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.
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 BeyondNow suicide safety plan provides helpful tips and suggestions that you can refer to if you are concerned about your own or a friend’s mental state. The app assists you to create your own suicide safety plan; a plan to keep you safe when experiencing suicidal thoughts. Using the app, you can list ideas and contacts to stay safe, including warning signs, coping strategies, reasons for living and ways to make your environment safe.
Headspace, a leading mindfulness app founded in 2010, offers users guided meditations, self-care exercises and targeted sessions to address daily challenges. With a vast library of content, including SOS sessions for anxiety and sleepcasts for relaxation, it accommodates beginners and experienced users alike. Accessible on iOS and Android, Headspace’s premium subscription includes a free trial and offers discounted rates for university students, making it an excellent tool for stress relief and mental well-being in a new environment.
Apps to help you stay safe
bSafe offers a range of safety features, including an SOS button, GPS tracking, and a fake call feature to help users get out of uncomfortable situations. It also allows friends and family to virtually walk with the user using live GPS tracking.
Life360 is a family locator app that allows users to create private groups called “Circles” and share their location with trusted contacts. It also offers features like crash detection, roadside assistance and driver reports for added safety.
SafeZone is an app designed for on-campus safety, connecting users with campus security or emergency services. It provides a direct line to campus security, location sharing, and mass notifications during emergencies.
Becon is a smart safety app that privately protects your everyday journeys and activities including walks, runs, cycles and more. The app will detect when you need assistance automatically and will check in on you with a timed notification and alerts your emergency contacts if no response is received from you by the end of the timer.
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.
The BOM Weather app offers accurate weather forecasts, radar and warnings. This free, ad-free app helps students plan activities and travel, providing essential information on temperature, wind, humidity and rainfall. With emergency notifications, students stay informed, ensuring their safety and comfort in local conditions.