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A Guide to COVID-19 Support for Students in Queensland

This article is sponsored by The University of Queensland

Getting through the pandemic as an international student can be extremely tough. The good news is, help is available.

Whether you’re studying in Queensland or overseas, there are plenty of initiatives and resources available to you.

Support for offshore students

The Queensland Government has developed the Queensland Student Hub Network to help students. This allows students to access a range of helpful resources. They range from social activities to career counselling and employability workshops. There is also specialised help for LGBTQIA+ students online and in-person at the Cairns and Gold Coast Student Hubs. For up-to-date information, make sure you follow the Queensland Student Hub Facebook page.
Many institutions have started special projects to help students studying overseas. For example, The University of Queensland (UQ) has developed Study Bubbles. This student support program lets you meet peers in your city while you study off-campus. The university also offers an online learning platform called UQ Virtual Village. The Village allows you to customise your preferences, so you can meet like-minded students. These websites can help immerse you in a typical university experience, no matter how, or where, you’re studying.
For study help, UQ provides Learning Advisers to students in Australia, and International Student Advisers to students overseas.
If you have any specific questions on student support, you should go to your education provider’s website. Their website will include the most recent information and advice. You can also find out who you should contact if you need more help.

Financial support

The Queensland Government has also launched the International Student Crisis Assistance website. This website can help international students experiencing financial problems as a result of COVID-19. The Queensland Government is also currently providing a Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment. This payment is available to people who cannot earn an income while they complete mandatory self-isolation or quarantine, or while they care for someone who has COVID-19.
If you need immediate crisis support, you should contact your education provider and the Queensland Student Hub Network.
If Queensland is affected by a public health order, such as a lockdown, and you couldn’t work or lost income, you can submit an application for a COVID-19 Disaster Payment

Accommodation support

Are you facing eviction or financial distress? Do you need emergency accommodation? Head to the Australian Homestay Network website for short-term, discounted homestay options.
If you are looking for renting advice, you can visit the Tenants Queensland website or call 1300 744 263. You can also go to the Residential Tenancies Authority website for more information.
If you need help or advice about rentals or evictions, you’re encouraged to visit The Hub.

Food support

The Queensland Government has set up the Emergency Relief Program. The program provides financial and food aid if you are struggling with money. You can use the interactive map on their website to find your closest provider. The oneplace directory also lists community services offering food relief.
The Department of Social Services Grants Service Directory is a great resource if you need emergency food relief. More than 240 locations are currently providing food support across Queensland.
OzHarvest’s food rescue and delivery vans can also help. They deliver pre-packed food hampers in locations across Queensland.

Employment support

If you are looking to enhance your employability skills or gain work experience, the Study Queensland website is very useful. The website provides lots of information, including how you can prepare yourself for a job and how what the job market is like. The website also has a job directory and internship finder and can help explain your work rights.
Whether you’re studying in Australia or overseas, Launch U is a great resource. Launch U provides online and face-to-face professional experiences. These can help you develop your work skills. If you want to connect with local Queensland businesses, there’s the Launch U Trade Accelerator Program. This virtual program allows you to work with a Queensland-based export or trade company to conduct international market research.
For more free employability and career development help, you should contact your education provider. For example, UQ’s careers and employability team provides free career advice, CV checks, a student-staff partnerships program, and online webinars that cover employment tips, virtual internships, and more.

Wellbeing and mental health support 

It is a hard time for students right now. But your education provider is doing everything it can to make sure you are supported through the pandemic. Whether you’re studying onshore in Australia or online from overseas, assistance is available. Your provider should always be your first stop if you are looking for help with your wellbeing and mental health.

UQ provides a range of student support, including mental health and emotional support, crisis support, counselling, and help with disability, injury or other conditions.

Other mental health services in Queensland include:

  • headspace –  free online and phone counselling for young people aged 12-25. You can also download headspace’s Weathering the Storm app to access free meditation, and sleep and movement exercises
  • Beyond Blue – national helpline and website
  • Lifeline (13 11 14) – mental health and crisis counselling
  • 13 HEALTH (13 43 25) – mental and physical health aid from a registered nurse, who can answer your questions and help decide if you need to see a doctor

Contact UQ Student Life for more information about the aid options available to you.