Before you arrive | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Before you arrive

Now that you are in the process of accepting your offer at UniSC, we have created this guide with everything you need to know before you accept your offer and before you arrive. We are here to help you make a smooth transition to studying at UniSC and to embrace your new life in Australia.

Once you have received your UniSC offer, you should read and make yourself familiar with our Start Guide.

It contains lots of important information that will assist you in starting your journey to UniSC and Australia, including:

  • understanding and accepting your UniSC offer
  • enrolling in your courses using USC Central 
  • Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
  • visa information
  • living in Australia

Organise your accommodation

Exploring your accommodation options is an important step as you prepare to arrive in Australia. There are a variety of options close to UniSC's campuses whether you want to live in a privately owned accommodation complex, share a house, book a homestay or find a place of your own.

We recommend that you organise either short or long-term accommodation before arriving in Australia. This will give you the best possible chance for a good start to your studies knowing you have somewhere to stay when you get to UniSC. You might consider organising short term temporary accommodation for the first few weeks after you arrive, before you commit to long term accommodation. This will help you get to know the area and choose an accommodation option that suits your needs.

UniSC’s Accommodation and housing page has useful resources to help you find suitable accommodation.

Privately owned accommodation complexes

If you are interested in staying in a privately owned accommodation complex, there are a few providers close to the UniSC Sunshine Coast campus.

Please note: The University of the Sunshine Coast does not provide accommodation or screen information, nor does it act as an agent in the provision of accommodation information. It is your responsibility to determine whether the housing arrangements are suitable. Any person utilising third party information, such as the privately owned accommodation provider information, is advised to read UniSC's Disclaimer.

Plan your arrival

There are frequent international flights directly to Brisbane, which is the closest international airport to UniSC's campus locations. Alternatively, you can fly into Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Cairns and take a domestic flight to Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast or Fraser Coast Airport.

Before you arrive, you will need to plan how you will travel from the airport to your accommodation. A number of airport transfer companies are available, including Con-x-ion Airport Transfer.

If you are arriving at Brisbane airport and are staying in Brisbane, you can catch the Airtrain to the city. For other public transport options to help you plan how you will get to UniSC's campus locations visit Translink and use the journey planner.

As an international student, you will need a visa to come to Australia to study. Once you accepted your offer, you need to arrange your visa through the Australian Department of Home Affairs (DoHA).

Most students who intend to come to Australia for study apply for a Student visa. The Student visa (subclass 500) visa allows you to live, work and study in Australia for the duration of your program. On this visa, you can work a maximum of 48 hours per fortnight when your program is in session and unlimited hours during scheduled breaks.

To apply for a Student visa, you will need a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE). If you indicated to us during the application process that you intend to apply for a Student visa to study in Australia, UniSC will issue you a CoE once you have accepted your UniSC offer for a full time, on campus, CRICOS^ registered program.

For further information regarding visa options and the visa application process, please refer to DoHA.

What is a Confirmation of Enrolment?

A CoE is an official document that provides important information about your enrolment status to Australian government departments such as DoHA. It reflects your actual enrolment in a UniSC program, indicating the program duration through the program start and end dates, fees paid and total fees to be paid for the program based on the current published tuition fees. If UniSC has organised Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for you, it also details the information regarding your OSHC policy.

While you are studying on a Student visa in Australia, you must have a valid CoE at all times. If your CoE is cancelled, this may affect the validity of your Student visa.

How to apply for a student visa

DoHA provides information about the Student visa (Subclass 500) and the application process, including eligibility criteria, visa conditions, application processing times and how to apply.

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria of being a genuine student. This means they must have a genuine intention to stay in Australia temporarily and be able to demonstrate this. Information regarding the genuine student (GS) requirement can be accessed on the DoHA website.

DoHA recommends that you apply for your Student visa at least eight weeks prior to your program start date. Find out more about visa processing times.

Study Australia provide useful advice on how to apply for your Student visa, including explanations of the eligibility criteria and what documents you may be asked to provide during the visa application process.

Other visa types

If study is not your primary reason for travelling to Australia, another visa type may be more suitable. To explore what other visa types may allow you to study in Australia, you can check the DoHA’s visa finder. If you already hold an Australian visa, and are not sure of your study entitlements, the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) allows visa holders to check their visa details and entitlements.

Working Holiday visa

Working Holiday or Work and Holiday visas are only available to citizens of certain countries.

In most cases, applicants must be under 30 years of age (35 for citizens of some countries) and will be allowed to study full-time or part-time for up to four months (one semester or two sessions). If you enter Australia on this type of visa and intend to study for longer than four months, you will need to apply for a Student visa.

For more information visit the website of the DoHA website.

Living in Australia will be a new experience and careful research and planning before the move will make adjusting to life here easier.

The Study Australia website provides international students with a range of resources to assist them in learning about Australia, its people and education system, including Life in Australia.

UniSC’s campuses are located in the Australian state of Queensland - find out more about our campuses and campus locations.

The Study Queensland website is a helpful resource, helping you become familiar with life in Queensland before you arrive.

Tourism Queensland showcases some of our state’s many beautiful features and fun attractions and will help you plan how to make the most of your time outside of study.

Sunshine Coast

UniSC’s main campus, UniSC Sunshine Coast, as well as UniSC Noosa and UniSC Thompson Institute are located in the Sunshine Coast region.

For more information about studying, living and working on the Sunshine Coast, you can find useful information on the Study Sunshine Coast website.

The Sunshine Coast also has an array of attractions, tours and experiences for you to enjoy while you are studying. Find out more on the Visit Sunshine Coast website.

Moreton Bay

UniSC Moreton Bay is Australia’s newest university campus in Petrie. The campus is approximately 30km north of Brisbane.

For more information about life in the Moreton Bay region, refer to the Moreton Bay Regional Council website or the Visit Moreton Bay region website.

Other Queensland locations

Information about living and studying at one of UniSC's other study locations can be accessed through the local government web pages for CabooltureFraser Coast or Gympie.

Life at UniSC

UniSC is rated as one of Australia's best universities for overall student experience. Immerse yourself in campus life and you'll find new and interesting people and opportunities to learn, connect and make new friends. Take a virtual tour of our campuses to explore where you will be studying.

Living costs

Take a moment to again review other study and living costs you should expect while living in Australia as an international student, so that you can plan your budget.

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is health insurance to assist international students on a Student visa meet the costs of:

  • medical and hospital care
  • some prescription medicines
  • emergency ambulance services
  • limited pharmaceuticals

Australia's Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) requires that Student visa holders maintain OSHC for the duration of their Student visa, unless exempted under reciprocal government arrangements (for example students from Sweden, Norway or Belgium may be exempt). Health insurance cover is also required for all family members residing in Australia on a dependent Student visa.

Evidence of your OSHC must be provided at the time you submit your Student visa application. Health insurance arrangements that are not approved by the Department of Health do not satisfy the criteria for the grant of a Student visa. You can find out more information about OSHC on the Department of Health’s website.

Arranging your health insurance cover
Option 1: Purchasing OSHC through UniSC

UniSC can accept payment and arrange visa-length Comprehensive OSHC on your behalf with our preferred provider Medibank.

You will be able to advise us of the type of cover you require in your application to UniSC.

If you are:

  • intending to apply for a Student visa for yourself only, you will require a single cover policy 
  • intending to apply for a Student visa for yourself and dependants, you may require a couple/single parent or family cover policy

If you indicate in your application that you would like UniSC to arrange OSHC on your behalf, then the fee for the OSHC policy will be included in your Letter of Offer. The cost of your cover will depend on the type of cover and the duration of your studies.

Upon payment of the program deposit and OSHC premium when accepting your offer, your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) will be issued. This will show DOHA that OSHC is in place for you and your family members (if applicable), which will satisfy the Student visa application requirements.


If you ask UniSC to purchase OSHC on your behalf then you consent to us disclosing your relevant personal details (e.g. your family name, given name, gender, date of birth, start date and university code) to Medibank so your cover can be scheduled.

Option 2: Arranging your own OSHC independently

You can purchase your own OSHC from a government-approved Australian health insurance provider. If you already have valid OSHC or if you plan to arrange your own OSHC, please indicate this in your UniSC application form. You will be required to show your cover to DoHA at the time of submitting your Student visa application.

UniSC has no relationship with any other OSHC providers and cannot accept payment from students for any provider other than Medibank. However, you can contact another OSHC provider and insure with them directly:

Why choose a Comprehensive OSHC policy with Medibank?

Medibank provides OSHC to international students.

UniSC students have additional benefits with the Comprehensive OSHC policy. It meets the Student visa requirements and provides a range of added value services above government minimum requirements.

You can review the benefits of Medibank's Comprehensive OSHC policy here.

Medibank have a number of shopfronts located around the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane to assist you with any OSHC enquiries or claims.

Insurance for students not on a Student Visa

If you are arriving in Australia on a non-Student visa (such as the 417 Working Holiday Visa), you are not eligible for OSHC. Please refer to a travel agent or search online to find suitable health and/or travel insurance at your own expense.

Once you have accepted your UniSC offer, there are various resources available to help you prepare for study. You can review the Getting Started at UniSC page, which provides you with a checklist of items you should complete before you start at UniSC.

It also includes links to help you explore life at UniSC, study resources, student support and activities and clubs.

UniSC offers an extensive Orientation to UniSC program at the start of each semester which allows you to find out more about UniSC and your program, as well as meet new people and get to know your new home. It's a great way to get to know the local area, the campus, student support services, and academic requirements.

International students are particularly encouraged to attend the social events during Orientation. These events are a great way to make new friends, explore the local area and begin your Australian experience. You will need to make sure you arrive in Australia early enough to attend Orientation.

If you are unable to attend Orientation in person, refer to the Orientation to UniSC page for online sessions and information regarding alternative workshops you can attend at the beginning of the semester.

Additionally, all international students have to complete the International Orientation task via USC Central once it becomes available on their student account. This task provides you with information about studying at UniSC and in Australia as an international student.

* For PDF documents you must have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded from the Adobe Download page.
^ CRICOS is the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students
The University of the Sunshine Coast is a registered provider of education to international students as defined in the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (CRICOS Provider Number: 01595D).