.  You should make sure you understand these rules before you sign a rental agreement. 

You may also be interested in share housing. Share housing is where you share accommodation with other people and split the cost of rent and utilities. Share houses can be made up of people you know, family members or new people you met through local ads.   

While share housing in Australia is considered very safe, it is important to remember to let someone you trust know where you are going when attending an interview for a share house.  

 

Accommodation for under 18s 

If you are under 18 years of age, you must live in approved accommodation. You will find a list of RMIT University approved providers here.  

There are several useful websites that can help you with accommodation questions. 

Get advice about accommodation 

Speak to the Student Services team if you have any questions about accommodation. 

Students under 18 years of age

Parents of under-18 international students and prospective students can find all relevant information regarding your rights and responsibilities, support services and accommodation options.
 

It’s important to know that students who are under 18 years of age must live in approved accommodation in Melbourne. Find out about approved accommodation providers

Studying in Melbourne

Libraries  

Melbourne has a variety of spaces where you can access resources for study. If your living arrangements make it difficult to find quiet time, you can visit one of the city’s libraries and find a quiet area to study.  

Below is a list of libraries in or close to the CBD that you can visit: 

Melbourne library

Study Melbourne  

Study Melbourne is a Victorian government initiative that provides support to international students studying in Victoria. They offer confidential support, free events, and have the Study Melbourne student centre in the Melbourne CBD.  

Visit Study Melbourne here.

Things to do in Melbourne

As an international student living in Melbourne, there are plenty of fun and interesting things to do in your downtime from study. You can explore Melbourne’s iconic attractions, take a road trip to Victoria’s famous coastline, try delicious cuisine inspired by the city’s multicultural community, or enjoy the world-famous café culture.

Here’s a list of things you can do while living in Melbourne: 

Great ocean road

Melbourne’s most iconic attractions 

Melbourne offers an array of well-known attractions for you to visit. From zoos and markets to museums and goldfields, and much more. RMIT Training’s Student Experience team run regular events and tours for group visits to important Melbourne attractions, so be sure to see what’s coming up.  

Popular attractions you can visit include: 

Victoria is known as ‘the Garden state’ because there are so many beautiful parks and gardens. You can have a picnic in the Royal Botanical Gardens or run around the famous ‘Tan track. There are beautiful beaches not far from the CBD, but if you’d like to venture a little further out, you can find surf beaches to delight any surfing enthusiast.  

Find out more about the many activities and experiences on offer in Melbourne. 

Beach Boxes

Queen Vic Market

Australian Zoos

Art Galleries

Shopping 

Melbourne is widely considered to be the best shopping destination in Australia. It offers the best range of high-end fashion stores and many large shopping complexes. Just within the CBD, there are three complexes to choose from and you can stroll down Collins street where you will find all the luxury designer boutiques. 

Melbourne shopping centre

Shopping complexes and precincts within the CBD include: 

There are also shopping outlets such as Direct Factory Outlets which offer good quality clothing at discounted prices. 

Food and cuisine 

Melbourne is known for its culinary delights, attracting some of the best restaurants and chefs in the world. But it is not always the most expensive restaurants that the city is known for – you can sample amazing dishes at small local restaurants or even at a market.  

Below you will find a list of websites that have done all the groundwork to find great restaurants in Melbourne that offer delicious, affordable meals: 

Coffee culture

Melbournians are serious about coffee. As you will learn quickly, it is a part of the daily routine for many Melbournians to start their day with a great cup of coffee. Coffee in Melbourne is among the best in the world and the city attracts and nurtures expert baristas who have turned coffee-making into an art form. There are many cafés all over the city that serve amazing brews so you can spend some time taste-testing until you find your favourite one.  

Find the best coffee in Melbourne.

Coffee and toasted sandwich

Information for new students

Everything you need to know for your first few weeks at RMIT including enrolment information, timetables and orientation.

Student services

Explore the services, activities and support available to you as a student.

Campus tour

Do you want to see where you could be studying? We have put together a virtual campus tour.

Get in touch with us

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer