Study in Australia: A to Z Tips for Good Health

Here are some guidelines to help you take care of your health while in Australia.

 

When travelling to study in Australia or any other country, you have to get familiar with a new climate and a foreign environment. Illness is unavoidable for all of us including international students. So here are some guidelines to help you take care of your health while in Australia.

 

8 health principles to remember when studying in Australia

 

1. Stock essential medicines

 

Pack essential medicines such as cold, cough, stomach medicines, antipyretics, nose drops and a thermometre. Your latest medical records (translated to English) are also important as they will help general practitioners (GP) to diagnose your current health situation. 

 

2. Learn about Australian medicine regulations

 

Bring the medical records and prescriptions with you from your home country. If you run out of medicine when in Australia, you will need to see the doctor here for a new prescription. Make sure plant extracts that you use for medical or health reasons  are allowed in Australia as some plants and seeds are prohibited in the country.

 

3. Get a basic idea of Australia’s health system

 

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You should familiarise yourself with the Australian healthcare system and how it works. It is very beneficial to get a basic idea of it, particularly, the best local hospitals, insurance coverage in case you get sick, and health checkup packages that are most beneficial to international students in Australia.

 

4. Understand about the treatment cost in Australia

 

Most of the time, costs of treatment for citizens and permanent residents is Australia is paid by the government. Specifically, the government pays 100% of the hospital based treatment costs. For the remaining treatments, it will subsidise about 75%-80%.

 

Some health problems will not be covered by the government, for example, teeth, eye related problems and ambulance transport costs. For those with a Lower Income Earner Care Card (i.e. those with earning less than AUD486/week), there will be no charge for these issues.

 

5. Know how to express symptoms in English when talking to your doctor

 

If you study abroad in Australia or any other English-speaking country, there will not be too much language interference. Still, many overseas students are not good at medical English words. You should learn some essential words to express symptoms and exchange information with the doctor.

 

6. Rely on your close friends and teachers

 

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Scots students: We come from different countries, but we are the same.

 

Studying abroad means being away from your family. That’s when friends and teachers are big sources of motivation for your overseas student life. If you get sick or injured, don’t hesitate to ask them for help or advice, for example, where to go for treatment.

 

7. Don’t call your parents right away

 

Unless your parent is a medical professional or you are seriously ill,  perhaps it is better not call your parents right if  you get sick. Your family may become worried about you. This is also when you learn to be mentally strong during difficult times.

 

8. Be flexible in emergency situations

 

Many international students live in small city suburbs or live far from city centre. If you have any serious, urgent health problems when being far from a hospital, you should consider calling a taxi instead of the ambulance that may take some time to arrive. Also, let your friends know your health status. They could help you ask your school’s staff for support.

 

What to do when you get sick?

 

Medicare, Australia's national public health insurance scheme, does not apply to international students. Instead, all overseas students in Australia access health care through the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) scheme. So if you are feeling unwell, even having a minor illness, don’t hesitate to use the health services in Australia. Though you may have to pay for doctor’s appointment and prescription medication, a part of these costs can be claimed through your OSHC provider. Remember AHM OSHC’s 24 hour emergency service helpline 1800 006 745 for emergency medical assistance, stress and trauma counselling and interpreter service.

 

1. For a minor illness

 

Many minor health problems can be treated with drugs bought at a pharmacy. However, except for emergencies, the first place you should visit is  a GP. They will advise you what to do next and prescribe medicines for you. They can also send you for X-ray or blood test or to see a specialist if necessary.

 

2. In case of emergencies or accidents

 

You will be sent straight to hospital in case of accidents or emergencies. If you go to hospital for a small problem, you will have a long wait. That’s because emergency cases or serious accidents receive treatment priority. With AHM OSHC, you can choose to be treated in a public hospital, a private hospital or by a GP.

 

Secrets to staying healthy for international students in Australia

 

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Scots’ students at Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym

 

1. Remember emergency numbers

 

Your school in Australia will provide you with necessary information and data, including emergency phone numbers. You should keep them and spend some time on memorising them.

 

2. Record the addresses of doctors

 

However proud you are of your health, you will not able to avoid getting sick a couple of times. That’s why write down the addresses of doctors in your notebook.

 

3. Use your health insurance card effectively

 

The costs for medical services are expensive for international students and even for the local people. In case you need to go to hospital, don’t forget to submit your personal papers and health insurance card.

 

4. Take care of yourself

 

There is nothing better than taking care of yourself on a daily basis. Studying alone in Australia without your family members care can make it easy for you to neglect your health. Make sure you eat properly and get enough rest. Also, do not forget to exercise regularly.

 

Read also:

How to Take Care of Your Health When Studying in Australia

 

Common health issues with overseas students

 

Click here for some of the common health issues (and solutions) with international students.