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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:

Institution support services Provides specialist services to help you adjust to life and study in Australia. Services include language and academic support, student accommodation, employment services and designated international student advisers.
Student associations Your education institution will likely have its own student association, which can help you make the most of your time studying and living in Australia. You can also contact national student associations like the Council of International Students Australia or Australian Federation of International Students. 
Overseas Students Ombudsman (OSO) A free, independent and impartial service that helps you with complaints against private education and training institutions in Australia. If you need to lodge a complaint against a public institution, you should contact the Ombudsman in the state or territory you are studying in.
Tuition Protection Service (TPS) Protects you in the unlikely event your education institution is unable to deliver a course you have paid for.
Disability support If you have a disability or chronic medical condition, you should contact your education institution a couple of weeks before you arrive to discuss any special arrangements that may need to be made. If you are unhappy with the support you receive, you should discuss this with your education institution first. If you’re still unhappy, you can approach the Australian Human Rights Commission for help.
Childcare Your education institution may offer childcare facilities, or you can choose from a range of private or not-for-profit childcare centres. If you are on a government scholarship, you might be eligible for a child care benefit. 
Consumer Protection Your rights are protected under Australian Consumer Law when buying goods and services.

Staying healthy while you study

You might also find yourself in need of medical support while in Australia.

If you are in a life-threatening emergency, call 000. It’s a free call, and connects you to police, fire and ambulance services.

For general medical support, make an appointment with a local doctor. Your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) will generally cover 100% of the costs for treatment at a doctor’s surgery or at home by a General Practitioner (GP).

Your GP may refer you to a specialist doctor such as a cardiologist, podiatrist or dermatologist. These services can be expensive, and only some may be covered by your OSHC plan.

You don’t need a referral to see a dentist – you can make an appointment directly yourself. Your OSHC plan does not cover dentist fees.

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