Written by Mia Smal
Who wouldn’t want to live in Melbourne? Arguably the best city in Australia, with a booming arts and culture scene and renowned coffee culture. But making the move to Victoria’s capital can be daunting if you’re not aware of the support that’s available to you, especially as a student. Read on for student support services to make your move an easy and smooth one. You’ll want to bookmark these!
International student support
Finding the right information and useful support resources as an international student can be a frustrating process. When in doubt, always check the website of the university you’re attending first. Usually, you’ll find gold!
University of Melbourne (UoM) has put together an international student support page with information about Melbourne life to help you get settled. You can read about everything from the cost of living, tips on settling in and visa requirements, to accommodation options and financial support. This is a great starting point and you can further research specific topics from there. There are lots of webinars that you can join as well and ask questions.
UniTravel is UoM’s own travel program in conjunction with ATPI. The great thing about this service is that you are supported every step of the way should you need help with rebooking flights, flight disruptions or cancellations and arrival in Melbourne. Flight information is shared with the University, so staff can support you in case anything goes wrong.
Services Australia has a Youth Allowance program that allows students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds to access financial assistance. Eligible individuals must be aged 18-24 years old and studying full-time. They must also meet Australian residence rules, satisfy income and asset tests, and be studying an approved course. On Youth Allowance, students can access up to $530.40 per fortnight, depending on their individual situation.
There are also a number of scholarships that students can apply for, both through their university and through their accommodation.
- University of Melbourne
- UoM offers a number of scholarships to assist students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds or rural locations, as well as those with physical disabilities, language barriers and more. Eligibility for each scholarship differs according to the student’s study area, personal information and academic ability. The University of Melbourne also offers a number of scholarships to academic and sporting high-achievers. Find all University of Melbourne scholarships.
- Other Universities
- University College
- Each residential college also has its own scholarships program. University College is proud to offer around 50 scholarships to students who would benefit from financial assistance. UC scholarships generally range from $3,000 – $7,000, but larger scholarships are also on offer for those who meet specific criteria.
- The Barbara and Max Murray Scholarship, for example, is awarded to a regional student who will value financial support. The Broughton Scholarship is awarded to a first-year student who is the first in their family to attend University. The Ann Miller Indigenous Scholarship is awarded to up to two female Indigenous students who are studying at the University of Melbourne.
- At UC, all you have to do is submit a scholarship application with all the relevant documentation and a personal statement, and we will consider you for all scholarships you are eligible for.
Student Medical Support
During your time at college, you may experience unforeseen medical issues that need to be addressed. For emergencies, there is always a staff member (Resident Tutors or Youth Workers after hours) trained in First Aid onsite.
The residential colleges are also located in close proximity to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, so help is always nearby! There are a number of medical practitioners located in and around Parkville and we recommend that students look around to find a GP that best suits their individual needs. You can use the HotDoc app to find practitioners nearby and book appointments online.
If you are an international student, you are required by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to get Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). It is designed to help you cover any medical expenses or hospital care that you might need. The average cost per individual is around $438AUD each year. Once you’re on OSHC, you become eligible to use Australian medical services (Medicare).
Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Support
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the experience of moving out and starting university studies. It’s a massive change. Knowing how to look after your mental health and seeking help when you need it becomes an important skill to master.
At UC, the mental wellbeing of all students is a high priority, with many support systems in place to ensure everyone has access to help. The college really fosters a family-like community and it’s comforting to know that you will always have friends to support you, and a friendly face to greet you when you come home.
Katie, our on-site Wellbeing Coordinator, is essentially our personal college counsellor. Students are able to book one-off or regular wellbeing consults with Katie, who is more than happy to help them work through anything they may be struggling with, whether that be university stress, friendships or even family issues. A Resident Tutor (RT) or Youth Worker is also onsite and available after hours to assist with any student concerns. If you come back from a late night out and need someone to talk to, they will be there for you!
In addition to the many student mental health and wellbeing services offered by University College, there are also a number of community programs that students can access. Universities also offer counselling services, with a number of sessions free of charge. If you’d like to see a counsellor or psychologist, you’ll first have to make an appointment with your GP and get a mental health care plan. The Australian government’s Better Access initiative gives eligible individuals up to 10 Medicare rebated mental health sessions with a professional each year.
If at any point you’re unsure where to find the support you need, we are always here to guide you in the right direction. Relocating to Melbourne is an incredibly fun and exciting chapter to start, and we’ve got your back. If you’d like to chat more about what we offer at University College, start a chat with us, or contact us today!