Support Services

Group of students study in library

It can be challenging to start a new course in a country that has a different academic environment, language and culture. However, there's no need to worry as plenty of help and support is available to help you adjust to your studies in Australia. Remember that you are not alone - there are many international and local students in the same position.

What types of support services are available for international students?

All institutions offering education to international students are required by law to provide support services to help them study and adapt to their new home. Many institutions have an international student support unit that can answer your questions and direct you to the services you need. For detailed and specific information about the support services that Australian education providers offer, refer to the institution profiles on this website. See the Institution Search to learn more about Australian institutions.

International Student Hotline

1300 363 079 - Monday to Friday 8 am to 6 pm

The Australian Government is committed to providing the highest quality education system and making sure that international students receive the support they need while they are studying. If you are having problems with your study, safety, accommodation or at work, you can call this number, which is operated by the federal Department of Education. There is no need to give your name or personal details when calling.

Information and advice for pre-departure and arrival

Most international student support units provide information to simplify the process of moving to Australia, which may include:

  • advice on travel arrangements, student visas, Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) and banking
  • information about airport pick-up
  • help with organising accommodation
  • information about the institution, nearby tourist attractions and life in Australia.

Orientation and study preparation programs

Every institution runs an orientation program for newly arrived international students. Orientation programs are usually held a couple of weeks before the start of semester to give students a chance to settle in before classes begin.

Typical orientation programs offer:

  • information sessions
  • guided campus tours
  • faculty-specific orientation
  • library tours
  • social activities
  • introduction to services and facilities
  • opportunities to meet academic and other university staff and student representatives.

Mentors and help from other students

Many education providers have student groups that give international students the opportunity to meet other international and Australian students. These student groups run regular social gatherings and organise activities (such as trips, meals and sightseeing) to help international students make friends and settle into their new environment and have some fun in the process!

Some institutions also pair new international students with a senior student mentor, so they have someone to turn to for advice and support as they adjust to their studies in Australia.

Counselling services

Most institutions have qualified and experienced counsellors who offer international students free and confidential advice on personal, social and academic matters such as:

  • culture shock
  • depression, stress and anxiety
  • relationship/family problems
  • accommodation problems
  • academic difficulties.

Culture shock is the feeling of disorientation and loneliness that you may feel in the first couple of weeks of living in a new environment. This is a very common feeling and will pass when you get more settled into your new home. Make sure you talk to friends, family and the support service staff at your education provider.

Academic and English language skills assistance

Many institutions offer academic and English language support services, such as individual tutoring and workshops, to help international students adjust to their studies and life in Australia. You might also find English language conversation groups that encourage local and international students to meet and practise their language skills while learning about other cultures. Even the most skilled English speakers may struggle to understand people at first because of the distinct Australian accent.

Support for accompanying family members

In addition to helping international students, the international student support services of some universities and colleges offer support services for family members who accompany students to Australia.

Support for family members typically includes services such as:

  • English conversation classes
  • social meetings, activities and excursions
  • counselling services to help with any problems such as culture shock, homesickness, employment and difficulty adjusting to lifestyle and cultural differences.

Information and advice for returning home

Most institutions provide international students who are finishing their studies with information and advice about returning home. Seminars and brochures available to international students include information about readjusting to your home country, gaining employment, migration issues and alumni services.

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