Welcome to Brisbane! Below is information that you will need during the semester including details about your housing, what to do when you are sick, local transportation and more.

IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you keep TEAN’s contact details on you at all times in case of emergency. If your reason for calling/texting is not an emergency, please try to call/text during regular office hours (9:00 AM to-5:00 PM Monday-Friday).

Common Concerns: First few weeks

Common Concerns: First few weeks

As you start to get into the swing of things, we want to highlight some common concerns that may come up. We often see the same concerns raised each semester, so you’re not alone!

Feeling “disconnected” from the campus: This may happen for those living off-campus. As you go back and forth to campus for O Week you may feel isolated from the campus community. Don’t worry! As classes start, you’ll find that you aren’t actually on campus that much and end up really loving where you live. You definitely won’t regret living in off-campus!

Feelings of homesickness/anxiety: This is probably one of the most common concerns we hear during the first few weeks of the program. It is very normal to go through varying levels of homesickness. Some people may feel minor “pangs” of missing home and what is familiar, while others may feel fairly intense feelings of sadness and anxiety. The first week in your new home can be very overwhelming – you’re in a new city with new people, a new culture, new school, new everything – and it’s not uncommon to wonder if you have made the “right choice” to study abroad. These feelings will pass. When classes start and you get into a routine, you’ll start to feel more comfortable and confident in your new setting and the feelings of homesickness should start to lessen. That said, if they don’t please reach out and let us know. The universities have excellent counselors on campus who you can meet with and talk to. Also, please remember to take things day by day – you’re dealing with a lot of adjustments and often some exercise, eating well, getting lots of rest and talking to other students can help. You’ll probably find that lots of other people are feeling the same way but aren’t sharing how they feel. TEAN staff are also on campus often, at our coffee catch ups and other events, so do let us know if you want to talk. We can call and message to provide support also.  

Concerns with roommates: It’s not uncommon to wonder if you have been matched up with the right people in your housing. You may have clicked with someone at the TEAN Orientation who you’re not rooming with or may even be in your own room feeling isolated. Some of you may never have lived with roommates (or flatmates as we call them) before, so it’s a learning curve! Be open and make sure to communicate; share how you feel about things in an honest way. Set some apartment rules that you all agree on and discuss how to best bring up issues. You’re here just for approximately 100 sleeps – try not to let minor issues become major worries during the semester.

Some things are more expensive: Yes, the cost of eating/drinking/going out is often very expensive compared to what you might be used to. The best thing to do is plan a budget for the semester and stick to it. Buy food and cook at home, search online to get good travel deals for the trips you want to take, remember to always have a supply of food/snacks in your apartment for when you’re hungry during those late night study cram sessions as shops close early, AND take advantage of the FREE TEAN events we offer! The coffee breaks are a must – they include a drink, a free bite to eat and a chance to chat with us!

Getting used to the teaching style: First of all, don’t freak out when you get your first assessment grades back – they will seem very low to what you are used to. In Australia you earn points (starting at 0 and going up to 100), while in the U.S. you start at 100 and points are deducted. It is very hard to get very high grades (High Distinctions and Distinctions) in Australia. Assessment grades are often worth a larger percentage of your overall grade than what you are used to as well. There are no “weekly tests” in Australia. You may find that your mid-term exam carries a 50% weight. Because there usually aren’t regular tests or assignments, you may feel like you don’t have much to do then find yourself cramming for a test or rushing to prepare a paper. Set a study and school work schedule for the semester and stick to it, even when it may feel like you have a light workload. If you are struggling at any point, please go and see the academic staff. They are all there to help with an open door policy, but you need to take initiative and go to them.  

Internet annoyances: The internet speed and data limits in Australia are not what you are used to in the U.S. We have fairly slow internet here and data limits so you aren’t able to stream and download shows all the time. For faster internet, access one of the WiFi hotspots on campus. The internet speed certainly takes a little time to get used to but hang in there – it’s just a more chilled out internet, all will be okay!

Accessing Money


Banks in Australia are generally open Monday to Friday (except public holidays) from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM. These hours may be extended on certain days depending on local conditions.  To open a bank account you will need to prove your identity by providing documents as part of the 100-point check process: passport plus two other forms of identification (credit card, driver’s license, etc.)

UQ On-Campus
  • ANZ (ATM and Branch)
  • Bank Australia (ATM and Branch)
  • Commonwealth (ATM and Branch)
  • NAB (ATM Only)
  • Suncorp (ATM Only)
  • Westpac (ATM Only)
Griffith On-Campus
  • A range of ATMs and credit unions on campus, including ANZ and Redi-ATMS
QUT On-Campus
  • Commonwealth Bank, Level 3, P Block (Food Court)
  • Rediteller – Level 3, P Block (Food Court)
  • Westpac – Level 3, P Block (Food Court)
  • Suncorp, V Block Podium (Vending machines), between Library and M Block

Getting a Job

Getting a Job

  • When you are inquiring or applying for a job, it is always best to inquire in person.
  • Ask to speak with the manager. This shows you are confident and have initiative, and they will take your inquiry more seriously.
  • When inquiring about positions available in cafes, restaurants or bars, it is best to inquire during slow service periods. Most have a lunch and dinner service, which can get very busy and stressful for staff, so they are less likely to take the time to help you, or will assume you don’t have any experience in the industry.

Job Training

If you interested in taking the Responsible Service of Alcohol class (RSA) or completing a barista course, the following companies offer short, accredited courses teaching skills you can use long after your stay in Australia and greatly increasing your chances of securing a job. Many places that serve alcohol will require you to have your RSA.

Online Course options

Getting a Tax File Number

If you get a job in Australia, employers will require you to have a Tax File Number (TFN). This is like your Social Security number and allows your employer to tax you at the appropriate rate. If you do not have one, you will be taxed at the highest rate. To avoid this, apply online for your Tax File Number as soon as you get a job.

To apply online you must have a valid passport or relevant travel documents. You don’t have to provide proof of identity documents – the Tax Office will compare your personal and travel document details with Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) records. Within 28 days, the Tax Office will send your TFN to the Australian address you provide on your application.

If you need to discuss anything with the Tax Office or have questions that are not answered on their website, please call them on 13 28 61.

Apply online here 


Doctor On-Campus

When you are sick you can make an appointment with the on-campus doctor.

QUT medical services (Doctor, Nurse, Vaccinations etc.)
Monday to Friday 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM Level 4, X Block (sliding glass doors next to Gardens Theatre)
For appointments call: (07) 3138 2321

UQ medical services 
Monday to Friday 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM. Level 1, Gordon Greenwood Building (Bldg. 32)
For appointments call: (07) 3365 6210

Griffith medical services
Monday to Friday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Level 1 Sewell (N12)
For appointments call: (07) 3735 7299

Local Pharmacy Options

If you do not need to see a doctor, the local pharmacies (chemists) are:

Campus Pharmacy University of QLD
Union Building, 7 Campbell Rd
(07) 3870 1509

UNI Pharmacy
Gardens Point Rd
(07) 3150 8611

Chemmart Pharmacy
N66/170 Kessels Rd
(07) 3735 4777

Brisbane public hospitals

Royal Brisbane Hospital
Butterfield Street, Herston
(07) 3636 8111

Princess Alexandra Hospital
Ipswich Road, Woolloongabba
(07) 3240 2111

Logan Hospital
Armstrong Street, Meadowbrook
(07) 3299 8890

Wesley Emergency is located close to campus and offers emergency services, ​however payment is required at the time of visit.

If you have to buy medicine or see a doctor out of hours, hold onto your receipts. The health insurance company will be on campus during the semester each week to offer claims of up to $100 on the spot. Visit the student administration on campus for information on when they will visit.

For medical emergencies off-campus dial 000 for an ambulance or visit the emergency room of a nearby public hospital (which provides free emergency care to Australian residents). Expect long delays.

Health Insurance

Health Insurance

Your Overseas Health Cover (OSHC) is with Allianz for UQ or Medibank for QUT. Please hold onto all medical-related receipts to claim for your medical expenses. Helps towards treatments and health services received outside and inside of hospital. When you’re treated in hospital by a doctor, surgeon or anaesthetist the set fee for their service is called the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee. If the person treating you charges only the MBS fee you’ll be covered for the full cost of the service. If they choose to charge above the MBS fee you will have to pay an out-of-pocket cost to cover the difference.

OSHC can pay for:

  • Medical costs
  • Hospital care costs
  • Some prescription drugs
  • Emergency ambulance service

You will have:

  • Access to a 24-hour emergency helpline
  • On-campus support
  • Efficient direct billing and claiming processes
Insurance Card

Your insurance card is needed for hospital and doctor visits. To obtain your OSHC card you can go online to the website of your insurance provider (Allianz for UQ and Medibank Private for QUT) and order. You can create an account on these sites (OSHC Allianz or OSHC Medibank) and then request your card. You can then also log into the insurance via an app on your phone and download your insurance card that way. The phone app provides useful information such as location of doctors and how to make a claim.

University of Queensland

More info on your health care and to order your card see here for UQ.

To log onto the OSHC website you will need your policy number (this is your UQ student ID number), your family name and your date of birth. Please ensure you enter your date of birth in the following format: DD/MM/YYYY.

Once logged in you will need to ensure that they have your correct Australian address so that Allianz Global Assistance can mail you your card. Your membership card and Policy document will be posted to your mailing address within 5 working days.

OSHC is a mandatory requirement of your student visa and you must have OSHC for the entire time you are studying in Australia.

Services which are not covered under your policy:

  • Services provided by physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors, naturopaths or any other ancillary services.
  • Medications, drugs or other treatments not prescribed by a doctor or not included in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule.
  • Any costs associated with dental treatment, unless the services provided meet the requirements of the Medicare Benefits Schedule.
  • Optical charges.
  • The co-payment and/or gap payment payable by you under Australian law or as a result of the provider charging in excess of the Medicare Benefits Schedule Fee.
  • Service fees charged by a doctor or hospital which are not included in the benefits covered under your policy

Your entire policy info can be found here.

Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

QUT students’ cards should be arranged by QUT directly and they can provide details to you when you have arrived. Just check with student services.

A representative from Medibank Private is normally on campus to assist students during the following times and locations:

Monday: 9am-12pm (Gardens Point – HiQ Service Point, V Block, Level 3)
Tuesday: 9.30am-4pm (Kelvin Grove – HiQ Service Point, R Block, Level 2)
Wednesday: closed
Thursday: closed
Friday: 9am-12pm (Gardens Point – HiQ Service Point, V Block, Level 3)
Friday: 1pm-4pm (Kelvin Grove – HiQ Service Point, R Block, Level 2)

When you see a doctor (GP or a specialist) in Australia there is a set fee for the consultation called the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee. With Medibank Essentials OSHC you are covered for 100% of the MBS fee for GPs and 85% of the MBS fee for specialists. If the doctor charges above the these benefit amounts, you will need to pay something to cover the difference (an out-of-pocket cost).

For example: The MBS fee for item 23 (a GP visit) is $37.05. You visit a doctor that charges $50. You have Essentials OSHC that pays 100% of the MBS fee for GPs. This means you would get back $37.05. Your out-of-pocket cost would be $12.95.

Things you should know about refunds on pharmacy medicine you had to purchase:

  • You can receive up to $50 per item
  • You can receive up to $50 per item and $300 per year

You will need to pay a set fee towards the cost of each prescription item first, before they pay any benefits. If the charge is higher than the benefit they pay, the difference will be an out-of-pocket cost.

Benefits can only be received for pharmacy items prescribed by a doctor (GP or specialist) to treat an illness, injury or condition. They don’t pay benefits for any over the counter medicines, vitamins or herbal medicines.

You call the health provider any time if you need clarification on refunds. Just call 1800 887 283 at any time.

Your entire policy can be found here.

Brisbane Transport

Local Transport

  • To ride the Bus/Train/ or Ferry you will need a “go card”,which is TransLink’s electronic ticket that lets you travel seamlessly on all TransLink bus, train and ferry services.
  • It’s cheaper than paper tickets, easy to top up, and you can register your card to protect your travel balance if it is lost or stolen.
  • Traveling with go card is easy – simply touch on at the beginning of your journey and touch off at the end. Your fare is automatically deducted from your card balance.
  • You can buy a go card at most 7-Eleven stores as well as on the university campus – usually in the book shops or student guild offices.
  • You need to register your go card online when you receive your Student ID card to ensure you pay student rates for your go card.
  • You can put any amount on your card which you top up when it runs low.

For transport information, call 131230 or visit the TRANSLink website for trip planners, timetables, bus stop search, ticket types, fares, service changes, etc.

Bus routes are from campus to the city/town:
University Of Queensland (UQ Lakes Bus Station) to Brisbane City Center
Route: 66 Brisbane City
Travel time: 15 minutes
Departs: every 15 minutes

University Of Queensland (Chancellors Place Bus Station) to Brisbane City Center
Route: 412 City Bus
Travel time: 20 minutes
Departs: every 15 minutes

Airport Transport

Airport transport from UQ Campus
Take bus 412 to Roma and Roma Street Train to Airport

Airport transport from QUT Campus
Buses 40 and 50 TO city, walk to central station and catch Brisbane Airport line

Airport transport from Griffith Nathan Campus
Bus from Troughton Rd at QEII Hospital to South bank or Central station and catch Brisbane Airport line

Airport transport from Urbanest
Walk 120 meters to Southbank train station and take the airport line

Airport transport from St Lucia housing
Take bus 412 to Roma and Roma Street Train to Airport

Housing Advice

General Housing Advice

Your Resident Director or Resident Advisor will meet with each household upon arrival or after settling into your apartment to discuss your responsibilities while living in TEAN accommodation, which has been secured by TEAN for the entire length of your study.

TEAN has carefully developed a good relationship with the real estate agent and landlord for these apartments. We want you to have a good time this semester, but ​please remember to respect this apartment and the neighbors at all times​.

You are each personally responsible for the condition of your own room. Any damages occurring in your room will be billed to you accordingly. As a household, you are all responsible for the ‘common areas’ (eg. living room, kitchen, shared bathrooms, etc.), and for keeping the house/flat clean and tidy for the duration. Any damages occurring to the common areas will be billed/shared by the household members.

To ensure you keep your apartment in good condition, the Resident Advisor may be making monthly inspections, or more frequently if deemed necessary. You will be notified at least 24 hours in advance of these inspections.

Please ensure that the apartment is securely locked before you leave each day. ​It is important that you ensure the sliding balcony doors to the bedrooms and the front balcony are securely locked prior to leaving.

Clubs and Organizations

University Groups and Clubs

Dive into the campus culture and connect with other students by joining a club or student organization. Each of our partner universities in Australia offers a ton of different options and opportunities to suit a range of interests. Below, you’ll find examples of some of the most popular associations at different institutions plus links to find even more clubs for each school.

University of Queensland

UQ has a range of clubs and societies for academic study areas, professional interests, sports and culture. See the full list here.

UQ Innovation and Entrepreneurship Society (UQIES)
This society welcomes aspiring entrepreneurs from a range of faculties who all want to create change in their respective fields.

Geography and Environmental Management Society (UQ GEMS)
This society brings together undergraduate and postgraduate students studying Geography, Environmental Management and other environmentally-orientated degrees.

Climate Action Now! ( UQ CAN!)
This climate action collective is part of the global movement calling on institutions to divest from fossil fuels and reinvest in solutions to mitigate climate change.

Exchange Student Society
Want to meet local students? The Queensland University Exchange Student Society aims to showcase the best that UQ and Queensland have to offer, hosting events for exchange and international students!

Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

QUT has a range of clubs and societies for different academic study areas, professional interests, sports and culture. Find a full list of clubs here.

Women in Business 
With more than 500 members, this society provides a platform for aspiring women to develop both personal and professional following their pillars of Industry, Community, Workshops and Competitions.

Nature Society
Get out and enjoy Brisbane’s different natural environments through a variety of outdoor activities.

My Time QUT
This club focuses on reducing stress through meditation and yoga.

QUT Exchange Buddies (QUTEB)
Want to meet local students? QUT Exchange Buddies (QUTEB) is a group for exchange, international and local students with a peer-to-peer support system where students can pair up with a Senior buddy before starting their semester at QUT.

Griffith University – Brisbane

Griffith University (Nathan and South Bank locations) has a range of clubs and societies for different academic study areas, sports and professional interests. See the full list here.

Griffith Mates
Griffith Mates’ team of student leaders from 32 countries welcomes thousands of international students each year, helping them adjust to university life in Australia through community and on-campus events and activities.

Go Global
This community encourages students to network and share their Go Global Experiences with each other while also inspiring prospective exchange and study abroad students.

International Student Buddy Program
Want to meet local students? The International Student Buddy Program runs from Week 1 to Week 4 of each trimester. New international students are matched with experienced local students (Senior Buddies) for social support meetings once a week to help ease the transition to uni life and life in Australia. It’s also a great way to make friends! See more here.

Academic Resources

Campus Academic Resources

Your host university offers academic resources on campus to help support your learning needs and thrive in your courses. If you need help with a certain subject, guidance on exam writing or additional academic support, just take a look below.

Queensland University of Technology

From getting feedback on assessment drafts to practicing presentation skills and learning how to better manage time management, there are a range of services, resources and learning support available for both academic and personal needs at QUT. Learn more about what’s available here.

University of Queensland

General study skills support, exam tips, writing help and other workshops are just some of the academic resources available to all students. Learn more about what’s available here.

Griffith University

Griffith University offers a range of services, resources and assistance to help support your academic needs. Students can book a consultation with a library specialist, access the Griffith Health Writing and Referencing Guide, get online tutoring and assignment feedback via Smarthinking, and more. Learn more about what’s available here.

Sports and Fitness

Sports and Fitness

Australians love to stay active.Keep reading to see what on-campus gyms, fitness classes and sports facilities your host university offers.

QUeensland University of Technology

QUT offers student memberships to the YMCA Fitness and Aquatic Center. The facilities include functional and high intensity training, mindfulness and meditation programs, group fitness classes, community events and much more. You can read more and see membership pricing here.

University of Queensland

UQ Sport is home to some of the state’s finest sporting facilities. The membership allows students to have access to the athletics center, aquatic center, fitness center, group fitness classes and more. You can read more and see membership pricing here.

Griffith University – Nathan Campus

Griffith University’s Nathan campus features a comprehensive Fitness Centre and a state-of-the-art MultiSport Complex that is open to university students, staff and the local community. Nathan students also can easily access the Mt Gravatt campus Aquatic Centre and Tennis Centre, just 5 minutes away by the university bus. Special prices are available for Griffith University students to use each of these facilities and can be found below.
Nathan Fitness Centre
MultiSport Complex
Aquatic Centre

Griffith University – South Bank Campus

Griffith University’s South Bank campus gives students access to the South Bank Fitness Centre with memberships for students from just $7.95 per week. The center offers a range of cardio and weight equipment, group fitness classes, a dedicated training area with battle ropes/tires/etc. and more. More information on membership can be found here.

Dining and Errands

Dining and Errands

From on-campus canteens and convenience stores to nearby restaurants, cafes and grocery stores, there are plenty of places to find food and stock up on necessities. Scroll down to see where to go shopping, eat out and run errands around your university.

Queensland University of Technology

There is a range of university convenience stores located across campus at both the Kelvin Grove and Gardens Point Campus. Students also have access to multiple grocery stores within walking distance from the Urbanest TEAN off-campus accommodation. Some recommended grocery stores are Woolworths Southpoint and One Stop Express Mart. There are also popular restaurants, coffee shops and on-the-go options on campus, such as Boost Juice, Earth & Steam Coffee Co and Toshi Ramen.

University of Queensland

Students have access to multiple grocery stores within walking distance from the Urbanest TEAN off-campus accommodation. Some recommended grocery stores are Woolworths Southpoint and One Stop Express Mart. There is a large range of popular restaurants, coffee shops and on-the-go options on campus, such as Burger Urge, Miss India and Kenko Sushi. University of Queensland is also just a short bus ride away from extensive dining and shopping options in Brisbane’s city centre and at South Bank.

Griffith University – Nathan Campus

The Store is located at the center of campus and is good for basic study snacks and drinks. The grocery store Aldi Salisbury is about a 12-minute walk from campus. There is a large range of popular restaurants, coffee shops and on-the-go options on or near campus for students to choose from, including Café Rossa, Dan Noodle House and Indian Brothers. There are also a number of useful retail stores on or near campus such as a pharmacy, post office, STA travel and book shop. You can read more here.

Griffith University – South Bank Campus

Griffith’s South Bank campus is located on the southern banks of the Brisbane River, right by a number of popular restaurants, coffee shops and on-the-go options, including Nandos, The Spaghetti House, The Ship Inn and more! There are multiple convenience stores in the area that students can access, as well as a fully-stocked Metro grocery store within a 10-minute walk from campus. You can read more about the South Bank campus offerings here and about all dining options in the South Bank area here.

Lost Passport

Lost Passport

  • If your passport is lost or stolen you must report it to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate and/or local police as soon as possible.
  • You can report the loss online.
  • Get a copy of the police report or report number.
  • Contact your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to replace your passport.
  • Remember, your passport is your most important legal document while you are overseas. Guard your passport carefully.
  • Read more here on Travel.State.Gov

Important Contact Info


To contact the police, fire depart or for an ambulance in case of emergencies: 000

TEAN Staff

Kat Taylor
Resident Assistant – Brisbane
0451 200 176 or katharine.taylor@teanabroad.org

Helen Armitage
Resident Director – QLD
0410 799 658 or helen.armitage@teanabroad.org

Other Resources

Local Resources

  • The Courier Mail (Brisbane paper)
  • The Australian (national paper)
  • For entertainment information check out Scenestr and subscribe to their e-newsletter.
Travel Resources

Relevant Blog Posts