Adjusting to a new environment and culture for international students is exciting and enriching, but it may sometimes feel daunting and overwhelming at times.
However, there is no need to worry as most educational institutions, and a range of government and non-government agencies in Australia have well-developed international student support services.
In this post, we’ll discuss a few support services available to international students living in Australia:
1. Counselling and Support Services
There are many government and non-government agencies in Australia that provide free counselling, relationship support, crisis support, mental health, domestic violence, and suicide prevention services.
International students can access these services through phone, email, webchat, online forums, and other information sources. Also, while getting these services, you can choose to be anonymous.
Here are some of the support services you can obtain:
Lifeline: It offers 24/7 suicide prevention and crisis support services. To access these services, you can call 13 11 14. You can visit the Lifeline website to get more information.
International Student Hotline: If international students are facing issues related to safety, study, work, or accommodation, they can call 1300 363 079. This student helpline in Australia is operated by the federal Department of education. When calling this number, you don’t have to reveal your identity.
Beyond Blue: It provides 24-hour support for mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and suicide. You can access this service through email, webchat, or by filling an online forum at BeyondBlue website. You can also call 1300 22 4636.
Kids Helpline: This helpline is specially designed for students ( between 5 and 25 years of age) who have personal relationship issues and want to share their feelings about studies. To get the support, you can call 1800 551 800 or visit the Kids Helpline website.
Sexual Assault Counselling Service: This service is designed for all those who have experienced sexual assault. It is a free, 24 hour and 7 days a week telephone service. You can call one of the state-based sexual assault counselling services to get support. Also, you can choose to stay anonymous.
Poison Information Centre: This support centre gives guidance on the use, management, and treatment of poisonous products, including industrial chemicals, non-prescription pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, household chemicals, and animal and plant venom. You can call 131 126 to get immediate support.
Note: In an emergency like a fire, car crash other life-threatening situations you can dial and call Triple Zero (000).
2. Overseas Students Ombudsman
The Overseas Students Ombudsman (OSO) is an initiative of the Australian government. They conduct an inquiry about complaints that overseas students have made against their private education providers, which may include a university, college, or school.
The international student support services in Australia provided by OSO are free of cost and completely impartial. The OSO takes complaints against the following matters into consideration:
Refusal of admission to a course
Cancellation of enrolment
Course progress or attendance
Fees and refunds
Course or provider transfers
Incorrect advice provided by an education agent
Work or accommodation arranged by your provide
You can visit the Ombudsman website to learn more about their services.
3. Tuition Protection Service
Introduced by the Australian government, TPS assists international students if their education providers are unable to deliver the course. The TPS makes sure that international students can take up another course in the same institution or some other institution, or they can get a refund of their unspent tuition fees.
For more information, you can visit the Tuition Protection Service website.
The student associations represent and assist international students studying in Australian institutions. The national associations are as follows:
Council of International Students Australia (CISA): It is a national representative organisation for international students studying at undergraduate, postgraduate, private college, ELICOS, and TAFE level.
5. Institution Support Services
Most institutions in Australia have well-structured support systems for international students so that they feel welcomed and comfortable in their new environment. Some of the support services given by institutions may include the following:
Orientation Programs: Almost every institution in Australia conducts an orientation program for international students who have just arrived. This program usually takes place a few weeks before the semester starts so that students get familiar with their surroundings. The orientation program includes:
Introduction to facilities and services
Meet student representatives, academic and other university staff
Counselling Services: Many Australian institutions have skilled and qualified counsellors who offer free guidance and international student help services on personal, academic and social matters, including culture shock, academic difficulties, accommodation issues, depression, anxiety, family and relationship problems.
Academic and English Support: If you need assistance with your academics and English skills, your university may provide you with support in the form of workshops or individual tutoring. You may also find English speaking groups at your university campus that might encourage you to engage with other students and improve language skills.
Career Services: Majority of education providers in Australia offer career advice to international students and help them with job hunting either in Australia or somewhere outside the country. They also help them to build their resumes and guide them with the interview process.
6. Other Institution Support Services
The Australian institutions may offer other services like:
International student advisers
Financial and scholarship support
Health and wellbeing services
Fitness and support facilities
Security and safety advice
To find more about what services your institution provides, contact them directly or visit their website.
Useful Topics to Explore:
|⇒ Australian Qualification Framework (AQF)|
|⇒ What does it cost to study in Australia?|
|⇒ The Ultimate Guide to Australian Visas|
|⇒ Courses that can lead to PR in Australia|
|⇒ Applying to Study in Australia: Student Timeline|
|⇒ Driving in Australia as an International Student|
|⇒ Cultural Differences You May Experience in Australia|
|⇒ International Students in Australia|
|⇒ Australia Compared|