An insider’s guide to Sydney for international students

Just arrived in Sydney? We’ve rounded up tips and tricks to help you make the most of your new home.

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Every year, more than 157,000 students from 60 countries around the world make their way to Sydney for the experience of a lifetime: a semester or two abroad at one of our world-class universities.

Our harbour city provides the perfect backdrop for making lifelong memories with new friends, and for some a permanent home.

But finding your feet can take a bit of time. Here's some information you need to navigate Sydney as easily as possible.

Be welcomed in style

Every year the Lord Mayor of Sydney swings open the doors of Sydney Town Hall to welcome our city's newest international students.

International student welcome at Sydney Town Hall

The Lord Mayor's Welcome is a chance to meet likeminded students and chat to people like NSW Police and Surf Lifesaving NSW who can help you during your stay in Sydney. Tickets are free for the event on Thursday 11 April – book yours now.

Find the best things to do

If you're looking for things to do in Sydney, you're in luck! What's On is our trusted guide to what's happening in Sydney, today, tomorrow and beyond.

Sydney Culture Walks

Discover more than 400 of Sydney's historical sites and public artworks on 10 self-guided walking tours. Download Sydney Cultural Walks App for free.

Visit a library

City of Sydney is home to 9 library branches. Membership is free and comes with bonuses, like wifi, printing and room hire. See 10 things you can do with a library card. Explore the catalogue now.

Spend time outdoors

Strolling in Victoria Park

The weather in Sydney is a big drawcard and a great excuse to spend time in the great outdoors. We're proud of the open space in our local area. Find a park near you.

Learn about Australia's First Peoples

The original Aboriginal inhabitants of the City of Sydney local area are the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. Take the time to learn about Sydney's Indigenous cultures or visit a cultural centre .

Swimming in a city pool

Sydneysiders love the water and the City of Sydney has 5 world-class aquatic centres, right in the heart of the city. Students get discounted membership fees.

If you need a bit of extra confidence in the water, book in for swimming lessons to increase your water confidence.

Heading to the beach

Lifesaver William Chan on the sand at Tamarama Beach

Look for the red and yellow flags and only swim between them. This is always the safest place to swim and is watched over by lifeguards and lifesavers. For more beach safety tips, visit Surf Life Saving NSW.

Getting around on a bus, train or ferry

Public transport options include buses, trains, ferries and light rail. You'll need an Opal Card to travel on any of these. Use the Transport for NSW trip planner to work out the best way to travel.

Cycling

If you love riding, download a Sydney cycling map, learn the local road rules, take a cycling course or get information about cycling events in Sydney. Learn more at Sydney Cycleways.

Stay safe

Police officers visit Redfern Community Centre

Sydney is a popular and safe city for international students but it's still worth being prepared.

The police are here to help you, investigate crimes and keep the peace. They are separate from the government, the army and the defence forces.

If you have any concerns about your safety, your university or college can help you. You can also contact the NSW Police Force on 131 444.

Redfern Legal Centre provides free, confidential legal advice for international students.

Working and volunteering

Getting a job, an internship or work experience in Sydney is a great way to meet new people, make money or complement your field of study.

Our Global City talent connect program offers a range of programs to help enhance your employability. This includes paid internships, unpaid placements for course accreditation and the International Students Leadership and Ambassador Program.

Study NSW also has helpful information about employment and work opportunities.

Download the Insider Guide to Sydney - an independent handbook that helps international students learn more about finding accommodation and work, seeking legal help, meeting new friends and understanding Aussie slang.

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