As a student, sometimes the upkeep of your own health can take a backseat in the face of exam pressure, assignment deadlines, making new friends in an unfamiliar environment and, in the case of international students, uprooting yourself and moving overseas. Additionally, the price of gym memberships, healthy eating, counselling and medical advice can seem overwhelming at times, especially when trying to stick to a student budget. But thankfully, there are some stellar ways to stay healthy without spending a cent. If you’re living and studying in Adelaide, let’s explore some of the free ways you can look after your health.

Physical Health

There are a number of ways to stay fit and diversify your workout for free around Adelaide.

On a larger scale, the Adelaide Park Lands that border the city centre are filled with tracks and trails that you can walk, run, or cycle (free bike hire is available from Bike SA). To start, try the 2.2km Uni Loop – a popular and picturesque route through the trees, with a starting point accessible from the universities along North Terrace. If you’d rather limber up with stretching, interval and weight training, and cardio, there are fitness stations located throughout the Park Lands, all of which are equipped with outdoor gym equipment.

For fitness with friends, there are free tennis, netball and basketball courts available to enjoy surrounding the city grid. Some are open to the public at all times, whereas others are used by schools and licensed sports clubs. Make sure to check online to see if this applies to your closest court.

Mental Health

You should never have to suffer homesickness, culture shock and the general pressures that come with being an international student alone. Universities offer counselling services, and you are also able to ask health professionals for advice if you think that you require more serious help. Otherwise, Beyond Blue offers a free telephone hotline and online chat service where you can talk to a mental health professional and receive advice and information on where to find extra support. Free translation support is also available.

All students should also take time to de-stress and re-energise. For mindfulness and meditation, there are free drop-in sessions at the Box Factory Community Centre each month, or you can join the free meditation or yoga sessions at the Adelaide South West Community Centre.

If you’d like to take your meditation skills out into nature, or simply enjoy some alone time, head to the Adelaide Botanic Gardens or the Himeji Garden just off South Terrace and relax amongst the greenery. Alternatively, take some time and enjoy the peace and quiet of the Art Gallery of South Australia or Samstag Museum of Art.

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Nutrition

Although takeaway for dinner may seem quicker and easier, the costs of eating out and ordering food in regularly will start to add up. Plus, it’s difficult to monitor your nutritional intake when you’re not in control of the food preparation. Luckily, there are free classes and workshops around town that will develop your knowledge of nutrition, offer some recipe inspiration, and usually provide some food to enjoy at the end.

Adelaide Central Market, for example, hosts regular cooking demonstrations by local and international chefs. Being in the Market, surrounded by all that beautiful fresh produce, might also be inspiration enough to cook at home that night.

If you want to start from scratch and learn to cook, the Adelaide South West Community Centre provides a few different free cooking classes, where you can enjoy your meal at the end with the other class attendees.

Sexual Health

Keeping up-to-date on your sexual health is incredibly important. There are a few different organisations in South Australia specialising in sexual and reproductive health that can offer free advice, testing and treatment.

SHINE SA offers a free hotline where you can be connected with a nurse to chat about anything from contraception to sexual assault counselling.

The Adelaide Sexual Health Centre, located in the city’s centre, offers free medical consultations and advice, testing and treatment for STIs, and support. Young people under 25 and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are considered priority clients, which means as an international student, you will find it easy to access the centre’s services.