Living overseas is exciting, but it is understandable if it also makes you nervous. During your time abroad, you will likely find yourself in new situations, meeting new people, and feeling very far from home – all of which is normal!
Safety should always be a priority for students, especially when living and studying in a brand-new environment. Our advice is to take a little time to orient yourself within your new surroundings and to familiarise yourself with the support services that are available.
As you settle into your city, research local emergency phone numbers and translation services to help you feel secure. If you are going to be living and studying in Australia, it is also a great idea to download our list of the best safety apps for students to ensure you feel safe and in control.
Apps for physical health
When living overseas, you don’t want to find yourself in an emergency before realising you don’t know the correct number to call. Emergency numbers differ not only by country, but also by state and region, so you want to make sure you have the correct one. The Emergency+ app solves this problem by using GPS data to communicate your exact location to the correct emergency service, including:
- Triple Zero (000) is the national emergency number in Australia and should only be used if a person is seriously injured or in need of immediate help, when life or property is under threat or a serious crime is being perpetrated or threatened.
- Police Assistance Line is the number to use if you are not in immediate danger, but have been a victim of a non-life-threatening or time-crucial crime, such as an inactive break-in to your home or car.
- State Emergency Services (SES) provides emergency support during wild and dangerous weather including floods, cyclones and storms.
- Crimestoppers and the National Security Hotline is where you can submit anonymous information about a crime, suspect or suspicious incidents.
- Poisons Information provides up-to-date poisons information to the public (for example, as related to bites and stings, plants and mushrooms, or medicine and drug use).
St John Ambulance First Aid
The St John Ambulance First Aid app stores all information within the app itself, meaning you don’t need internet access to use it. This makes it great for emergencies. The resource provides step-by-step instructions on how to treat a patient in various medical emergency scenarios, including how to perform CPR and manage allergic reactions, choking or diabetic episodes.
The COVIDSafe app works to keep you and your community safe by tracking people’s whereabouts. This helps to trace those who may have come into contact with a COVID-19-positive person, notifying them to get tested and quarantine if necessary. Downloading the app is completely voluntary, but doing so supports the current effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Australia.
AirRater allows sufferers of asthma, hay fever and other lung conditions to track their symptoms. It also gives you access to information on local air quality or the air quality of areas you are planning to visit. By tracking symptoms such as itchy eyes, sneezing and shortness of breath, the app builds a picture of your environmental triggers and advises you against certain travel plans on days that the weather is likely to trigger your condition.
Apps for mental health
BeyondBlue is a not-for-profit organisation that supports mental health and wellbeing in Australia. Their Check-in app provides helpful tips and suggestions that you can refer to if you are concerned about a friend’s mental state, but are not sure how to approach the topic. You can track how the conversation went, and receive suggestions for follow-up steps based on how your friend reacted to your offer of help. This is a great app for supporting friends when they are at their most vulnerable.
Apps to help you stay safe
Sonder covers every safety concern a student might have. Some of the features include 24/7 human support for emergencies; a “check on me” functionality that maintains a dialogue with you when you are in a potentially risky situation; GPS tracking of your route until you are home safely; COVID-19 exposure tracking; and alerts for situations such as fires or automobile crashes. No matter the situation, the experienced team behind Sonder will respond to a notification within minutes and provide you with the support you need. It is also capable of escalating the situation to emergency services if required.
Fires Near Me Australia
During dry summers and high heat, Australia’s spectacular landscape is unfortunately prone to bushfires. In response, the NSW Rural Fire Service has developed the national Fires Near Me Australia app, which provides updates on bushfires and fire-related incidents around the country. It is a great resource to keep you safe if you live in an area prone to bushfires, or if you are planning a trip to such an area.
It is a great idea to download the apps for Uber, Ola, Didi and your local taxi company so that you always have a safe way to get home. If you’re looking for a female-only ridesharing service, Shebah is a great option. These apps track your entire trip, giving you information on your driver and vehicle, your pick-up time and location, the recommended route, and your drop-off time and location. The fact that the whole experience is documented within these apps makes them much safer than late-night trips on public transport or rides with strangers.