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Adjusting to University Life

We want your stay in Brisbane to be both rewarding and enjoyable.  Below is a range of information to help you adjust to university life and living in Brisbane.

Getting Connected

Student Council

James Cook University Brisbane Student Council is a team of enthusiastic and self-motivated students who advocate on behalf of the student body in relation to the university's policies, rules, services and facilities.  The JCU Brisbane Student Council is involved with new students during Orientation and helps to organise events around campus.

Student council members are available for you to talk to when they are on campus if you have any questions or concerns.

If you are interested in joining the JCU Brisbane Student Council you can contact them by visiting the Student Lounge on Level 1 or email

Student Mentor Program

The Student Mentor Program matches you with a buddy soon after you begin your studies so you have the right support to adjust to University life.


Getting Around

Brisbane offers a modern and comprehensive public transport network, including rail, bus and ferry links which can all be accessed through the purchase of a single ticket. Student concessions apply on these services. Two taxi companies operate in the Brisbane metropolitan area.

Public Transport

Public transport in Brisbane is coordinated by TransLink which provides a single public transport network covering South East Queensland. One TransLink ticket can take you wherever you want to go on buses, trains, ferries and citycylce within the system. TransLink works together with the Queensland Government, Brisbane City Council, Queensland Rail and private operators to improve the integration of services - making it easier for you to get to where you want to go. Student concession tickets are available to uni students through go card:
* Save at least 30% compared to the cost of a single paper ticket.
* Travel at half the cost of an adult fare.
* Save an additional 20% when travelling off peak.
* Make 9 paid go card journeys in a week and travel free for the rest of the week.

So don't let the savings slip through your fingers, grab a go card online.

You will be given more information regarding this during orientation week.

Uber - Ride Share Application

Uber is an easy and cost effective way to travel around Brisbane 24/7.  To use the service you can download the application on your mobile device.  For more information, please visit the Uber website.


Taxis can be expensive but when travelling in a group they can be cheaper, and more convenient than the bus. Special taxis called 'maxi-taxis' take as many as eight to twelve passengers. It is the law in Australia for all passengers in taxis to wear seat belts. You cannot bargain with a taxi driver for a fare. The taxi fare will be indicated on the metre located on the front panel of the taxi. Two taxi companies operate in Brisbane: Black & White Cabs (Ph 131 008) and Yellow Cabs (Ph 131924). Various limousine companies are also available, for contact details please consult the Yellow Pages phone directory.

Driving in Australia

You must have a valid, legal driver's licence to drive in Queensland and you should be aware of, and follow the Australian road rules. You may drive in the state of Queensland with your current overseas licence for the duration of your stay in Australia (as a student on a student visa). This is on the condition that the licence is in English, or that you carry a certified translation of it with you. If your home country licence expires while you are in Australia, you will need to obtain a Queensland driver's licence from Queensland Transport. Further information about obtaining certified translations and driving licences will be provided upon arrival. For detailed information about traffic road rules, obtain a booklet from Queensland Transport.

Cycling in Australia

Cycling is a popular mode of transport for students in Brisbane. You can buy second-hand bicycles from bicycle shops for approximately $100. These bicycles are usually reconditioned and have a short guarantee. The price of new bikes varies greatly depending on the brand and type. There are 520 kilometres of dedicated bikeways in Brisbane that are ideal for commuting or exploring the city. In Queensland, it is the law for all cyclists to wear an approved bicycle helmet and you can be fined for not wearing a helmet. Cyclists must obey the road rules, just like cars and other motor vehicles. They must ride on the left-hand side of the road at all times, obey traffic lights and road signs, and give way to pedestrians at pedestrian crossings. Cyclists may also be convicted for drink driving offences. Care must be taken at all times particularly when riding on major roads or during peak traffic periods.

For more information on how to travel safely when riding a bicycle please click here.


Getting Support

The Student Resource Centre is your first place to go if you need support for both academic and personal assistance.


Getting Money

We are in very close proximity to most major banks.  During Orientation opening bank accounts is discussed. If you need any further information or assistance contact the team from Learning Resource Centre

Keeping In Touch

We like to encourage our students to keep in touch with family and friends, especially our international students. The best way to contact your family and friends is by email and the internet or international telephone calls.

International Telephone Calls

After you arrive in Australia; you will be able to phone friends and family in your home country using public phones, landline phones, or mobile phones. The rates for international calls vary, depending on the telephone provider, length of call, time of day, and the country you are calling. In Australia, a popular way to call overseas is with an International Calling Card. These cards offer very reasonable rates and you can either use a public phone or landline telephone to make the call. International Calling Cards are readily available for purchase in newsagents, petrol stations and supermarkets.
Public Internet Access
Internet Cafes for public use are located throughout Brisbane. Brisbane City Libraries have free internet access for the general public. Bookings may be required in busy periods. Printers are also available to print information from the internet. Printing costs are usually around 10 - 20c a copy.

JCU Internet Access

All JCU students and staff are provided with computer internet access on campus.

Adjusting to a New Culture

Adjusting to life in a foreign country can be both an exciting and daunting experience. Culture Shock is a term used to describe the anxiety a person may feel when they move to a new environment where everything is different, e.g. food, climate, language, customs. JCU Brisbane's Learning & Support Services should be your first point of contact if you are feeling homesick or if you need someone to talk to. They will be able to provide friendly support and advice about relevant services both on-campus and within the community.


Getting To Know Brisbane

Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and the third largest and fastest growing city in Australia, with a population of 1.7 million. The subtropical climate, lifestyle, picturesque river precinct, modern shopping, cultural and entertainment options make it one of Australia's most liveable cities. Brisbane's economy is diverse, with many emerging and established export industries including aviation and aerospace, creative industries, food and beverage production, and international education. Brisbane is regularly cited in surveys as one of the least expensive capital cities in Australia in which to live.

Dining and Shopping

JCU Brisbane is located on Brisbane's Queen Street, considered to be the city's most central address. Some of Brisbane's finest restaurants and many inexpensive cafes are a short walk away. There are two supermarkets within five minutes' walk of JCU Brisbane. Chinatown, which is 10 minutes' walk from the campus, also offers a huge range of eating and entertainment options. Close by are the shopping and eating strips of Riverside and Queen Street Mall. Halal cuisine is also available from various outlets within walking distance of JCU Brisbane.

Culture and Entertainment

The Brisbane River flows close to the city centre, offering stunning views and the opportunity for river cruises. Public transport provides easy access to many diverse cultural and entertainment venues including the Queensland Art Gallery, Botanical Gardens, 'The Gabba' (famous for hosting many international cricket matches), Queensland Museum, Southbank Convention and Entertainment Centre and other shopping malls.

One of the many attractions of life in Brisbane is the city's proximity to the exciting tourist destinations of the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast with access via road, bus or train. Situated just an hour's drive to the south of the city, the Gold Coast is home to world class beaches and amusement parks. The pristine beaches of the Sunshine Coast are an hour and a half's drive to the north of Brisbane, along with spectacular National Park rainforests and major tourist attractions such as the Australia Zoo.

The Weather

While the summer maximum average temperate is only 30°C with some hot sunny days, the winter is also mild and very pleasant. Most winter days are sunny with average temperatures of around 15°C.


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For more Information about life in Brisbane can be found at:

Cost Of Living

Australia offers excellent value for money and one of the highest standards of living in the world. The cost of living in Brisbane is generally lower than other capital cities in Australia such as Sydney and Melbourne. The estimated cost of living for share accommodation is between $A370 - $A390 per week. These average costs should be viewed as an indication only and are based on the combined weekly costs of: rent (share), food, electricity and utility costs, transport/travel and miscellaneous items.

The cost of rental accommodation varies greatly according to considerations such as the number of people sharing, distance from the city centre, type of accommodation and proximity to public transport.

Students are advised to allow for on average, $A400 per trimester for books and supplies.  Living costs to consider includes:

  • food
  • accommodation (rent/electricity)
  • transport
  • clothes and social activities
  • communication (phones/internet/postage)
  • Overseas Student Health Cover (approximately $A519 per year for a single student)

Study costs will include:

  • tuition fees
  • textbooks
  • materials and supplies

Approximate Living Costs in Australian Dollars per week

Rent (share accommodation) $85 - $215
Groceries and eating out $80 - $280
Gas, Electricity $35 - $140
Mobile Phone and Internet $25 - $55
Public Transport / Travel $15 - $55
Miscellaneous (clothes, toiletries, medical) $30 - $80
Total Estimated Weekly Costs $270 - $825