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Starter Kit

New to NSW Student Guide

First time settling-in in New South Wales and not sure where to begin? Upon arrival we recommend:

  • Registering at your university to obtain a Student ID
  • Followed by setting up a bank account at a branch close to the university
  • Get yourself a mobile phone plan
  • Start inspecting for houses and filling in rental application form
KOALA 2016/2017
KOALA Mentoring Programme


Disclaimer: MASCA NSW is not sponsored by any of the establishments mentioned in this list. These are mere suggestions from students.


– Sydney

Near University of Sydney (USyd)
  • Billabong Gardens
  • Parkview Hotel
  • St John College
  • Newtown Space

Near University of New South Wales (UNSW)
  • Malaysian Hall
  • Alison Lodge
  • Randwick Lodge
  • Royal Hotel Randwick

Near University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
  • Central Private Hotel
  • Y Hotel City South

– Macquarie

Near Macquarie University (MQU)
  • Travelodge Macquarie North Ryde Hotel
  • Meriton Serviced Apartments

– Wollongong

Near University of Wollongong
  • Kieraview
  • Flinders Motel
  • Beach Park Motor Inn

– Newcastle

Near University of Newcastle
  • Mayfield Hotel
  • Hotel Jesmond
  • Blue Gum Apartments







Most housing agents require applicants to inspect the house before applying. Hence, if you need temporary accommodations, you can refer to the list above. Usually, past students opt to:

  1. Stay at Malaysian Hall for a while before moving into their new house
  2. Staying over at seniors’ or friends’ house

Browse rental accommodations

Disclaimer: MASCA NSW is not sponsored by any of the businesses mentioned in this list. These are mere suggestions from students.

Documents needed for rental application

  • Passport / Student ID
  • Financial affidavit
  • Bank statement
  • Medical card
  • Driver’s license

Documents needed if you have previous tenancy

  • Tenant ledger
  • Electric/Gas bill
  • Reference letter by previous agent
Parkview Hotel
Malaysia Hall Sydney
Central Private Hotel
Travelodge Macquarie North Ryde Hotel
Flinders Motel
Mayfield Hotel
One of the accommodations on Usyd
One of the accommodations on UNSW
One of the accommodations on UoN


You can open a bank account at:

  • Your uni’s open day bank booth
  • The bank itself

Some sponsors will have select your bank for you, hence we recommend following whatever your sponsor has selected for you. However, there is no one preventing you from opening a new bank account if you feel that is in your best interest 🙂

Disclaimer: MASCA NSW is not sponsored by any of the banks shown or mentioned. These are mere suggestions from students.

Things to bring to the bank:

  • Visa
  • Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) document
  • Passport
  • Student ID

Pro Tips

  • Show your student ID and CoE to qualify for a zero-fee student account.
  • The bank card you will receive will work as a debit card and MasterCard.

Smartphone Plans

SIM-only plan

Bring-your-own (BYO) phone and get all the best things from a plan wrapped into a SIM.

Mobile plan

Mobile plans offer your data and phone as well!

Usually a lock-in contract for 12, 24 or 36 months.

Pre & Post-paid plan

Pre-paid plan: you pay first, then get a monthly package.

Post-paid plan: you will be paying after using the plan.

Temporary SIM cards

For families visiting from Malaysia and cheap international calls, use Lebara.

Overseas Student Health Cover

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is insurance to assist international students meet the costs of medical and hospital care while in Australia.

OSHC will pay limited benefits for pharmaceuticals and ambulance services.

Kindly refer to the Australian Government – Department of Health page for more FAQs regarding the OSHC:

List of insurers

Disclaimer: MASCA NSW is not sponsored by any of the insurers shown or mentioned. These are mere suggestions from students.

Home Doctor Service

Only Allianz, Medibank and Bupa insurance holders will not be charged for a visit. Available only after office hours.

Driving & Transportation

You can use your Malaysian driving license in Australia for a majority of official businesses like car rental. However, some things may require an Australian driver’s license.

Opal card

All of the public transportations in NSW can be paid using an Opal card.

An Opal card is similar to a debit card, where you can put money in it and you can use it to “tap-on” and “tap-off” on any kinds of public transport in NSW such as buses, trams, ferries etc.

It’s similar to Malaysia’s Touch ‘n’ Go. Buy a card, tap-on, get on a public transport, arrive at your destination, tap-off, repeat.

Buy an “Adult” black Opal card.

“Concession” is not available to international students unless you are an Australian citizen or Australian Government’s sponsored student.


Opal fares vary from different kind of transportations and distances.

The Opal official website states every transportation fare be it buses, trains, ferries, and light rail (trams):

Opal has travel caps which means that no matter how much you travel with an Opal card you never pay more than the caps:

How to Top-Up

  • Physical top-up booth
  • Online at opal.com.au
  • Through Opal mobile phone app

Places of Worship



  • Malaysian Hall
  • Lakemba Mosque
  • Redfern Mosque
  • Gallipolli Mosque
  • Surry Hills Mosque
  • Masjid Ar-Rahman


  • Newcastle Mosque Mayfield


  • Omar Mosque
  • Bilal Mosque



  • St. James Catholic Church
  • St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
  • St. Michael’s Catholic Church


  • Corpus Christi Catholic Church
  • Our Lady of Victories Shortland Church



  • St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
  • Martin Luther Kirche
  • Bethany Church
  • Kingsford Church of Chris
  • FOCUS Church UNSW


  • Lifeway Lutheran Church


  • Wollongong Baptist Church



  • Australian Tibet Council
  • Bodhikusuma
  • Buddhist Centre
  • Rigpa
  • Sokka Gakai


  • Rigpa


  • Phuoc Hue Temple (United Buddhist Congregation in Australia & New Zealand)



  • Sri Karphaga Vineyaker Temple
  • Sri Mandi
  • Sydney Kalibari



  • Revesby Gurudwara
  • Parklea Sikh Temple



(December – February)

18.6 – 25.8°C


(March – May)

14.6 – 22.2°C


(June – August)

8.8 – 17°C


(September – November)

Frequently Asked

When are the daylight savings?

Daylight saving begins at 2am on the first Sunday in October and ends at 3am on the first Sunday in April. During this time NSW moves to Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT), UTC +11.

Does it snow during winter in NSW?

Snow in NSW is extremely rare. Jindabyne is the gateway to the Snowy Mountains. Additionally, snow can also fall in regional parts of NSW including the Blue Mountains, Orange and the Upper Hunter.



  • AGL
  • Lumo Energy
  • Origin Energy
  • Energy Australia


Town houses pay for its water usage.

Unit houses’ water bill is free-of-charge.


  • TPG
  • Optus
  • Telstra

Frequency of payment

Pay electricity/gas every 3 months.

Wi-Fi pays monthly.

Working Part-Time

National Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage (per hour)1$18.29$18.29
Maximum hour (per weekly)
During Semester20$18.29$365.80
During Holidays$18.29$$$

Potential Part-Time Jobs

  • Waiting tables
  • Cleaning
  • Fruit-picking
  • Food delivery (UberEats, Deliveroo)
  • Babysitting
  • Tutoring

More Information

Australian Government

Fair Work Ombudsman


Halal Butchery


Steggles and Lilydale are producers of frozen nuggets, sausages and chicken fillets. Their products can be found in the frozen section in Coles, Woolworths, IGA and etc.

Lakemba, Bankstown, and Punchbowl are suburbs dominated by Muslims dwelling. They are the ultimate source for halal butcheries and western style halal food like KFC, McD and even camel burgers!


  • TJ Halal Meats
  • Red Lea Chicken
  • Abdul’s Halal Butchery
  • Fresh Chicken
  • Select Coles & Woolworths (eg. Eastlakes, Broadway)


If you ever doubt or have suspicions, be sure to ask the shop owners for their halal certificates.

List of Halal Butcheries

List may not be updated: