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International Students - Study and Travel

Achieve your academic goals while discovering our amazing country


Information for International Students

Welcome to our warm, beautiful country. Australia has so much to offer our students. The whole time you spend in Australia will be a truly wonderful learning and living experience.
Australia’s warmth and hospitality are catching – it doesn’t matter what country you come from, it doesn’t matter what colour your skin: as you walk past most people, they smile and say hello.
Your time in Australia will not only be spent studying - much of your leisure time can be used for excursions, visiting tourist attractions such as The Blue Mountains, our world-renowned Opera House and Bondi Beach. You will also be able to travel to other states to see places such as Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kakadu National Park or spend time relaxing on our magnificent, clean, white, sandy beaches.
If you are an overseas student, you need to remember that the Australian Government requires overseas students to abide by their Student Visa conditions, their commitment to study and to achieve academic excellence.
We are glad to welcome you as a prospective student and look forward to working with you to further your career goals and your lifetime dreams.

Elizabeth Absolon, CEO

Life in Australia booklet

Visitors and new residents can learn more about the Australian Values Statement and our history, culture and society from the Life in Australia booklet (148KB PDF).

Life in Australia booklet. Retrieved from

Pre-Arrival Information

There are a few things that you need to remember before leaving your home and your country.
Please make sure you plan your departure carefully and pack the following documents:

  • Passport

  • Visa

  • Letter of Offer

  • Confirmation of Enrolment

  • Your international Driver’s Licence (if you have one)

  • Notarised copies of your previous Educational Qualifications

  • Evidence of your English Language Proficiency/Skills

Remember that there are now restrictions on planes on what you can and cannot bring – check with Travel/SECURE.
Australia’s strict quarantine regulations also mean that you cannot bring in certain types of foods, plant or animal products, so you should also check the Australian Government’s Immigration website for detailed information about these issues.
An Australian Government website called ‘Study in Australia’ provides in-depth and extremely valuable information which all prospective international students should refer to prior to making the decision to study in our beautiful country.


Arrival in Australia

From the time you step off the plane, you will experience Australian hospitality. If required one of our friendly staff can meet you at Kingsford Smith Airport in Sydney when your plane arrives. You then have a short trip to your destination. You can choose to travel by car, train, bus or - for an additional charge - by taxi or by limousine.
Our staff will assist you to settle in at your place of residence. Any queries you have you will be able to ask our Overseas Co-ordinator to help you settle into your new way of life.


Australia is well-known for its temperate climate. Sydney has a beautiful, sunny coastal climate with winter temperatures averaging between 15 - 18 degrees celsius and a summer temperature averaging between 28 – 30 degrees celsius.
That doesn’t mean you come without a coat and some warm clothes, as there are occasions when the temperature falls to a low 8 degrees celsius with some parts of New South Wales having temperatures of 0 degrees or even –0 degrees.
Of course, Australia caters to everyone and we have a fantastic snow season as well, so if you wish to go skiing in our beautiful Mt Kosciusko region in the winter months, then you do need to bring some very warm clothing as well.


Recreation and Sport

Sydney offers a variety of sporting and recreational activities. These include swimming, golf, tennis, sailing, scuba diving, tennis, horse riding, abseiling, hang-gliding, bushwalking, soccer, rugby, boating, cricket, fishing, archery – the list is endless.
In Australia’s winter, a four-hour trip takes you to the magnificent Australian ski slopes where you can ski to your heart's content. Alternatively, for those who prefer warmth in winter, a trip to sunny Queensland’s well-known tourist attractions can also provide endless hours of fun.
The Illawarra region is close to Sydney and has numerous venues for picnics, sightseeing and – in nearby animal parks such as Symbio Wildlife Zoo – you can feed kangaroos, pat koalas and watch wombats. Beautiful, colourful parrots; white cockatoos; pink and grey galahs are plentiful in the region. Sydney also has its own magnificent Botanical Gardens overlooking our majestic and world-known Sydney Harbour and Opera House.

Working in Australia

International students are allowed to work up to 40 hours per fortnight whilst studying. During vacation periods students can work full-time. This means that you can earn money in Australia to support yourself whilst you are studying.
The Illawarra Business College has an association with a local recruitment agency and can assist you with finding employment in the region.
One of the benefits of studying with Focal Group of Colleges is that we offer short training courses in Hospitality services (at a small additional cost) to give you some basic qualifications you need to work in Australia as a waiter, bartender, or in gaming establishments. Contact our marketing department to request information about these short employment courses.

Proposed Budget

Obviously, international students are responsible for their own living expenses whilst in Australia. We have prepared a proposed budget to give you an idea of the cost of living for twelve months in the Sydney region. The costs are based on your sharing rental accommodation with at least two other students.
All costs are in Australian dollars and are approximate only. Remember that costs will vary according to your personal lifestyle and preferences. You should budget for expenses of between $22,000 and $26,000 per year for living expenses. If you are married, you will need about $8000 - $8500 per year for your spouse and about $4,000 - $5000 per year for each child.
Your Student Visa should normally allow you to work up to 40 hours per fortnight, so you can earn approximately $500 - $800 or more weekly to supplement your own funds. Your Student Visa allows you to work unlimited hours during College holiday breaks. However, Student Visa conditions are determined by the Australian Government, so you should check all terms and conditions on the Australian Government’s Immigration website.


Accommodation can be arranged with families in private homes. This is called homestay and generally includes an individual room plus three meals a day. The benefits of homestay is that you live in the safety of a family environment. If you require assistance with finding accommodation while you study with us, Focal Holdings Group of Colleges can help you with this by referring you to an accredited, recognised Real Estate Agency or Home Stay Agency.
Accommodation is also available by renting a home unit, town house, villa or a free-standing house. A free-standing house normally has a fenced garden with lawns surrounding the house – ideal for families with children. Accommodation can be rented with one to four bedrooms and normally includes a kitchen, bathroom, internal toilet, lounge room (salon) and eating area (dining room).
The average costs of renting these types of premises in the region ranges from $200.00 to $600.00 per week depending on the type of accommodation you choose. Electricity and telephone usage are additional costs. Students can choose to share accommodation, thus reducing your weekly accommodation expenses.

Homestay Accommodation
Homestay allows you to live with an Australian host family – providing you with an authentic Sydney living experience. Homestay families charge a fee that covers accommodation, breakfast and/or dinner and/or lunch. Internet access is also often included. We can refer you to homestay accommodation for your arrival in Australia.

Shared Housing
Sharing a house or apartment is the most popular accommodation choice for most of our international students. The following websites can help you to find the perfect room and/or roommate:


Rental Accommodation
Should you prefer to live alone or with friends, you can rent (or ‘lease’) a house or apartment. Rental prices vary considerably according to location. Accommodation in the area around Bankstown is much cheaper than living in Sydney’s Central Business District. You will need to pay a bond upfront – usually four weeks rent – in the event of damage to the property. View current rental listings at the following websites:

Course Details

Most of our courses do not have any pre-requisites for enrolment in those courses. However, our courses do require you to have:

  • the equivalent of e.g., Year 12 level Australian schooling (e.g., High School Completion Certificate, Matura), or

  • Year 10+2 years’ schooling or

  • be a mature-age student.

English Language

International students who wish to study in Australia must obviously speak English. If English is not your first language, you will be required to be tested in your English language proficiency. Your score must be to the IELTS level of 5.5 or TOEFL level of 550 English standard. Testing is available in your home country.
You can enrol in an English language course in Australia if your IELTS or TOEFL scores are not sufficient to meet the Student Visa and College requirements. For example, if you score IELTS 4.5, you can enrol in an English course in Australia for 20 weeks prior to the commencement of your vocational studies. If you score IELTS of 5.0, then you would need an English language course of 10 weeks prior to the commencement of your vocational studies.
If you wish to study English in Australia, contact us to find out more about English language courses.

Emphasis on Quality and Curriculum

Our courses are all accredited by the Australian Government. Courses are based on qualifications endorsed by Service Skills Organisations. This gives students the assurance that the training received is of the highest quality and the curriculum being followed is relevant to the industry that the training relates to.


Government Recognition

Focal Holdings Group of Colleges is registered with the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) as a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Overseas students can be assured that their training is being conducted by an organisation that is on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). Our CRICOS number is 01497F and our College Provider number is 90191. This means that the Australian Government has endorsed the College as a training institution offering professional courses.


Industry Recognition

Our College is also recognised by industry as a provider of accredited training with membership of Queensland Tourism Industry Council, The Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA). The College is also the holder of a Security Industry Master Licence (Licence Number 40812195) and is a member of the Australian Security Industry Association Limited. Endorsement by these bodies ensures that training provision and examinations are provided to the highest ethical standards.


Health Insurance

International students must take out health cover before you come to Australia. This is a requirement of the Australian Government. Please note that if your family accompanies you to Australia, you must take out family rate of cover.

What this means is that for a small charge called the Overseas Student Health Charge (OSHC), international students (and their families) receive free public hospital care (in a shared hospital ward) and a rebate of approximately 85% of standard medical fees. Students are usually covered for pathology, radiology, eye-sight testing and emergency ambulance.

Your agent can assist you in applying for your OSHC card.


Change of Address or Personal Details

It is both a Student Visa condition and a College regulation that students must advise the College of any change in residential address or any personal contact details within seven (7) days, e.g. email address, physical address, telephone number, etc.


Money and Banks

Australian dollars are the only legal tender accepted in Australia. Australia uses decimal currency with 100 cents in a dollar. Bank notes are in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 plus there are 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1, $2 coins.

Money from other countries can be changed at our international airport, larger banks and major hotels. Travellers’ cheques are easy to use if already in Australian dollars. Automatic Teller Machines are readily available.

The most commonly accepted credit cards are Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners International.



Australia has a plentiful supply of food. Our multicultural profile means that we have foods from countries all over the world, so you should have no trouble finding foods that you are used to in your home country.

There are food shops selling vegetables from various countries and our supermarkets also sell a wide variety of foods from different countries.

There are also restaurants specialising in cuisines from countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Africa, Europe, China, Mexico, Brazil, etc., so you will also have the opportunity of sampling foods from many other cultures.



Payment of course fees is via Bank Draft (AUD) or direct deposit payable to Focal Holdings Pty Ltd t/a The Illawarra Business College for the registration fee and tuition fees. Payment is to be made as follows:

  • Registration Fee – in advance

  • 25% - 50% on Acceptance of Offer of Enrolment;

  • Balance to be paid in equal instalments as per the conditions of the Letter of Offer.

A non-refundable registration fee of $300.00 is payable on acceptance of offer of enrolment. Prospective students should read the ‘Fees’ page and the ‘Incidental Fees and Charges’ page to ascertain any additional fees payable.

NB: A students’ signature on the Enrolment Acceptance and Payment Advice form constitutes contractual acceptance for the payment of all fees as they fall due.



“Course” refers to the whole period for which the Acceptance Advice Letter of Offer is issued. If the Letter of Offer refers to two or more individual courses, then that is the ‘Course’ that is stipulated in relation to Refunds.
Students should refer to the College’s Refund Policy under ‘Policies’ on the website.
Please note that students cannot transfer tuition fees to another student. It is a Government requirement that students cannot transfer to another course at another institution in less than six (6) months of enrolling in their primary course of study. 
NB: Special consideration will be given to refund of fees in extenuating circumstances, following written application to the College management and provision of relevant and authentic documentary proof of the extenuating circumstances.


If a student desires to withdraw from a full-time course at the College prior to completion of the normal expected training period offered by the College, not less than two calendar months’ notice is to be given in writing to the principal. There are certain conditions relating to course withdrawals that must be met by the student. Course withdrawals are not automatically approved. 
Students are still responsible for meeting their financial commitments as per the terms and conditions of the Enrolment Agreement that they have signed prior to enrolment if they decide to apply for course withdrawal. 
The College must report any application for withdrawal to the Australian Department of Home Affairs (DHA) or their successor via PRISMS.


The Principal of the College may at his/her discretion suspend or require withdrawal of a student for failure to abide by College regulations and/or Student Visa conditions. The financial obligation of the student/parent will not be affected by the exercise of such discretion and students will still be required to meet their financial commitment.


To remain on a Student Visa, students must maintain satisfactory course progress in the course they enrolled in. If required, students must attend scheduled timetabled classes.


Student Visas

Acceptance to any course offered to overseas students is conditional on the applicant satisfying the requirements and conditions of the Australian Governments’ Student Visa requirements and receiving a Student Visa from the Australian Government. More information about Student Visa requirements is available on the Australian Government’s Immigration website.


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