Not only is Melbourne of the world’s most liveable cities, but it’s also one of the world’s best student cities. With several quality education providers and more than 200,000 international students, Australia’s cultural capital is a genuine student hub.

With such a huge focus on education, it’s only natural that government bodies, education providers and other organisations offer a variety of helpful services and resources to international students in Melbourne. From academic and legal advice to assistance with accommodation and employment, there are several support services available to ensure you have a positive experience studying in Melbourne.  

Study Melbourne

Study Melbourne is your go-to for advice on a range of issues. It is a Victorian Government initiative that delivers a variety of services to help you make the most of your study experience and seek assistance when you need it.

The Study Melbourne Student Centre provides study spaces, events and workshops, and free legal advice. You can also access crisis assistance and get support on everything from health, safety and work rights to accommodation, employment and managing your finances. Multi-lingual staff are available at the Centre, meaning you can easily seek help in your language.

Make sure to download Study Melbourne’s ‘Unlock Melbourne’ App to learn more about the various services on offer.

Educational institutions

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

If you have a complaint about your private education provider, contact the Overseas Students Ombudsman (OSO) for free support. For complaints about a public education provider (which includes most universities and TAFE institutes), you should contact the Victorian Ombudsman (VO).

You can get in touch with the OSO or VO 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. You can contact the VO or OSO regarding:

  • Education fees and refunds
  • Misleading information from an education agent
  • Enrolment cancellation
  • Issues with work or accommodation organised by your education provider

Accommodation issues

While moving into new accommodation and gaining independence is an exciting experience, sometimes issues can occur. Finding accommodation can be difficult in a new country and there’s a risk that landlords or other housemates may take advantage of international students.

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) is a Government initiative that can help with accommodation issues. You’ll find plenty of information on the CAV website that will educate you on your rental rights. You can also contact CAV directly if you need assistance.

Tenants Victoria is an additional resource for issues with renting, such as repairs or disputes with other tenants or your landlord. You can also call the Tenants Victoria helpline on 03 9416 2577 if you need advice on a particular issue.

Before renting, you should learn how to avoid rental scams and consider some of the must-ask questions when looking for accommodation so you don’t get caught out.

Medical assistance

Staying physically and mentally healthy is crucial to a positive study experience. Your education provider should be your first point of contact for physical or mental health assistance, as they often provide on-site services. Otherwise, you can seek help elsewhere.

Physical health

If you are studying in Australia, you will already have compulsory Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). This cover 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 000 for emergency services.

Mental health

Mental health problems are common, but international students may be especially prone due to the stress of living in a new country and the risk of experiencing homesickness. There are several services available in Melbourne, such as Beyond Blue, which offers free online and phone support, as well as a number of resources that are available in different languages.

Most educational institutions also provide counselling and other mental health support to international students.

Sexual health

The Melbourne Sexual Health Centre has a range of services available, including counselling, advice on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and contraception, STI testing, vaccinations and more. The centre is free to visit for international students.

You can also chat to your doctor about sexual health-related matters.

Legal advice

Inner Melbourne Community Legal has free legal information for international students on its website. There are several resources available that cover your legal rights regarding accommodation, relationships, fines, education and more. These can be downloaded in a range of languages.

Study Melbourne can also help with free legal advice. Head to the Student Centre on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays to chat to a lawyer about a variety of issues.

Otherwise, you can find your closest community legal centre here.  

Employment Help

Australia is a fantastic place to work, with great job opportunities and some of the highest wages in the world. However, this is another area in which international students can be vulnerable to exploitation. The Fair Work Ombudsman can help you with issues such as being underpaid, poor working conditions, and unfair termination.

Additionally, Study Melbourne offers a free legal service focused on work rights. You can also visit the Study Melbourne Student Centre to attend workshops on all kinds of employment-related topics, including perfecting your resume, volunteering, professional development, and more.

Get to know Melbourne

If you’re new to the city, there are a few ways you can become a little more familiar with Melbourne. Take a free walking tour or pick up one of our print guides to Melbourne to discover the best places to visit around the city.

Making new friends is another way to get to know your new home. Many international students meet friends through classes, clubs and societies, but other avenues include Meetup.com or Facebook groups like International Students of Melbourne and Victoria.

The Study Melbourne Student Centre also hosts regular meet-ups for international students, where you can get to know like-minded people and make plenty of new connections. Make sure to keep an eye on the Study Melbourne website for updates.