Health and support services 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 a little time, and you may need some assistance to absorb it all smoothly. Don’t worry 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:
Pre-arrival support guide
Many institutions offer a pre-arrival support guide that includes details of medical insurance available, accommodation options, strategies to budget living expenses and other necessary details to settle in.
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 student associations, which help international students manage their various activities along with academics. Some universities also have a dedicated international student association to offer unbiased support to students from another country.
For instance, Victoria University has 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 can participate in cultural activities.
On-campus counselling sessions
Many Aussie institutions have well-experienced counsellors to assist international students suffering from any academic, personal or social issues.
Institutions connect with mentors and other peer groups
To help international students establish a connection with the local network, many institutions organise excursion activities, so that international students can blend in the new culture and make new friends. Also, at times institutions connect an international student with a senior mentor for assistance to settle in.
Student associations off campus
Various student associations outside of campus work for the welfare of national and international students. The two main associations are the Council of International Students Australia (CISA) and the Australian Federation of International Students (AFIS).
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
While most universities and colleges also provide with health insurance facilities to international students, you might have to arrange for it on your own if your institution doesn’t provide one before your departure.
Thankfully, Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is compulsory for all international students in Australia, and you need to have one to complete the application process. The OSHC coverage needs to last for at least as long as stated in your student visa, and needs renewal if you opt for visa extension.
Your IDP counsellor will make sure you’re protected with the right 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 must do is choose from a range of Government approved providers including:
- Australian Health Management
- BUPA Australia
- Medibank Private
- Allianz Global Assistance (subcontracted by Lysaght Peoplecare)
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 get registered with a local doctor or a medical centre located in your campus when you arrive in the country.
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, where we prepare you for your life in Australia before you leave. These sessions are free to attend. Just walk into any of your nearest IDP offices to know more.
Updated on June 30, 2020