Australia’s tropical Gold Coast has become one of Australia’s most sought-after international student destinations, thanks to its excellent education options, affordability, multicultural community and incredible weather.
If you’ve just started studying on the Gold Coast, there’s a range of resources and services at hand to support you during your studies. From academic and legal advice, to assistance with accommodation and employment, here’s where you can go for help.
Educational institutions have a number of services available that are designed to support your studies. Your university, college or school wants you to have the best study experience possible, meaning you can access a wide range of free services, including academic help and support with accommodation, employment and health.
International student services differ between universities, colleges and schools. Check out your educational institution’s website or ask student services for more information.
PROBLEMS WITH YOUR EDUCATION PROVIDER
While complaints aren’t common, if you do have an issue with your private education provider, you can contact the Overseas Student Ombudsman for free support. For complaints about a public education provider (which includes most universities and TAFE institutes), you should contact the Queensland Ombudsman.
You can get in touch with the Overseas Student Ombudsman or Queensland Ombudsman if you think your education provider is mistreating you or not following the rules. The relevant organisation can then investigate any complaints and offer support. These organisations can be contacted regarding:
- Education fees and refunds
- Misleading information from an education agent
- Enrolment cancellation
- Issues with work or accommodation organised by your education provider
Finding your new home can be one of the most exciting parts of being an international student; in fact, the experience of living independently could be entirely new! However, there is a chance you may run into issues. For example, suitable accommodation can be difficult to find, you might feel your landlord is taking advantage of you, or you may feel unsafe in your new space.
Study Gold Coast has a range of information on accommodation for international students, with links to several accommodation providers and rental sites.
For information on your rental rights, check the Residential Tenancies Authority website. The Queensland Government website also has a number of resources to help with legal and dispute support when it comes to housing.
Your health needs to be one of your top priorities while living overseas. Your education provider should be your first point of contact for any physical or mental health assistance, as they often provide on-site services specifically for students. However, there are several other options around the Gold Coast.
As an international student in Australia, you will already have compulsory Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), which allows you to use medical services and only pay part or none of the medical expense, depending on your insurance plan. You can search for nearby medical clinics and doctors using HealthEngine, and you can even narrow down your search to find medical providers that offer multilingual services.
If you have an urgent medical situation and require immediate attention, you should call Triple Zero (000) for emergency services.
Mental health problems are not uncommon and you should never feel alone. As an international student, you may be battling with homesickness or the stress of moving to a new country. Your education provider will likely offer some sort of counselling service, so consult their website.
The Gold Coast Student Hub has a student counselling service that assists with health and wellbeing issues and provides referrals to other social and community services.
The Gold Coast Sexual Health Service provides general sexual health services for free. Women can also access the Women’s Medical Centre Gold Coast, which specialises in helping international students.
For free legal advice, get in contact with the Gold Coast Community Legal Centre. The Centre offers face-to-face appointments that can be booked in advance, as well as a nighttime walk-in service.
There are ample job opportunities for international students on the Gold Coast, and with your student visa, you are able to work up to 40 hours per fortnight during semester. However, workers can also be vulnerable to exploitation. The Fair Work Ombudsman can help you with issues such as if you suspect you are being underpaid, poor working conditions or unfair termination.
The Gold Coast Student Hub provides confidential employment consultations if you need support with any aspect of your career. The Study Gold Coast website also offers a range of resources on finding work, as well as information on work conditions and student visas.
GET TO KNOW THE GOLD COAST
To familiarise yourself with the Gold Coast and get involved in the community, the Gold Coast Student Hub hosts a range of events – ranging from photography classes to social barbeques – to help you settle into your new home.
The Gold Coast Student Hub is the perfect place to go if you need help. Offering free in-person consultations and a 24/7 helpline (1800 778 839), staff can provide support for all kinds of issues, from health and wellbeing issues to career advice.