Pre-Arrival Checklist

Pre-Arrival Information 

Follow the links on this site to find practical information to help you prepare for your time in Wollongong.  

You can also download a copy of our Pre-Arrival Information Booklet. (656KB pdf)



You should prepare a folder of documents to bring with you, including:

  • Valid passport with student visa
  • Offer of Admission letter
  • electronic Confirmation of Enrolment
  • Receipts of payments (tuition fees, OSHC)
  • Scholarship letter (if applicable)
  • Original or certified copies of your academic transcripts
  • For credit exemption, all relevant documents, including syllabi for courses and subjects completed overseas
  • Personal identification documents such as driver’s licence or ID card
  • Medical records or prescriptions

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Clothing & Weather 

Students usually dress casually. Jeans and sports shoes are commonly worn at university.

Summer in Wollongong and Sydney is hot and can be humid. Many students wear shorts, skirts, t-shirts and sandals. You may require a light jacket or jumper in the evenings and in air-conditioned lecture theatres.

Winter is generally mild but you will need warm clothing if arriving in July. Most private housing is not centrally heated, and heating in university accommodation may not be available or as warm as you are used to. It does not snow in Wollongong, but a warm coat or jacket is recommended. View the average temperatures.

If you are taking a course with a laboratory component, you will require covered shoes.

You should bring at least one set of semi-formal clothes. A sports coat or suit and tie for men, and dress or suit for women are necessary for some university functions. You may want to bring traditional dress for festive occasions.

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Electrical Goods 

The electricity supply in Australia is 230-250 volts/AC 50 Hertz. Electrical goods from other countries usually need a conversion adaptor, and 100 volt appliances (shavers, hairdryers etc) cannot be used without a transformer, which can be purchased in your own country, or in Australia.  The Unishop, on the UOW campus, sells adaptors for various international electrical connections and transformers for 115 to 240 volt appliances.

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One of the first things you may want to do when you arrive in Australia is call home.  If you are bringing your phone with you, you should check that the technology and handset are supported by mobile networks in Australia. Most phones in Australia are connected to GSM networks which operate on 900MHz and 1800MHz frequencies. The Australian Communications & Media Authority has more information on technology and compatibility.

If your handset is compatible and your existing mobile phone provider has an ‘international roaming’ agreement with a network in Australia, you can use your phone to make and receive calls in Australia. However this can be expensive – your home network provider can supply you with details on charges.

 A cheaper alternative may be to purchase a ‘pre-paid’ mobile phone package in Australia.  These can be purchased at the following locations: Sydney airport, telecommunications shops in Wollongong CBD, the UniShop on the Main UOW campus and also at the Australia Post shop in the UniShop.  The UniShop or Australia Post staff can tell you about the deals available and could advise you on the best package in view of the kind of international and and local calls you plan to make.

The following telecommunications provider websites provide detailed information on products and plans available:

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After you enrol and receive your student user account, you will have access to email, internet, software, laser printers, the on-campus wireless network and tuition at the Student Central Computer Laboratory. However, before you enrol and receive your account, you may want to connect with friends and family using one of the pre-paid Internet Cafes on campus.  You can also purchase pre-paid mobile broadband internet packages from the Unishop on campus or from telecommunications shops in Wollongong.



The exchange rate for the Australian dollar (AU$) fluctuates, depending on the foreign exchange market.  You can check the current rate on an on-line currency converter.  (Click here for Oanda currency converter.)

We recommend that you carry about $250 in cash when you arrive in Australia. This should be enough to cover incidental expenses until you arrive at your accommodation in Wollongong. There are money exchange facilities at Sydney International Airport, and you can also exchange money at banks in Wollongong (9.30am-4pm Monday-Thursday & 9.30am-5pm Friday). 

A number of banking services are available on-campus. National Australia Bank and IMB will exchange foreign currencies for Australian dollars, provided that you are an account holder. 

You will require at least $500 in your first few weeks to cover personal expenses and textbooks. There are several ways to transfer funds to Australia for your arrival:

  • Open an Australian bank account on-line in your home country and deposit funds into this account. You will be able to withdraw these funds after completing an identity check.  Check out the information on opening an account before you leave home on the websites of the major Australian banks: ANZ; Commonwealth BankNational Australia Bank; and, Westpac.
  • Get a credit card. The most commonly used cards in Australia are Visa and Mastercard. Before you leave home, check with your banking service that your credit card can be used in Automatic teller machines (ATM’s) or for over the counter cash advances in Australian banks. 
  • Get an international debit card. Withdrawals can be made in a similar way to credit cards.
  • Travellers cheques can be exchanged for cash at banks, foreign exchange locations and selected travel agents.
  • Cash passport is a pre-paid travel money card that is now available in many countries. You can load Australian dollars onto your Cash passport before you leave home and withdraw them at a bank or ATM when you arrive in Australia.

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Time Zone 

Wollongong is on Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) – the equivalent of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) +10 hours. Daylight saving is from the first Sunday in October until early April (GMT +11 hours).  Compare Wollongong's time zone with your country's time zone.

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You should fly into Sydney International Airport (SYD), which is 80km from Wollongong. Baggage allowances flying into Australia will vary according to your carrier, flight class an country of origin. Please check with your international carrier prior to departure. Checked luggage on domestic flights within Australia is generally limited to 20kg plus one carry on bag (7kg). If you pack bags that are above this weight you may have to pay a fee, depending on how far over the limit your bags are.

You should fly into Sydney International Airport (SYD), which is 80km from Wollongong. Commencing UOW international students and UOW College/UOW package students for the Wollongong campuses receive a free airport pick-up and transport from the airport to Wollongong upon their arrival.  Be sure to arrange your airport pick-up well in advance of your arrival.

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You will need to have several documents ready to show when you arrive in Australia.

After leaving the plane, you will proceed to Immigration, where an officer will ask to see your completed Incoming Passenger Card (given to you on the plane), your passport and your student visa. You may also need to show your Offer of Admission letter, electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCOE) and evidence that you have enough money to support yourself while studying in Australia (eg, bank statements).

After proceeding through immigration, you will claim your baggage from the carousel and continue through to Australian customs. Australian customs and Quarantine restrictions are very strict: you must not bring prohibited drugs, food or plants into Australia. If you have any plants or animals or items derived from plants or animals, you must declare them on the Traveller’s Statement (given to you on the plane) which acts as your Customs declaration. Visit the Australian customs website for a list of goods that must be declared. You can receive on the spot fines for not declaring items.

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Useful Links 

Department of Immigration

Therapeutic Goods Administration (prescription medication)

Visit Wollongong Website

New South Wales Tourism

Australian Tourism

Illawarra Mercury newspaper

Sydney Morning Herald newspaper

The Australian newspaper


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Last reviewed: 11 March, 2016