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Upon arrival

Getting set up

Moving and studying as an international student is a big and exciting step, it has the potential to be an eye-opening, influential and life-changing experience. On this page, we hope to provide you with guidance on what to organise, what to expect, prepare you for study and your new life in Australia. 

Step 1: Open an Australian bank account

You can do this before you leave home or when you arrive in Australia. Here is how to open a bank account in Australia.

Step 2: Set up an Australian phone number

You do this by purchasing a SIM card or Australian mobile number when you arrive in Australia. There are two types of mobile phone accounts you can choose from

A. Prepaid service gives you flexibility because you control how much you spend and can stop using the service any time. Pre-paid SIM cards are sold in many shops and supermarkets, as well as by mobile phone providers.

B. Contract is best if you will be using your mobile a lot, and will be in Australia for a fixed period of time for study. There are numerous mobile phone operators in Australia, the options in Darwin include Telstra (offers the best phone coverage), Optus and Vodaphone. 

Step 3: Locate a Doctor or other healthcare professional near you
Step 4: Find where to get food

There are supermarkets such as Woolworths, Coles or IGA. Some areas also offer food delivery services such as Uber Eats, Doordash, Menulog or find a restaurant

Let us know when you are here

When you first arrive in Australia, it is important that you provide your new contact details – address and phone number – to Charles Darwin University within 7 days of arrival, as CDU is obliged to inform the Department of Home Affairs of your local contact details in case of emergencies. You can update your contact details via MyStudentInfo.

If you are able to enrol into your course, you will be prompted to provide your local address and contact details.

If you are unable to enrol into your course or you are experiencing difficulty with activating your student account, please visit the webpage Guide to enrolling for detailed instructions. Or, you can contact Student Central at your campus for assistance.

International student orientation

International student orientation is held in the week before the commencement of higher education classes and runs over several days. When arranging your travel to Australia, please ensure you arrive in time to attend orientation, as this event is compulsory.

Orientation is held on our main campuses and online as well. During Orientation, you will receive all the information relevant to you that will set you up for success during your time at CDU, including:

  • Meet and greet
  • Enrolment
  • Student visa rules and regulations
  • Support services available at CDU
  • Information about access and inclusion
  • Campus tours
  • Lots of fun activities
  • Prizes to be won!

VET orientation will occur on the first day of class.

Culture and clubs

Make the most of your time studying and become part of the uni community by engaging with your lecturers, making new friends and joining clubs and societies. 

Learn more

Darwin and Northern Territory information

Sydney information

Additional information

Working in Australia

Working in Australia can be a great cultural experience, and can be an opportunity for you to improve your language and social skills.

Student visa work restrictions were relaxed throughout the pandemic, and completely removed in January 2022 to allow primary and secondary student visa holders to work over their normal limit of 40 hours per fortnight to address workforce shortages. This will end on 30 June 2023.

From 1 July 2023, work restrictions for student visa holders will be re-introduced and capped at the increased rate of 48 hours per fortnight. This ensures that student visa holders are able to focus on obtaining a quality Australian education and qualification, while remaining able to support themselves financially, gain valuable work experience, and contribute to Australia’s workforce need.

To see the visa conditions that affect your work situation, see VEVO.

It is very important to remember it is illegal to work before starting your first day of classes.

Finding work in Australia can be achieved through many different channels. You can contact Student Support for careers and employment advice, as well as assistance with your resume. These websites may also be helpful:

Culture shock

Cultural shock is the feeling of being out of place in an environment that is unfamiliar to you. As an international student, you are likely to experience this after the initial excitement of moving to a new country has worn off and you are faced with the reality of living in a new place without your family or old friends, where most people do not speak the same language as you.

This can be very challenging, and it can cause enormous amounts of stress in your life. It is very important to recognise why you are feeling this and to develop methods of coping.

You may find it helpful to regularly speak with your family and friends back home, or set goals to improve your language. It may also help you to try and develop a sense of 'cultural awareness' and an understanding of how to openly communicate with the people around you.

If you are struggling, we encourage you to have a chat to our International Student support team or our free and confidential counselling services.

Disability services

Charles Darwin University is committed to providing an accessible, supportive, safe and inclusive learning environment for students with disabilities.

If you have a disability, medical or mental condition (permanent or temporary), the CDU Access and Inclusion team can assist you with your studies to ensure equal access and participation in uni life. Access and Inclusion services are free for all CDU students. For more information please visit the webpage: Access and inclusion

T: 08 8946 6288


Apply for an NT licence as a temporary overseas visitor

If you already hold a licence

You can transfer your overseas driver licence (Class C) or motorcycle licence (Class R) to the NT. To transfer your overseas licence, you will need to visit an MVR office.

If your Class C driver licence is recognised you will be able to transfer your licence. You will need to complete a theory test and then a practical driving test to obtain a full licence in the NT. To find out if your licence is recognised visit the MVR website.

For more information, email:, or you can call 1300 654 628. 

If you do not hold a licence

This is a step-by-step guide to show you how to get your learner driver licence, graduating with your provisional licence and qualifying for your open driver licence.

For road safety resources, online modules and information on classes and instructors, go to the DriveSafe NT website.

Apply for a NSW licence as a temporary overseas visitor

If you already hold a licence

If you're a temporary overseas visitor to NSW and you hold an overseas driver's licence, you can apply for a NSW licence if you wish.

Your licence will show the letter Q on the front of the card and ‘Evidence of permanent residency status not provided’ will be printed on the back of the card.

How to apply

  • Download and complete the Licence Application – PDF.
  • Make sure you have all your documentation and any additional items (if applicable).
  • Visit a service centre and submit your application.

Learn more

If you do not hold a licence

If you want to get a NSW driver licence, you can use this page to work through the stages involved in going from learner to full licence: Getting a NSW driver licence.

For more information, you can call 13 77 88.

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