International Students in Australia: A Local's Guide to Perth

Perth is a great place to live, work, and study – but like anywhere, there are certain things you should know before jumping straight in! Here’s our guide for international students to live like a local does in Perth.


We all know how important money is and it can be difficult to estimate your living costs in a foreign city, but thankfully the Australian government has calculated some average living costs for international students in Australia. Of course, these costs will fluctuate from person to person, but it’s a good starting point to estimate your specific cost of living in Perth:
• Accommodation (housing and apartment rentals) – $165 to $440 per week
• Groceries and eating out – $80 to $280 per week
• Public transport – $15 to $55 per week
• Phone and internet – $15 to $55 per week
• Entertainment – $80 to $150 per week

Another great resource for estimating your individual living costs is the Insider Guides Cost of Living Calculator.

Take some time to calculate your costs based on your individual spending habits.
The Australian Government also has certain financial requirements you must meet to obtain a student visa; for more information you should consult the Department of Home Affairs.
Living with The Student Housing Company offers a great list of benefits that will save you money! We offer high speed unlimited Wi-Fi, all-inclusive rent, an outdoor cinema, and a 15m swimming pool in the building! For more information about the great money savings benefits visit our website and think about booking a viewing of our display suite!


You might choose to work in a coffee shop like this one!


Working whilst you study

While you’re in Australia on an Australian Student Visa, international students can work up to 40 hours a fortnight during the semester and full time on holidays. There are many jobs you might consider working, some popular choices for international students include:
• University or school tutor
• On campus jobs e.g. library assistant
• Retail sales assistant
• Waiter or bartender
• Call centre staff
• Internships
Keep in mind that if you’re going to be working in Australia you’ll need to get an Australian Tax File Number (TFN). It might sound complicated, but the process is quite easy and can be done online.

Universities in Perth and how to get involved

There are many great universities in Perth, and any university you choose you’ll be in a good place. Check out our blog on The Best Universities in Perth for our information on universities in Perth for international students.

Groups and support

University can be a stressful time, and it’s important to realise that you aren’t alone! There are several groups you might like to get involved with so your time in Australia goes smoothly.
Check out Mate in Oz, an independent organisation run by former international students, who can help you with problems related to university, student accommodation, and all things international students may face. They’ve been in your shoes before and they’re completely independent, so you can talk to them with confidence!
Each university also has plenty of student societies and clubs that you can join, some centred around sport, courses, and language. Some clubs are just based on a common interest. There’s certainly something for you!
If you’re struggling at uni, you’re not alone and know that many people have similar issues. Each university has various support systems in place:
• UWA 
• Curtin 
• ECU 
• Murdoch 
• Notre Dame

The Transperth network will ensure you are well connected to all areas.



Getting around Perth is easy, especially with the active public transport network Transperth. Transperth operate all public transport in the Perth area, and all of Perth’s universities are well connected to the network.
To use Transperth services you’ll want to get a tertiary Smartrider card, which will save you some money as you make your way around the city. For more information, including where to get your Smartrider, check out the Transperth website.

The vibrant suburb of Northbridge on a weekend night



Perth has a lot going on right now! There’s plenty to see and a lot of different cultures represented. Check out the vibrant suburb of Northbridge where you’ll find karaoke bars, and eateries from South America, Asia, and India. Northbridge is probably Perth’s most vibrant suburb where you’ll find a real mix of cultures and things to do.
There are plenty of areas to head to in Perth, if you’re looking for some maritime history and great fish and chips, head to Fremantle! For vibrant café and eateries check out Mt Lawley. Our blog What’s on in Perth: The 10 Best Things To Do is a great resource to see what you can do in your free time.