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Study Abroad in Sydney: The Graphic Design Student’s Complete Guide

Ever thought about studying graphic design abroad in Sydney? Well you can do that with Shillington’s graphic design course. Sydney has an average 2628 hours of sunshine a year, amazing culture and some of Australia’s top design studios which makes it an ideal place to study graphic design. Sydney also boasts some gorgeous beaches, world class architecture—including the postmodernist masterpiece the Sydney Opera House—and some great places to eat.

Want to make your dreams a reality? Here’s our guide to learning graphic design in Sydney. How to get here, where to live and how to get around, with some tips from local creatives thrown in for good measure.

Shillington Study Abroad Program in Sydney, Australia

Shillington’s Sydney studio is located in the CBD with excellent transport links all over the city and its suburbs—the campus is close to Wynward station and walkable to Sydney’s Central Station. Being in the heart of the bustling city, there’s also no shortage of cafes, restaurants, bars and attractions to keep you busy outside of class time. You can walk from campus straight to the iconic Sydney waterfront—including the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge—so you’ll really be living out your Aussie dreams.

In other great news, Shillington Sydney fees are the same if you’re an international student as they are for domestic students—so it won’t cost you any extra to study with Shillington if you’re coming from abroad.

Australian Visa Information

Australia offers a free eVisitor (Subclass 651) Visa, which allows tourists of any age to live and study for up to 3 months.

If you’re between 18—30 years old (35 for Canadian and Irish citizens), there are two visas which allow you to live, work and study for up to a year. Perfect to graduate from our 3 month course, then work or travel for the remainder of your visa. Visit Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) and Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462) to check your home country’s eligibility.

Please note: Shillington is not CRICOS registered, which means students are not able to apply for international student visas. But you don’t need a student visa to study at Shillington! Research your eligibility for the tourist and work visas listed above, which allow up to 3 months of study—perfect for our full-time graphic design course.

What to do Around the Sydney Campus 


Like the best of us, Sydneysiders love their coffee—so there’s plenty of places near campus to grab your morning caffeine fix. Shillington Sydney Tim King recommends Bonnie Coffee—a joint located in a beautiful heritage-listed building just around the corner from campus. Also a short hop from campus at Fix at 50 and Regiment which also has the stamp of approval from Tim.

Shillington’s Australian Head of Experience Ella Shillington adds four more coffee shops to our list: Brew Collective, Cross Eatery, Skittle Lane and Sammy Junior. All of these will get you there and back to campus with a flat white in hand in under 15 minutes. Why not test them all out and see if you’ve got a favourite?


The Sydney studios central location also lands it smack bang in the middle of the best culture Sydney has to offer! Marketing Assistant Eden Lim suggests heading over to the Royal Botanic Gardens—a slice of heaven a quick fifteen minute walk from campus. Also close by, Tim is a fan of the Museum of Contemporary Art—a stellar collection housed in a beautiful art deco building right on the water. Other great galleries in the area include Gaffa, close to Hyde Park—it houses a creative precinct and artist studios. Ella additionally puts in a good word for the Art Gallery of New South Wales (perfect to tie in with a trip to the Botanic Gardens) and White Rabbit Gallery. Looking for something a bit different? The Powerhouse Museum is also worth a visit, says Eden.

Sydney’s also home to some world class design agencies. Some global agencies have studios in the city, like Interbrand, Landor, DDB and Google Creative Lab. There’s also loads of ace independent studios in Sydney, namely Frost*collective, Christopher Doyle & Co., Alphabet Studio, For The People and loads more.

After Class

The best way to know your classmates is to head out after class with them and explore the city toegther. If you want to go for a drink, then Sydney has loads of great watering holes. Tim recommends heading out to Old Mates, the Double Deuce Longe, Shell House, Palmer & Co or Stitch Bar. Whilst Ella also shares her top choices: Cantina OK, Menzies Bar, Apollonia and Hotel Palisade.

Want to grab a bite to eat? Eden recommends Ichi-ban Boshi and Gogyo Ramen if you’re after a bowl of ramen or Hunter Connection and Tenko Mori if you want to stay closer to campus. Tim’s favourites are Jimmy’s Falafel, Bar Totti’s and Mu Mu and Ella recommends Ragazzi, Mejico and INDU.

How to be a Sydneysider

Where to Live in Sydney

Shillington’s central Sydney location means that it’s easily accessible from neighbourhoods across the city. Eden recommends Chatswood, a nice suburban neighbourhood with an Asian food hub—it has a large shopping centre, grocery stores and night markets every Thursday and Friday. It’s also around a 30 minute train to campus.

Other great living locations for students include Newtown, Marrickville, Strathfield, Burwood, Bondi Junction or Redfern. All are friendly, easygoing neighbourhoods with lots to explore at the evenings and weekends.

Where to Look for Accommodation

When looking for a room or a flat of your own in Sydney, your best port of call is Flatmates. Though, Facebook Marketplace also has its fair share of rental properties.

How to Get Around

Sydney has excellent citywide access to public transport—it’s made up of the Metro, trains, buses, light rail and being a coastal city, ferries. Most suburbs are easily accessible from campus—with an easy route direct from home to studio. In some cases, these will even run for 24 hours throughout the day.

The Metro in Sydney is a bit of work in progress—trains run from Tallawong in the Northwest of the city to Chatswood, where you can jump on a train into the CBD. There’s also lines from Bankstown in the Southwest, which is currently being updated, and a future line planned from Westmead in the West. You’re better off using the Train system, which is slightly more widespread—with seven lines serving neighbourhoods all over the city. There’s also eight different ferry lines serving the city—which is a great way to commute on a sunny day, getting the sea breeze on your face.

The easiest way to pay? Get yourself an Opal Card. You can pick these convenient cards up at loads of newsagents and convenience stores across Sydney and they can be used on all trains, buses, light rails and ferries. The cards themselves are free, but have a minimum top-up price of $20—or if you download the Opal app then this is halved to just $10. Alternatively, you can use any contactless card or device to beep yourself in. Journey fares change depending on mode of transport, distance and time of day, but there are daily and weekly caps on both Opal and contactless.

Study Abroad Tips From Sydney Locals

Sydney has loads to offer—especially if you’re heading over for our three month full-time course. So, we asked our teachers and staff at the Sydney campus for their essential tips for temporary Sydneysiders. One thing to keep in mind—it’s cheaper to travel round the city on Sundays, so save your bigger trips until then.

Eden is a big advocate for the city’s Saturday markets. Glebe Markets is a magical array of makers and producers, vintage and contemporary, with some artists and events thrown in too. Meanwhile Kirribilli Markets have been around since 1976 and are a mix of homewares, clothes, jewellery, hand crafts and food/bakeries.

Sydney is also a great walking city—and Ella suggested some of the top walks in the city. Her top picks are the Manly to Shelly Beach scenic walk which takes Cabbage Tree Bay’s unique marine life, plants and animals as well as a sculpture trail. Once you reach the end, turn back and spend the day in Manly. The Bondi to Bronte coastal walk is slightly longer, but its combination of beaches, parks and outstanding views make it unmissable. Finally, the Barrenjoey Lighthouse is an amazing destination for a walk up the Palm Beach peninsula.

There are also 44 different ocean pools and inner harbour baths dotted around the city that come highly recommended for a morning, evening, weekend or anytime swim. Coogee Women’s Baths, Bronte Baths and Fairy Bower Pool are amongst the best.

Finally, Tim tells us that no time in Sydney is complete without a visit to TITLE Book Store—the remarkable shop sells vinyl records, rare films and beautiful books in their two locations in Barangaroo and Surry Hills.

Benefits of Studying Abroad in Sydney, Australia

Studying graphic design abroad in Sydney is an incredible opportunity with countless benefits! Firstly, you’ll be kickstarting your creative career in the middle of one of the world’s most exciting cities, with some breathtaking culture and nature right on your doorstep.

Sydney has so much to offer students: world class coffee, delicious food and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. On top of this, it’s also home to some top graphic designers and design studios—so there will always be loads of networking opportunities and events to keep you creatively stimulated. 

But don’t just take our word for it, you’ll be following in the footsteps of other Shillington graduates who headed down under to study graphic design. You can read about their experiences, here: 

Sounds too good to be true? It’s not—this could be you. Apply now and you could be living out your dreams of studying graphic design in Sydney before you know it.

Artwork by Shillington’s Head New York, Cathy Sison.

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