Named Australia’s best student city in 2023, Melbourne has so much to offer. Thanks to its unique blend of educational excellence, cultural diversity and quality of life, you’ll feel welcomed and supported when you live and study in Melbourne.
No matter where you are on your student journey, student support services are available to support you at every step.
Study Melbourne Hub
Study Melbourne is a Victorian Government initiative that delivers a variety of support services to tertiary students in Victoria, one of them being the Study Melbourne Hub.
“The Study Hub is space for international students to feel welcomed, supported, and be connected with services that are needed for them,” shares Study Melbourne Hub Manager Julian Jeffreys.
Located on 17 Hardware Lane in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, this facility provides international students with the opportunity to attend free events and Empowered Series programs, including:
- Everyday Heroes – delivered by Insider Guides! – is all about welcoming new international students to Melbourne and supporting you as you settle into your new city
- Career Catalyst – helping support you as you prepare for your future career with new skills, support and connections
- Leadership Labs – developing your leadership skills
- Future Founders – designed to inspire your entrepreneurial spirit and support the start of your business journey
If you’re eager to meet new people, there are also a range of social events held throughout the year, such as Chinese New Year celebrations and Bollywood evenings.
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The Hub is equipped with bright, airy workspaces that are free to access, making it one of the best places to study in Melbourne.
At the Hub, you’ll also find a team of friendly caseworkers who can help you tackle a range of challenges, including financial hardship, issues with accommodation, well-being and mental health support.
“The caseworkers are professionally trained and they help international students by connecting them to support services [and/or] empowering them to work towards their goals,” explains Julian.
According to Julian, nearly all the Study Melbourne team members were once international students themselves: “We are familiar with the idea of what it is like to be new, in a new country.”
Notably, the Hub offers many free and confidential services students won’t find elsewhere, including the International Student Employment and Accommodation Legal Service (ISEALS). ISEALS, addressing vulnerabilities in employment and accommodation, offers free legal advice educating students about their rights.
In essence, the Study Melbourne Hub is a sanctuary for international students.
In a recent situation, shared by Julian, a new student was struggling to get their first job in Australia, and employers gave feedback that their resume needed refinement. The student visited the Hub and immediately enrolled in a free resume-building seminar, which highlighted the significance of structuring information according to the Australian standard. Within a week, and upon the recommendations given in the seminar to improve their resume, the student had been employed.
From employment to academia to legal issues, the team at the Hub is here to support you in every aspect of the international student journey.
The Couch Melbourne
A joint initiative between the City of Melbourne and Salvation Army Melbourne Project 614, The Couch is a service dedicated to providing international students with a safe place to connect and make new friends.
The Couch is open from Monday to Thursday (6pm to 8:30pm) and provides students with the opportunity to learn new skills, access free cooked meals, participate in fun activities and connect with the local community through events.
The best part? All events are free for international students.
Accommodation support bodies
Moving out on your own and gaining independence is exciting. However, there are instances in which challenges may arise when you need assistance.
Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) is a government-led initiative designed to assist in matters concerning accommodation. You’ll find information regarding your rights as a tenant on the CAV website. If the need for support arises, you can also contact the CAV directly for aid.
In addition to CAV, Tenants Victoria serves as a supplementary source for addressing rental-related concerns, including matters such as repairs and disagreements with either other tenants or your landlord. For personalised guidance on specific issues, you can reach out to the Tenants Victoria helpline at 03 9416 2577.
Neighbourhood Houses – which are located across Melbourne – is a membership of almost 400 community-based organisations across Victoria, bringing people together from all ages, backgrounds and abilities through free or low-cost events, classes and activities. They are a great way for you to meet new people outside of your studies, and connect with your local community.
Finding your nearest Neighbourhood House is a great way to access a supportive community, build your skills and make new friends. Use their interactive map to see which Neighbourhood House is close to you, or contact your local council.
LGBTQIA+ support services
Melbourne is accepting of individuals of all gender identities and sexual orientations. If you belong to the LGBTQIA+ community, there are support resources designed exclusively for you.
There’s also the Victorian Pride Centre in St Kilda, which serves as a hub for queer groups and organisations to share ideas and advance equality across the state. Head to their website to see the full range of support services available at the Centre.
Disability support services
The Brotherhood of St Lawrence is a go-to resource in Melbourne for disability support. Here, you can get connected to community and mainstream services, even if you’re not eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Through the Youth Disability Advocacy Scheme (YDAS), you can also get involved with the Young Leaders Program. This program helps young people with disabilities boost their employability and access jobs and volunteer roles. Head to their website to apply!
Mental health support services
Your well-being and mental health are of the utmost importance as an international student, and there is a wide range of support available in Melbourne if you’re struggling at any time. The Study Melbourne website outlines free online and phone support services you can contact if you need someone to speak to, whether it be online or on the phone.
As an international student, some of the cost of seeing a psychologist may also be partially covered by your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). Chat to your OSHC provider for more information.
National support services
A range of support services are available to international students that operate on a national level. Here are a few important examples:
- The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has information and advice to help young workers and students starting jobs in Australia, a visa holders and migrants page that has useful and practical information about your visa and working rights, and can support you if you are facing issues in the workplace. Visit the FWO’s international student factsheet page for more details.
- The Tuition Protection Service (TPS) assists international students whose education providers are unable to fully deliver their course of study. So, if your education provider closes altogether, fails to start a course that you’re enrolled in, or stops offering it part-way through, the TPS can help.
- The Australian Human Rights Commission can assist you with issues of discrimination, such as disability rights, race and sex discrimination, and information regarding rights and freedoms.
Educational institutions offer a range of services aimed at supporting your academic journey. Whether you’re enrolled in a university, TAFE or VET provider, these institutions are committed to enhancing your learning experience. This commitment translates into services including academic assistance, employment guidance, and social support in the form of student clubs, societies and associations.
International student services can vary among different educational institutions. To gain more insight, explore your institution’s website or consult its student services department.
Image courtesy of Visit Victoria.
When you study in Victoria, the Study Melbourne Hub is here to support you every step of the way. From events to study spaces to legal advice, you’ll find everything you need to make the most of your international study experience.