Before leaving home

Getting ready to leave home

Before you leave your home, there are some important things you can do to prepare, to ensure your arrival in Australia is as smooth as possible:

  • Check the validity of your passport. Make sure it is valid for the entire duration of your studies in Australia.
  • Organise your student visa, including the mandatory medical examination by an appointed doctor.
  • Organise all travel arrangements. Ensure that you will arrive at least one week before the start of classes so you can attend the Orientation week.
  • If you are applying for Advanced Standing through CDU, ensure that the documentation has been sent through along with your application. We will require your previous academic transcripts, unit outlines, and a completed HE113 form.
  • Have a thorough medical, optical and dental check-up.
  • Organise your accommodation.
  • Upon accepting your offer letter, you will receive an ‘Arrival Form’ from the Admissions team. Please complete this form, advising the university of your arrival details and accommodation arrangements. You can then return this form via email to
  • Check the Australian Customs and Quarantine regulations and pack separately the items that you need to declare.
  • Organize to bring at least AUD$500 in cash and AUD$1500 in travellers cheques, which are a multi-currency method of payment that is secure and easy to use when travelling to a foreign country. You can then arrange an Australian bank account during your Orientation, while having sufficient spending money.
  • Make photocopies of your passport, visa and any other important documents.
  • Organise insurance for your personal belongings, and ensure that your health insurance is finalised if you are not arranging this through CDU.

Read about your destination

There's an abundance of information about Darwin, Sydney and Melbourne available online, and it is important to do some research before you arrive.

Life in Australia may be very different to your home country, and may take some adjustment. Australia is famous for its multiculturalism, and is very accepting of people from other cultures. Each city is very different, and we encourage you to do some travelling while you're here.

What to bring

Aside from personal belongings and clothing, you must ensure you bring the following documents (or certified copies where relevant) with you:

  • Valid passport
  • Flight tickets
  • Visa grant notice
  • Letter of offer from Charles Darwin University
  • Letter of offer from ELICOS institute (if applicable)
  • Letter of scholarship award (if applicable)
  • Copy of Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)
  • Certified copies of your academic qualifications
  • Contact telephone numbers for CDU and your home country's embassy in Australia
  • Written rental reference or character reference, to assist in securing accommodation or work
  • Personal medical records and any medication prescriptions
  • Doctors letters for ongoing medical conditions

Free airport collection

CDU organises free airport pickup from Darwin International Airport during peak arrival periods (February and July). You will have received an Airport Arrival Form from our admissions team – please ensure this is completed and returned to least 72 hours before your arrival. If this form is returned later than 72 hours prior to your arrival, collection will be subject to staff availability and is not guaranteed. Once your collection is organised, an email will be sent to you as confirmation.

If you are staying at Charles Darwin University's on-campus accommodation, International House Darwin, you will be dropped at the main office. During office hours an IHD staff member will always be available to welcome you and show you to your room. If you are arriving outside office hours, there is a telephone to call the resident leader on duty, located outside the reception office near the main carpark. The resident leader will meet you and show you to your accommodation.

Customs and quarantine

Upon arrival into an Australian airport, you will be given a customs and quarantine form to complete. Answer each question carefully, as fines for violations are very high.

Australia has strict regulations to protect citizens from disease and pests. Declare or dispose of all quarantine items including all food or anything made from wood, plant or animal material that you have with you. Don't bring any parcels that have been packed by others. If you have items that must be declared to customs, it is wise to pack them together in easily accessible luggage. For new items, have your receipts ready.

For more information, refer to Australian Custom Services.

When you disembark, proceed to the entry control area where you will present your passport, immigration card and customs statement. Once your papers have been returned to you, proceed to the baggage hall to collect your luggage.

Setting up your accommodation

Whether you are living on or off campus, we recommended having some important items with you to make your accommodation feel like home. These could include:

  • cookbooks
  • cooking implements (although these are cheap to purchase in Australia)
  • books
  • bed sheets
  • music
  • sound system (please note: 240w voltage).

For class

You will be expected to purchase text books and any other course materials before commencing classes. These items will be communicated to you via email from your lecturer, once you have enrolled. Please ensure you bring along sufficient funds to purchase these items. Some other items you may find helpful in class could include:

  • dictionary
  • paper and stationary (i.e. pens, pencils)
  • personal computer or tablet (please note: CDU and International House Darwin have free wi-fi available to students all over campus).

Personal items

You may wish to bring some personal items from home. Please remember that you will be responsible for keeping these items safe when you arrive in Australia.

These items could include:

  • special medications and copies of prescriptions
  • addresses and contact numbers of family and friends


Please ensure you arrive in Australia with some amount of AUD currency to get you through your first few days here.

If you need to convert any currency into Australian dollars once you have arrived, there are several currency conversion centres around each city.