What are the health and support services available in Australia?
Here’s a lowdown on the support services available for you!
It can be a little challenging to cope with the changes in your environment when you move to Australia for the first time. With a new set of customs and norms, adjusting into the culture takes some time, and you may need some assistance to absorb it all smoothly. But if you struggle to adjust, or feel alienated or unhealthy, there are a range of support services available to help you out.
In case you get hassled at any point, you can reach out to:
Campus support services
Dedicated to support international students via various orientations and programs. These may include supportive and educational workshops, cultural celebrations and academic support. Sometimes, they also help with student accommodation and employment/internship opportunities.
Student associations on campus
Most universities have their own student associations, which help international students manage their various activities along with academics. Some universities also have a dedicated international student associations to offer unbiased support to students from another country.
For instance, the Victoria University has a dedicated International student support that helps them to settle in Melbourne. It also has an international student society that ensures all inter-cultural students have a voice and are able to participate in cultural activities.
Student associations off campus
There are various student associations outside of campus that work for the welfare of national and international students.
Overseas Students Ombudsman (OSO)
It is an impartial service that addresses grievances of all international students in Australia against their education providers, if any. The service is free and independent by nature.
Support for students with disabilities
Most universities and institutions offer special support to international students with disabilities, but it is best to communicate the same at the time of application to discuss if any special arrangements need to be made for you.
Tuition Protection Service (TPS)
Protects you in the unlikely event your education institution is unable to deliver a course you have paid for.
Make sure you have a health insurance
Remember, most universities and colleges also provide with health insurance facilities to international students and Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is compulsory for all international students in Australia. You might have to arrange for a medical insurance on your own if your institution doesn’t provide one.
Your IDP counsellor will make sure you’re protected with health cover. We’ll guide you through your application and explain the different features and pricing to help you choose the right one. All you have to do is choose from a range of Government approved providers including:
- Australian Health Management
- BUPA Australia
- Medibank Private
Australian healthcare system at a glance
Most university campuses will offer an on-campus medical centre with quality doctors or at least a trained first aid officer and rooms for sick or injured students. You will also be able to find medical centres and hospitals throughout all cities and towns, including many in suburban areas. There are 24-hour emergency centres at hospitals and in some suburbs.
It may be possible to find a doctor who speaks your native language. The Department of Home Affairs offers free interpreting services by telephone to help patients whose English skills are not strong.
We recommend you to get registered with a local doctor or a medical centre located in your campus on arrival.
In an emergency
If you happen to face any emergency, call the toll free number 000. This is a common number that can be used for fire, police or ambulance. You can inform the operator if you are not able to explain in English and arrangements will be made accordingly.
Some other emergency contact numbers you should have saved are:
- SES assistance in floods and storms: 132 500
- Police attendance: 131 444 (all states except Victoria)
- International incident emergency helpline: 1300 555 135 (within Australia)
- Outside Australia– external site: +61 2 6261 3305
A great way to come prepared to face various challenges of settling into a new country is by attending one of our pre-departure sessions, which are help free of cost of our students. Just walk into any of your nearest IDP office to know more about the same.