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SCU International

Living in Australia

Step 1: Emergency Only Contacts

Police/Ambulance/Fire Brigade: Call 000
SCU Crisis Line: 1300 782 676
SCU International After Hours: 1800 732 551

Step 2: Find long-term accommodation

Visit the UniStays website

UniStays has important information to help you search for accommodation. Southern Cross University has accommodation officers at the Gold Coast, Lismore and Coffs Harbour campuses. Before you search for accommodation, talk to the accommodation officer so they can assist you. To find out more, visit: scu.edu.au/accommodation.

Understand the rental process

Before you rent accommodation in Australia, it is important you understand the rental process and your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. Before you look for accommodation, make sure you visit one of the websites below so you are familiar with the tenancy information relevant to the state where you will be living. If you are renting in New South Wales: Department of Fair Trading. If you are renting in Queensland: Residential Tenancies Authority.

Things to consider when choosing long-term accommodation

Property location and property features

Is the property close to transport, shops and campus or in a noisy area or on a busy road?

Is the place furnished? What kind of furniture? Is there a refrigerator and washing machine? Are there laundry facilities? Are there enough electrical power points to plug in your electrical appliances without overloading electrical power boards? Is there a telephone line already connected?

Safety and security

Is there good security? Where locks are fitted on doors, can they be opened from the inside without a key? Do front and back doors open easily from the inside to allow escape in case of fire? Is a smoke alarm fitted outside your bedroom (by law smoke alarms must be fitted and maintained)? Does the smoke alarm operate correctly? You can test the smoke alarm by pressing the test button.

Choosing a roommate

The task of choosing a roommate needs to be taken very seriously. The person or persons with whom one decides to live can affect the quality and productiveness of a student's experience in Australia.

You should also consider the following:

  • Bills and Expenses: How do roommates expect to share the costs?
  • Food: Do the roommates expect to share the costs of buying food and share in the preparation or have specific food needs you need to respect.
  • Drinking alcohol: Consider when alcohol is consumed and respect others wishes not to drink alcohol.
  • Cleaning: Some students come from a culture where they have not ever been responsible for household cleaning. It is important that you share responsibility for cleaning.
  • Men and women living together: For many students this is the first time they have lived with someone of the opposite gender that they do not know. Be mindful of this in common areas and respect people's personal space.
  • Respect: others needs and discuss matters which make you uncomfortable.
  • Smoking and Drugs: Consider the preference of having a smoker or non-smoker as a roommate. Clarify a household rule on the use of alcohol and/or illicit substances.
  • Where to get help and advice: If you have any concerns about your rental situation please refer to the tenancies authorities listed earlier in this section.
Signing a lease

The owner or agent of an owner of a rental property is called the landlord. The person renting the property is called the tenant. A landlord will ask for a security deposit or bond which is usually equal to four weeks' rent. A bond/security deposit is an amount of money that is supposed to guarantee that the tenant will care for the dwelling. If the tenant does not care for the property or clean it before leaving, the landlord has a legal right to keep some or all of the security deposit. Otherwise, the landlord must return the security deposit within a month after the tenant leaves. The Bond is generally kept with a State Authority.

The landlord will require the tenant to sign a lease. A lease is a written agreement between a tenant and a landlord that describes the responsibilities of each party. This is a binding legal document that commits the tenant to a specific period of residency in the unit.

Inspection of property

Most landlords or real estate agents will inspect the property with a tenant on commencement of the tenancy. This is done with a list of furniture and fittings in each room of the property so that the agent and tenant can agree on the condition of the property at the commencement of the rental. Make sure that any damage is noted on this document so you are not held responsible for it and that you receive a copy that has been signed by both the agent and tenant. Once this document is signed the condition of the property is the tenant's responsibility. This will be reviewed at the end of the tenancy and the final condition of the property may determine the return of the bond/security deposit. If this inspection is not suggested, you should request it as a means of ensuring fair treatment for all parties involved. During the inspection you should check that there are working fire alarms in the house. It is a requirement that landlords provide these.

Connecting to utilities: electricity/gas/phone/internet

Unless someone is already living in the dwelling, the new tenant must start utility services, such as telephone, electricity, and gas. This requires contacting each individual company and arranging for the services to be connected from a specified date. The companies providing these utilities also require a small security deposit.

Smoke alarms

These are devices that detect smoke and sound an alarm. Smoke alarms alert and wake people allowing valuable time to get out of a house during a fire. When a person goes to sleep, their sense of smell also goes to sleep. If there is a fire, toxic fumes may overcome a person before they wake up. It is a legal requirement that a smoke alarm must be installed in every home. We recommend once a month check the battery by pressing the test button on the smoke alarm. If the button is out of reach, use a broom handle to press the test button.

Restrictions

The lease may contain restrictions, such as not permitting animals or children in the dwelling. Each landlord will have his or her own particular requirements. Make sure that all these restrictions are known and understood before signing the lease. If the restrictions on the lease are not obeyed, the landlord can terminate the lease.

Step 3: Internet providers and telephones

Internet providers

Before you choose a provider, think about what services you will need such as mobile phone, land line and internet. Australia has many service providers and it is important that you consider which provider and plan best suits your needs. Also consider your location in Australia, as not all providers have suitable access in regional areas. We recommend you visit the Department of Communications website for detailed information.

Telephones

Public pay phones

  • Australia has public pay phones.
  • Use coins or prepaid telephone cards.
  • A local call is 50 cents.
  • Calls to international, interstate, long distance and mobile phones are based on the duration of the call and the cost can vary depending on time of day and distance. Discounts may be available on Sundays and off-peak periods.
  • Pre-paid telephone cards offer competitive rates and can be purchased at most newsagencies, post offices and convenience stores and the The Co-op (located on most campuses).

How to make domestic calls

Dial: area code + local number

Area Code States:
07 QLD
02 ACT, NSW
03 VIC, TAS
08 SA, WA, NT

How to make international calls

Dial: 0011 + international access code + area code without the first zero + local phone number
For example: to call China from Australia you would dial 0011 + 81 + area code (no 0) + Local number.

Australia's country code is 61.

For more information visit: Whitepages.

Step 4: Know your local transport options

Gold Coast transport options

Gold Coast Public Transport

The Gold Coast City Council provides an updated list of transport options available in the region.

Local buses

Surfside Buslines: www.surfside.com.au
Translink: translink.com.au

Use the Translink 'journey planner' to help you to find the most convenient means of transport to your chosen destination on the Gold Coast as well as to Brisbane and other destinations in the surrounding districts.

Local taxis

Tweed Taxis T: 133 422
Gold Coast Cabs T: 131 008

Train and coach services

Queensland Rail: The closest railway station to SCU is located at Varsity Lakes.

Countrylink Train & Coach Service: Coach stop for southbound coaches is at the bus interchange, outside Centro Shopping Centre (near Woolworths), Wharf Street, Tweed Heads. Coach stop for northbound coaches is at the bus Interchange opposite Chris Cunningham Park, Wharf Street, Tweed Heads.

Additional information about travelling to the SCU Gold Coast campus is available on the Travel to SCU page.

Lismore transport options

University shuttle bus

The University provides a free shuttle bus service to its members upon presentation of a student card. This service departs the bus stop outside the SCU Gym and Pool. Shuttle bus timetables are available from the student activities officer or student services.

Local buses

Northern Rivers Buslines: The University Bus Stop is located outside A block and Y block. From here you can catch a Northern Rivers Buslines to almost anywhere in Lismore. Bus timetables are available from the student activities officer or student services.

Lismore late night bus service: Lismore City Council has a bus service for late night passengers needing transport from the central business district - the Lismore Late Nighter. The service operates every Saturday night, between 11.30pm and 3.45am, travelling from the CBD to most suburban areas of Lismore. Fares are $3.00 each way, and a security officer accompanies the bus from midnight.

Local taxis

Lismore Taxis T: 131 008

Train and coach services

Countrylink Train & Coach Service.

Transit Centre: (02) 6621 8620

Corner Molesworth and Magellan Streets, Lismore This is where all buses to/from the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sydney stop. The Transit Centre also has information and timetables for buses and other transport services available in the Lismore area.

Additional information about travelling to the SCU Lismore campus is available on the Travel to SCU page.

Coffs Harbour transport options

Local buses

Sawtell Coaches: The University bus stop is located under the canteen on the ground floor. From here you can catch a bus to almost anywhere in Coffs Harbour. Bus timetables are available from the student association.

International students can request a discount on Sawtell Coaches and Ryans Bus Service. Services to the north between Coffs and Grafton including towns in between such as Korora, Moonee Beach, Sandy Beach, Emerald Beach, Woolgoolga.

Services between Coffs and Sawtell / Toormina
Busways

Services around Coffs Harbour and also south to/from Macksville,Nambucca, Valla, Urunga and Bellingen
Ryans Bus Service

Local taxis

Coffs Harbour Taxis T: 131 008

Train and coach services

Countrylink Train & Coach Service. A coach stop is located on the corner of Elizabeth and Maclean Street,Coffs Harbour and the train station is at Angus McLeod Place, Coffs Harbour.

SCU bikes

Coffs Harbour campus has a free bike loan scheme for international students. This allows the students to borrow one of our bicycles, free of charge, for the duration of their studies. The students are expected to maintain the bikes and return them in their original condition. Students must provide their own helmets and locks. For more information please contact SCU International at Coffs Harbour.

Additional information about travelling to the SCU Coffs Harbour campus is available on the Travel to SCU page.

Driving in Australia

If you are going to drive in Australia, no matter whether you are an experienced driver and have an international driver's licence, you must know the road rules before you attempt to drive. Many lives are lost on Australian roads every year and international visitors are at high risk. If you come from a country where you drive on the opposite side of the road to Australia it is sometimes helpful to have a companion drive with you to ensure you both take note of traffic conditions and signs until you are more familiar with driving on the left side of the road.

Owning a car

Any motor vehicle you own must be registered before you drive it on the road. You must register it in your name and provide the State car registration board with your driver's licence details and your residential address in Australia.

It is recommended that you have car insurance if you own a car, this will protect you if you have an accident that is your fault as it will help pay for any damage you may have caused to your car or another car.

Licence requirements

In Australia, laws and driving regulations differ from state to state. See the Australian Government information about driving in Australia.

A copy of the Australian road rules can be found on the National Transport Commission website.

Some road rules differ within each state and territory. Contact the relevant Roads and Maritime Authority below for further information.

Demerit Points Scheme

The Demerit Points Scheme is a national program that allocates penalty points (demerits) for a range of driving offences. The scheme is designed to encourage safe and responsible driving. Along with financial penalties, demerit points provide a strong incentive to drive within the law. Different offences have a different number of demerit points, please refer to the relevant Road and Traffic authority.

Drinking and driving - blood alcohol limits

Random breath testing (RBT) of drivers for blood alcohol levels and drug use is common at any time of the day or night. Police officers have the right to stop any vehicle at any time and require the driver to supply samples for screening. Any person driving a motor vehicle is required by law to have less than a specified amount of alcohol in their blood. If a driver exceeds the level which applies to them the driver has committed an offence.

Walking and cycling

Walking

Most streets have paved footpaths and pedestrian crossings to ensure comfort and safety. Most busy roads have marked pedestrian crossings or traffic light crossings. A pedestrian crossing is a designated point on a road at which you can safely cross. A pedestrian crossing that is not at a set of traffic lights is signposted and is generally marked with white stripes that run across the road (and is therefore sometimes referred to as a zebra crossing).

At traffic light crossings, wait for the 'green man' on the traffic light to appear before crossing the road. Do not begin to cross the road if the ('red man' on the traffic light appears. Where there are no pedestrian crossings or traffic lights nearby, please cross the road very carefully looking both ways before crossing to ensure there is no oncoming traffic. Look right, then left and then right again before attempting to cross.

Cycle

Bicycles are relatively easy to find second hand in local newspaper classifieds, university noticeboards, or new from a local store. Please note you are required by law to wear a bicycle helmet when riding your bike and police could fine you if you do not. It is also recommended that you buy a lock for your bike.

Step 5: Find local shopping facilities

Know how to purchase items

The most common methods of purchasing items are by cash or EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale). EFTPOS allows you to use the key card attached to your Australian bank account to make purchases and you may be able to withdraw cash at the same time.

Hire purchase agreements are a type of loan agreement where a deposit is paid, with monthly payments following, until the whole amount plus interest is paid. If you intend to purchase items on hire purchase you should be sure of your ability to make the required repayments. Failure to do so may result in the goods being repossessed. Some students have experienced problems meeting monthly repayments and eventually have lost both the money they have already paid, and the goods they purchased, through this system.

Gold Coast shopping options

Downtown Coolangatta

The central shopping area encompasses Griffith Street and the surrounding area. You will find a variety of retail outlets, banks, cafes, restaurants, movie theatres, hotels and other businesses along the main street and arcades. Shops are generally open 9:00am - 5:00pm Monday to Friday and 9:00am - 12:00 midday Saturday and closed on Sunday.

Centro Tweed

This enclosed shopping centre is located on the corner of Wharf and Bay Streets in Tweed Heads. It has a variety of shops and businesses, supermarkets, department stores, banks, Australia Post, medical centres, pharmacies and a food court. Most shops in the centre have extended opening hours including late night shopping until 9:00pm on Thursdays, and are open on Saturday 9:00am - 5.30pm and Sunday 10:00am - 4:00pm.

Tweed City

This enclosed shopping centre is located on Minjungbal Drive in South Tweed Heads and includes supermarkets, department stores, banks, Australia Post, medical centres, pharmacies,movie theatre and food court. Most shops in the centre have extended opening hours including late night shopping until 9:00pm on Thursdays, and are open on Saturday 9:00am - 4:00pm and Sunday 10:00am - 3:00pm.

Aldi Supermarket

Showcase on the Beach, Coolangatta and Machinery Drive, South Tweed Heads. It stocks some European brands and products as well as Australian brands and local produce.

Speciality Food Supplies

Most supermarkets have speciality food sections that offer a sll range of products from different countries and regions around the world in specially marked aisles. There are also international food suppliers on the Gold Coast (check the Yellow Pages for details) including the following:

Mabuhay Tweed Asian Supermarket 44B Wharf Street, Tweed Heads 2485
Exotic Asian Groceries T: 07 5526 1893 2475 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach 4218

Halal Food

Halalsquare provides good information about Halal food options in Australia including groceries that can be purchased at local supermarkets.

Markets

Local open-air markets are a great place to buy locally grown organic produce and second-hand bargains.

Saturday Markets:
Every Saturday: Palm Beach Food and Farmers Market, Currumbin State High School

2nd and 4th Saturday of the month: Kingscliff Lions Beachside Market

Sunday Markets:
Every Sunday: Tweed Heads Markets - Police Citizen's Youth Club on Recreation Street at Tweed Heads

1st and 3rd Sunday of the month:
Banora Point Farmers Market - Club Banora

2nd Sunday of the month:
Coolangatta Beachfront Fair, Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Lismore shopping options

Downtown Lismore

This is the central shopping area that includes Molesworth, Woodlark, Magellan and Keen Streets and their surrounds. You will find a variety of retail outlets, banks, businesses, cafes, restaurants, movie theatres and hotels along the main streets and arcades. Shops are generally open 9:00am - 5:00pm Monday to Friday; 9:00am - 12:00 midday Saturday and closed on Sunday.

Lismore Square

This is an enclosed shopping centre located on the corner of Brewster and Uralba Streets. It has a variety of shops and businesses including banks, supermarkets, department stores, and a food court. Supermakets and some shops in 'The Square' have extended opening hours including late night shopping until 8:00pm on Thursdays, and are open on Saturday 9:00am - 4:00pm and Sunday 10:00am - 2:00pm.

Lismore Central

This enclosed shopping centre is located in Carrington Street and has a variety of retail outlets, supermarkets, chemist and cafes. Opening hours are similar to Lismore Square.

Aldi Supermarket

Located between Conway and Ballina Streets. This supermarket stocks some European brands and products as well as Australian brands and local produce and is open seven days a week.

Speciality Food Supplies

Most supermarkets have speciality food sections that offer a small range of products from different countries and regions around the world and there are signs along each aisle to help you to find these.

There is an Asian specialty store on the corner of Dalley Street and Wyrallah Road.

Halal Food

Halalsquare provides good information about Halal food options in Australia including groceries that can be purchased at local supermarkets.

Goonellabah Quality Meats T: 02 6625 1264 Shop 659 Ballina Rd, Goonellabah. Phone in advance to order Halal meats.

Markets

Local open-air markets are a great place to buy locally grown organic produce and second-hand bargains.

Saturday Markets:
3rd Saturday of the month: Mullumbimby

Sunday Markets:
1st Sunday of the month: Byron Bay, Lismore Car Boot Market
2nd Sunday of the month: The Channon and Alstonville
3rd Sunday of the month: Ballina, Nimbin and Lismore Car Boot Market
4th Sunday of the month: Bangalow
5th Sunday of the month: Lennox Head

Farmer's and Produce MarketsTuesday: Lismore Organic Farmer's Market (at the Showgrounds)
Thursday (3 pm - 6 pm): Lismore Produce Market (in Magellan Street)
Saturday(8 am - 11 am): Lismore Farmer's Market (at the Showgrounds)

Coffs Harbour shopping options

Coffs Harbour Mall

The mall and its surrounds has a variety of retail outlets and shops are generally open 9:00am - 5:00pm Monday to Friday and 9:00am - 12:00 midday Saturday and closed on Sunday.

Park Beach Plaza

The plaza is located just off the Pacific Highway in Coffs Harbour and has around 120 shops including chain-stores, boutiques and supermarkets, a 250-seat food court, Australia Post and branches of the major banks. Most shops in the centre have extended opening hours including late night shopping until 7.30pm on Thursdays, and are open on Saturday 9:00am - 5:00pm and Sunday 10:00am - 3:00pm.

The Palms Shopping Centre

This centre is located in Harbour Drive and also contains a supermarket, Australia Post, department stores, and other retail outlets. Most shops in the Centre are open from 9.00 to 5.30 pm weekdays, with late night shopping until 7.30pm on Thursdays, and Saturday 9:00am - 4:00pm and Sunday 10:00am - 2.00 pm.

Centro Toormina

This enclosed shopping centre is located on Toormina Road and has a variety of shops and businesses, supermarkets, department stores, banks, Australia Post, medical centres, pharmacies and a food court. Most shops in the centre have extended opening hours including late night shopping until 7:00pm on Thursdays, and are open on Saturday 9:00am - 4:00pm and Sunday 10.00am - 2.00pm.

Speciality Food Supplies

Most supermarkets have speciality food sections that offer a small range of products from different countries and regions around the world and there are signs along each aisle to help you to find these.

Halal Food

Halalsquare provides good information about Halal food options in Australia including groceries that can be purchased at local supermarkets.

Markets

Local open-air markets are a great place to buy locally grown organic produce and second-hand bargains.

Saturday Markets:
3rd Saturday of every month: Bellingen Community Markets

Sunday Markets:
Every Sunday: Coffs Harbour Jetty Markets

Weekday MarketsEvery 2nd Thursday morning of the month: Coffs Mall Markets

Step 6: Manage your finances

Open a bank account

SCU International recommends you open an account at a bank, credit union or building society while you are in Australia to manage your money easily. Banks, credit unions and building societies all offer a full range of banking services, including access to Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs), online banking and savings.Banks are generally only open during business hours. However deposits, withdrawals and transfers may be made at any time through ATMs at many locations. If you are using a debit card from an overseas account it is important to check what fees they charge for transactions. You may also be charged if you use an ATM not associated with your bank. Make sure you know your own bank's procedures for lost or stolen cards. You should be aware of your personal safety if accessing cash from an ATM at night in quiet areas where there are not many people around.

The following major Australian banks have branches Australia wide:

Banks, credit unions, building societies and ATMs can be found in the main street and in shopping centres in your local area.

Setting up a bank account

Many banks have 'student accounts' which contain no or minimal fees for transactions normally attached to regular savings accounts. You will be required to show your student ID card as proof; along with other personal identification to establish your identity. Your passport and proof of your arrival date in Australia will be acceptable if you open an account within six weeks of arrival in Australia. After this time you will be required to produce additional documentation.

Banking hours

Most banks in Australia are open from Monday to Thursday 9.30am to 4pm and Friday from 9.30am to 5.00pm (excluding Public Holidays) and usually not open on weekends. However some bank, credit union and building society branches have extended trading hours during the week and open on Saturdays. Check your chosen financial institution for details.

Bank fees

Bank fees are the cost for the products and services that banks offer. Each bank charges different fees for its products and services. Ask your bank for a list of their fees and charges.

Lost or stolen cards

If your ATM or credit card is lost or stolen, notify the bank immediately to enable the bank to put an immediate stop on your card.

Safety when carrying money

There are two fundamental rules of safety when carrying money:

Rule Number 1: Don't carry large amounts of cash.
Rule Number 2: Don't tell people that you are carrying money.

Bank and ATM locations

Lismore

  • Banks, credit unions and building societies - Major banks as well as credit unions and building societies can be found in the main business area. The Lismore campus of SCU has a Summerland Credit Union branch, located in Goodman Plaza (which also acts as a cashier on campus).
  • ATMs - Summerland Credit Union branch has an ATM located in Goodman Plaza, Lismore campus. There are several ATMs in the main business district in Lismore, Lismore Central Shopping complex and Lismore Shopping Square.

Gold Coast

  • Banks, credit unions and building societies - major banks, credit unions and building societies can be found in Griffith Street, Coolangatta and in all major shopping centres such as Centro Tweed.
  • ATMs - SCU Gold Coast campus has an ATM on Level 1 in the foyer area of Building A and ATMs can also be found in Griffith Street, Coolangatta and in the local shopping centres.

Coffs Harbour

  • Banks, credit unions and building societies - The major banks, credit unions and building societies can be found in the main business district of Coffs Harbour.
  • ATMs - There are several ATMs in all shopping centres including Park Beach Plaza, Centro Toormina and the Palms Shopping Centre. There is also an ATM at the Coffs Harbour campus of SCU in F Block.

Budget for weekly living expenses

It is important you consider ongoing expenses you are likely to encounter while living in Australia. Your visa conditions require you to have sufficient funds to cover living expenses and tuition fees while you are studying. Consider all your expenses so you can budget more effectively. There are financial information sessions made available to you during Orientation week to help you manage a budget. Contact SCU International if you require any further counselling on finance and budgeting.

We recommend you visit the Study in Australia website to guide you on average living costs. Orientation Week also provides useful information and activities to help you budget effectively while living and studying in Australia.

Step 7: Find health and medical services

Understand your OSHC insurance

OSHC is insurance that provides cover for the costs of medical and hospital care which international students may need while in Australia. It is a visa requirement that you maintain your OSHC. It provides a safety net for medical expenses for international students, similar to that provided to Australians through Medicare. Additionally, OSHC includes access to some private hospitals and day surgeries. OSHC will also cover the cost of emergency ambulance transport and most prescription drugs over $30. You may also take out additional cover for benefits not covered by the OSHC policy.

Some students from countries whose governments have reciprocal health agreements for students in Australia may be exempt from paying the OSHC. Only some Reciprocal Health Agreements cover students in Australia, some will only cover visitors. You should determine if you are eligible before you apply for your visa to come to Australia.

If you are a study abroad student only studying for one session and you elected to come on a working holiday visa you must show proof of medical insurance. If you have come to Australia on a visa other than a student visa and undertake a short course of study of three months duration or less you will not be eligible for OSHC. You must purchase your own travel or private medical insurance in this case.

The Department of Health provides information about OSHC.

BUPA is SCU's preferred OSHC provider. Visit their website for more information about what is covered, how to make claims and how to renew your insurance. For detailed information on OSHC and looking after your health in Australia, refer to the 'Health and Wellbeing' section of the Student Welcome Services tutorial.

Accessing medical services

What to do if you are sick?

If it is an emergency, call 000.

If you need to make an appointment with a doctor in your local area (please see some options in the list of in the campus sections below or go to the Yellow Pages. Phone the GP's surgery or medical centre to make an appointment as soon as you start to feel ill. It may not be possible to get an appointment on the same day. You may have to wait one or two working days before you can see a doctor. You can ask to be put on the waiting list. Alternatively, you can try to make an appointment elsewhere. If you need assistance in making a doctors appointment, contact SCU International and they will assist you.

Please let SCU International know if you have been admitted to hospital or are seriously ill so we can support you and can notify relevant staff of any medical conditions which might impact on your academic progression.

Things to know when you attend your doctors appointment

The doctor will ask questions about your health and may give a brief physical examination, such as checking your breathing, ears, throat etc. The doctor will then give you advice regarding management of your illness, and may give a prescription for medication. If your illness is more serious or the doctor is unsure of a diagnosis, they may request further tests (e.g. blood tests or x-rays), or to see a specialist doctor. It is important to note if you are dissatisfied with the diagnosis or service of the doctor, you have the right to obtain an opinion from another doctor. If you decide to attend an emergency department to see a doctor, be prepared to wait a very long time. It is not uncommon to wait more than 3 hours, and at some hospitals you could wait as long as 5-6 hours to see a doctor.

Prescription medication

If your GP decides that medication will help your condition, they will give you a prescription. A prescription lists your details, your GP's details, and the name and quantity of the medication you should receive. Take the prescription to a pharmacy or chemist, and they will provide you with your medication. When the pharmacist gives you your medication, you will have to sign a form that confirms you have received it, and then pay for the medication. Medication prescribed by your doctor is not free. It is important that you follow the directions on the pack, this will include information of the dosage (i.e. how much medication you should take), and how often you should take it.

Pharmacies/chemists

GP surgeries do not have medications to dispense to you. You must take the prescription given to you by the doctor to a pharmacy or chemist to obtain the medication. You will need to provide the pharmacy with your OSHC card, your full name and address. You are able to walk in off the street to any pharmacy/chemist in Australia and you will only have to wait a short time for your prescription medicine to be prepared. Pharmacies/chemists also provide a variety of over-the counter medications useful for treating colds, headaches, allergies and the like which do not require a prescription.

Dental and optical services

Dental and optical health services are not covered by your OSHC unless you take out extra cover. If you need to see a dentist or optometrist you will need to make an appointment and pay the full fee of this service. To find dental and optical service providers in your local area, visit Yellow Pages.

Translation and Interpreter service (TIS)

In Australia we have a variety of health care professionals from many different cultural backgrounds, so you may be able to see a doctor who speaks your first language. However, if you are having difficulties communicating with your doctor, you can use the Translation and Interpreter Service website.

For detailed information about looking after your health in Australia and some useful tips, refer to the 'Health and Wellbeing' section on the Student Welcome Services site.

Gold Coast medical services

Hospitals

Gold Coast Hospital (Public)
108 Nerang Street, Southport QLD
T: (07) 5519 8211

Tweed Heads District Hospital (Public)
Florence Street, Tweed Heads
T: (07) 5536 1133

John Flynn Private Hospital (Private)
42 Inland Drive, Tugun QLD
T: (07) 5598 9000

John Flynn - Emergency Department
42 Inland Drive, Tugun QLD
T: (07) 5598 9001

Medical centres

Healthwise Medical Centre - Shop 49, Tweed Centro
Cnr Wharf and Bay Streets, Tweed Heads NSW
T: (07) 5536 8811

Showcase Medical Centre
Showcase On The Beach, Griffith Street, Coolangatta QLD
T: (07) 5536 6771

Tweed Surgery
36 Wharf Street, Tweed Heads NSW
T: (07) 5524 4888

After hours medical centres

Tweed Heads After Hours Medical Centre
56 Wharf Street, Tweed Heads NSW
T: (07) 5532 8666

Palm Beach After Hours Medical Centre
20-24 Palm Beach Avenue, Palm Beach QLD
T: (07) 5532 8666

Southport After Hours Medical Centre
125 Nerang Street, Southport QLD
T: (07) 5532 8666

X-ray

South Coast Radiology - Tweed Day Surgery and Specialist Centre,
38 Boyd Street, Tweed Heads NSW
T: (07) 5536 6511

Gold Coast Medical Imaging
The Tweed Hospital, Powell Street,
Tweed Heads NSW
T: (07) 5506 7419

Gold Coast Medical Imaging
50 Wharf Street, Tweed Heads NSW
T: (07) 5536 3688

Dentists

If you wish to make an appointment to see a dentist you should go to a dental clinic. Dental service is not covered by your OSHC unless you have 'extras cover'. To find the closest dentist to your home, go to the Yellow Pages.

Medical examinations for immigration purposes

Medibank Health Solutions
10-12 Young Street, Southport QLD 4215
T: 1300 361 046
or book online via medibankhealth.com.au/immigration-visa-medicals.asp?t=Visa+medical&cid=58

Community health and sexual assault clinics

Tweed Heads Community Health Centre, Tweed Heads Hospital,
Florence Street, Tweed Heads NSW.
T: (07) 5506 7540

Lismore medical services

Hospitals

Lismore Base Hospital (Public)
Uralba Street, Lismore NSW
T: (02) 6621 8000

Lismore Base Hospital Emergency
Uralba Street, Lismore NSW
T: (02) 6620 2400

St Vincents Hospital (Private)
Dalley Street, Lismore NSW
T: (02) 6627 9600

Medical centres

SCU Medical Practice (within SCU Health Clinic
Military Road, Lismore NSW
Monday to Thursday 9.00am-5.00pm and Friday 9.00am-4.00pm.
The student support centre has a linked service to Medibank Private where a student swipes their Medibank card. There is a $10 gap which must be paid for by cash.
T: (02) 6626 9131

Keen Street Private Clinic
Weekdays 9.00am - 6.30 pm (doctors are on call all weekend.)
22 Keen Street, Lismore NSW T: (02) 6621 2371

After hours medical centre

Goonellabah Medical Centre
616 Ballina Road, Goonellabah NSW
T: (02) 6625 0000 or (02) 9963 3032

X-ray

North Coast Radiology
16 Keen Street, Lismore NSW
T: (02) 6625 9500

North Coast Radiology
St Vincent's Hospital, Dalley Street, Lismore
T: (02) 6625 9300

Dentists

If you wish to make an appointment to see a dentist you should go to a dental clinic. Dental service is not covered by your OSHC unless you have 'extras cover'. To find the closest dentist to your home, go to the Yellow Pages.

Womens health and sexual assault clinics

Lismore & District Women's Health Centre
60 Uralba Street, Lismore (opposite Lismore Shopping Square)
T: (02) 6621 9800

Richmond Sexual Assault Service
Lismore Base Hospital - Uralba Street, Lismore
T: (02) 6620 2970 or (02)6621 8000 (after hours)

Medical examinations for immigration purposes

Medibank Health Solutions
10-12 Young Street, Southport QLD 4215
T: 1300 361 046
or book online via medibankhealth.com.au/immigration-visa-medicals.asp?t=Visa+medical&cid=58

Coffs Harbour medical services

Hospitals

Coffs Harbour Base Hospital (Public)

345 Pacific Highway, Coffs Harbour
T: (02) 6656 7000

Coffs Harbour Base Hospital - Emergency Department
T: (02) 6656 7408

Baringa Private Hospital (Private)
31 Mackays Road, Coffs Harbour
T: (02) 6659 4444

Medical centres

SCU Medical Practice
SCU Coffs Harbour Campus
Thursdays 9.00am to 12 midday by appointment. Medical practitioner available during study sessions.
T: (02) 6659 3263

Coffs Medical Centre
42 Gordon Street, Coffs Harbour NSW
T: (02) 6648 5222

After Hours Medical Centres

Coffs Harbour After Hours Medical Service
(open from 6.00pm to 9.00pm weekdays)
Shop 26 Northside Shopping Centre
81 Park Beach Road, Coffs Harbour
T: (02) 6652 3055

X-ray

Coffs Harbour Radiology
140 West High Street, Coffs Harbour
T: (02) 6648 2700

Dentists

If you wish to make an appointment to see a dentist you should go to a dental clinic. Dental service is not covered by your OSHC unless you have 'extras cover'. To find the closest dentist to your home, go to the Yellow Pages.

After Hours and Emergency Dental Care

Le Hoa Surgery
Jetty Village Shopping Centre
T: (02) 6652 4568
After Hours T: (02) 6651 1079

Sexual Assault Clinics

Women's Health Centre
74 Victoria Street, Coffs Harbour
T: (02) 6652 8111

After Hours: Emergency Department, located at the Coffs Harbour
Health Campus - 345 Pacific Highway, Coffs Harbour

Medical examinations for immigration purposes

Dr David Malikoff
Port Family Practice
3/85 Lord Street, Port Macquarie
T: (02) 6583 2400 (Phone first for an appointment)

Medibank Health Solutions
T: 1300 361 046 or book online via medibankhealth.com.au/immigration-visa-medicals.asp?t=Visa+medical&cid=58

Step 8: Important safety and security tips

Safety in Australia

While Australia is considered to be a safe country, you should ALWAYS take precautions to maximise your safety and security. Study in Australia also provides useful information about your health and safety.

Tips on home and public safety

  • Complete the readings and comprehension checks for the 'Home and Public Safety' and 'Transport' units in the Student Welcome Services.
  • Lock all doors and windows when you are not at home.
  • Do not leave valuable items in view at home or in your car.
  • Do not walk alone at night, walk with a friend or catch a taxi.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and avoid unsafe places.
  • Do not leave personal belongings unattended.
  • Check public transport timetables to avoid waiting for extended periods of time.
  • Sexual Assault is a criminal offense - if you are assaulted, call the police on 000 immediately, and contact the International Student Adviser for support and assistance or 1800 732 551 outside business hours.

Tips on fire safety

  • Complete the reading and comprehension check for the 'Fire Safety' unit of the Student Welcome Services.
  • Check that your accommodation has suitable smoke alarms fitted and in working order.
  • Call 000 in the event of a fire.

Tips on beach, water and bush safety

  • Complete the reading and comprehension check for the 'Beach, Water and Bush Safety' unit of the Student Welcome Services.
  • Always swim at patrolled beaches between the red and yellow flags.
  • Protect your skin from the sun, especially between 10am-3pm.
  • Always wear a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and protective clothing outdoors.
  • Do not touch or feed native animals.
  • Make sure someone knows your travel plans and always stay on a road or a walking track.
  • Take plenty of water and wear covered shoes and a hat when bushwalking.

Bites and stings

  • Many bites or stings from insects, snakes, ticks and marine creatures are poisonous. Visit the Department of Health website for more specific information.
  • If you suspect you have a poisonous bite, call 000.

Know where your local Police station is

Lismore Police Station
5 Zadoc St, Lismore
T: (02) 6626 0599

Tweed Heads Police Station
50-54 Recreation St, Tweed Heads
T: 131 444

Coolangatta Police Station
143 Musgrave St, Coolangatta
T: (07) 5589 8444

Coffs Harbour Police Station
20 Moonee St, Coffs Harbour
T: (02) 6652 0299

Step 9: Understand Australian laws

Information about the Australian legal system

Australians enjoy freedom in their daily lives. We can live where we want, say what we want, dress how we want and have personal relationships with whomever we want. In being granted a visa to study in Australia, you signed a document (Australian Values Statement Temporary) agreeing to respect Australian values and obey the laws of Australia for the duration of your stay. As an international student, you must also obey these laws, even those that are different to the laws you live with at home.

Failure to comply with the laws of this land could result in a fine or the cancellation of your visa and possible deportation back home. If you are convicted of a serious crime, it could result in imprisonment.

SCU International is not permitted to give you legal assistance of any kind however if you are in a situation requiring legal advice you can make a confidential appointment with the international student adviser who can refer you to the appropriate legal service.

Some common laws you should be aware of include:

  • you cannot buy, sell, possess or use illicit drugs, including marijuana, amphetamines and opiates;
  • you cannot carry weapons, including knives and guns;
  • you must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, motorbike or scooter;
  • if you drive a car in Australia, you must have a driver's licence and make sure you are aware of and obey all road rules;
  • it is illegal to offer or receive a bribe for services, including those provided by a government official;
  • it is illegal to discriminate against any person because of their gender, race, country of origin, political beliefs, religious beliefs, marital status, disability or sexual preference; and
  • acts of violence against other people, property or animals is a criminal offence. This includes violence against family members.

You can find a comprehensive outline of Australian law and the legal system at www.australia.gov.au.

Additional information about the Australian legal system is also available on the Student Welcome Services tutorial.

Step 10: Make friends and connect with social/cultural groups

Make new friends

In a foreign culture it can seem more difficult to find people who you really 'get along' with. Making friends takes time, if you make the most of social opportunities during your life in Australia, it will be quicker and easier to make friends.

When you meet someone new, be cautious until you get to know the person better and feel you can trust him or her. If a stranger starts talking to you, they are probably just being friendly. But be safe, and don't give them your personal details like your full name, phone number or address. With people you don't know well, arrange to meet them in a public place (cafe or park), instead of inviting them to your home or going to theirs. In Australia it is acceptable to decline a request if you do not feel comfortable with a person.

Many international students spend time socialising with other students and people from their own country and culture while they're in Australia. These people can make you feel accepted and you may be able to communicate much more easily with them than you can with the locals, particularly when you have just arrived. When everything around you is new and different, it can feel like a big relief to find people from your own country and cultural background. But remember, you need to be careful at first, until you get to know them better. Even though you may feel like you have a lot in common, remain cautious until you feel you know them reasonably well and can trust them. Crimes against international students are sometimes committed by people from their own culture.

If you have any concerns or questions about someone you have met, or want to talk to someone about Australian mannerisms and communication 'norms' (widely acceptable behaviour), make an appointment to talk it over with your International Student Adviser.

Visit UniLife website

A very important part of settling in to your new environment is to connect with sport and social groups and support networks so that you can continue to participate in social and recreational activities that interest you. Southern Cross University has many services available to students to assist them with connecting to such groups and facilities while studying in Australia.

UniLife brings together the essential services students need and works closely with the various student associations to build a vibrant campus community adding to the student experience. Visit their website to connect with activities on and off campus.

Find a student association

All of our campuses have Student Representations and Student Associations. The student associations provide a variety of social, sporting, welfare and cultural events and activities, as well as offering products and services at greatly subsidised rates. Student Representations help students who have a problem or issue through active representation between its members and other student organisations in the University, the University administration and the regional community. Become a member of your Student Association now and enjoy all these benefits!

Find out about CISA

Council of International Students Australia (CISA) is the peak national student representative organisation for international students studying at the higher education level. CISA represent and advocate for the interests and needs of all international students on a broad number of topics, such as accommodation, immigration employment/work rights.

Find chaplaincy, faith and pastoral care

The Southern Cross University is fortunate in having chaplains at Gold Coast, Lismore and Coffs Harbour campuses who volunteer their time to assist members of the university community. Visit the Chaplaincy, multifaith and pastoral care website to find out more and to contact a chaplain on your campus who can assist you in connecting with major denominational churches or other major faiths in your local area.

Find childcare services

A variety of childcare options are available for children, including childcare centres, family day care, and preschools. Whether you choose a childcare centre, family day care centre, or preschool, carers are qualified and registered. Care is available from about 6 weeks of age upwards in family day care and childcare centres, and from 3 - 5 for preschools. Childcare in Australia can be costly. As a guide, expect to pay around $10 - $12 per hour in a childcare centre, and around $6 - $7 per hour in family day care. Dependants of international students are not eligible for subsidised childcare (with the exception of AusAID funded students). AusAID students are usually entitled to childcare subsidy benefits if their child is enrolled in a registered childcare centre, however this is usually dependent on the child being fully immunised. The subsidy can substantially reduce the costs.

Contact the Australian Government's Family Assistance Office for details on the Commonwealth Government Childcare Benefit Scheme.

Please note: While it is not a requirement that children entering childcare are fully immunised, some family day carers, child care centres, and pre-schools may not accept unimmunised children. You should bring all relevant immunisation documentation for your child with you when you come to Australia. The Australian Childcare Index provides an easy to use website where you can search by location and the different types of childcare in your area.

Family day care

This type of childcare is provided within a private home, with a small number of children in care. The care is usually an ongoing, regular arrangement, however occasional care may also be available in emergencies. Standard hours are 8.00am - 6.00pm, but after hours care is also available by arrangement. Some carers will provide meals at an additional charge. After school and holiday care is also available for school-aged children. The home has undergone safety inspections for suitability, and the carer is qualified and accredited.

Childcare centres

Childcare centres offer care from 8.00am - 6.00pm, Monday to Friday. They are in purpose built facilities, and offer care for babies up until the child reaches school age. Childcare centres usually offer structured early childhood play and learning activities. Some also provide meals. The Lismore campus has a children's centre on location, and all campus locations are serviced by a wide range of childcare centres located within the surrounding areas.

Preschools

Preschools offer early childhood education and care for children prior to starting formal schooling. Community-operated preschools are generally open to children aged between 3-5 years of ages and preschools attached to public schools are available to children aged 4-5 years of age. Like childcare centres they offer structured play and learning activities. Preschools do not offer a meal plan. Most preschools offer care between 8.30am and 3.00pm (some operate until 4.00pm), Monday to Friday. Charges are approximately $20-23 per day.

Playgroups and other activities and support

Playgroups offer a place for parents and their young children to meet with other parents and children to socialise and play together. Some playgroups are government funded and others are run by parents. Most playgroups are very low cost and some are free. Some libraries also offer activities for babies and young children, and their parents. Most playgroups only operate during the school terms.

For more information about childcare services in Australia, visit CareforKids

Gold Coast childcare services

  • Tweed Heads Family Day Care: 4 Park Street, Tweed Head NSW
  • Supported Playgroups: 41 Wilson Street, South Lismore (Old Scout Hall).
  • The Family Centre: 15-17 Rivendell Street, Tweed Heads South NSW. T: (07) 5524 8711. Family Centre Playgroup offers meeting places where children aged 0 - 3 years can play, while parents enjoy company and support. Playgroups are held during NSW school terms.
  • The Office for Early Childhood Education and Care provides information and contact details for a range of services and facilities available to families in Queensland, including day care, family day care, kindergartens and after school care services.
  • Tweed Heads Library: Civic Centre, Brett Street, Tweed Heads NSW T: (07) 5569 3150

Lismore childcare services

  • Lismore Family Day Care: 150 Laurel Avenue, Lismore NSW
  • Supported Playgroups: 41 Wilson Street, South Lismore (Old Scout Hall).
  • Supported play groups operate during school terms only: 101a Rous Road, Goonellabah. Contact Zoe Dodd E: zoed@ywcansw.com.au T: (02) 66255809
  • Playgroups NSW
    - Community based groups usually run by parents. Contact Birgit Eider, T: (02) 66245302 E: birgiteider.plg@gmail.com
    - Lismore East Playgroup - Baptist Church Hall, Uralba Street, Lismore. This is a parent run group. Contact Lisa Munn, T: 6629 0215.
  • Lismore Library - Goonellabah T: (02) 6625 1235 Lismore T: (02) 6621 2464

Coffs Harbour childcare services

  • Coffs Harbour Family Day Care - "The Cottage": 2 Peterson Road, Coffs Harbour NSW
  • Playgroup on Campus, TAFE: T: (02) 66593609 or T: (02) 66593641.
  • Coffs Harbour Family Support Services: Offer a variety of services for families. T: (02) 6659 2821
  • Family Centre: 7 McLean Street, Coffs Harbour NSW
  • Coffs Harbour Library: Branches at Woolgoolga and Toormina as well. T: (02) 6648 4900 or E: coffs.library@chcc.nsw.gov.au.

Find schools for ages 5-17

School attendance is compulsory for all children in Australia aged between six and 17 years of age, with most children commencing school at five years of age. In Australia, there are two main types of schools: government or state (which are public schools) and private or independent schools.

It is an immigration policy that school-age dependents of international students undertake formal schooling while they are in Australia. Students will need to provisionally enrol their children in a school before leaving their home country and will normally have to pay the school fees 12 months in advance.

School-age dependents of international students studying at the Lismore and Coffs Harbour campuses will be studying in New South Wales. School-age dependents of international students studying at the Tweed Heads and Gold Coast campuses will study in either New South Wales or Queensland. Where the student lives will have an influence on choice of school.

More information about attending school in New South Wales, can be found at the NSW Department of Education and Training International website: Temporary Residents Program.

More information about attending school in Queensland, can be found at the Education Queensland International website: Dependent Student Enrolment.

Step 12: Travel during study break

Travel information

While you are studying at Southern Cross University (SCU) we understand that you may want to travel within Australia and perhaps overseas. SCU has a range of services available to help you make the most of your time here.

Please ensure you notify SCU International, friends and family of your travel plans, emergency contact numbers and address so that everyone is aware of your departure and return dates to SCU.

Travel Notification

You are required to complete a 'Travel Notification Form' for overseas and domestic travel during your stay. Overseas forms must be completed for all overseas trips and domestic travel forms must be completed for trip durations of two nights or more unless your are participating in an organised SCU International trip. Forms may be obtained from the SCU International and should be returned to reception.

Please note the University is obliged to report students missing if SCU International staff are unable to contact you.

Travel Advice

Travel advice warnings are available from your Consulate website for your home country. The World Health Organisation provides health advice and up to date information regarding overseas travel - World Health Organisation Countries Guide

Travel Concession

The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) will allow you to get discounts on travel (not applicable to local Lismore buslines). To apply for the card at STA travel go to: STA travel

Travel agents

You will find numerous travel agents in the local area to seek travel advice and book and pay for tickets.

Airlines and coaches/trains

Lismore

Airlines

Coaches

Trains
Lismore is serviced by train via the township of Casino. A Countrylink coach service can transfer train passengers from Casino to Lismore.
Countrylink T: 132 232

Transit Centre
All buses to/from the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sydney stop at the Transit Centre. The Transit Centre has information and timetables for buses and other transport services available in the Lismore area.
T: 02 6621 8620 Corner Molesworth and Magellan St.

Gold Coast

Airlines

Coaches

Trains
The closest railway station to SCU is located at Varsity Lakes.

Coffs Harbour

Airlines

Coaches

Trains
CountrylinkT: 132 232
The train station is located at Angus McLeod Place, Coffs Harbour.