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Safety, health and wellbeing

Being away from family and friends, and working hard to complete your studies can be difficult. 

It's important to look after yourself and stay healthy and safe throughout your stay in Western Australia (WA).

On this page:
Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
Stress and wellbeing


Perth is generally a safe city. Here are some helpful to tips to stay safe.

Travel and entertainment

This information is a guide only and TAFE International Western Australia (TIWA) is not liable for any incident that should occur during a student's stay in WA. 

Police and emergency assistance

For life threatening emergencies (police, fire and ambulance) call 000 and request an interpreter if you need one. 000 is a free call.  Dial 112 from mobile phones. If the situation is not urgent and you would like to contact the police call 131 444. 

Police assistance(opens in a new tab) is available 24 hours a day in Australia. You can always approach police officers in the street or walk into any police station. Australian police are considered safe and reliable. If you need to contact the police regarding any international student issues please contact Mr Ibrahim Latheef, who can direct you to the most appropriate area within the WA Police to deal with your concern.  

Mr Ibrahim Latheef
Strategic Advisor
WA Police — Community Engagement Division
Level 3
2 Adelaide Terrace
East Perth

Beach safety

Beach flags (red and yellow flags) 

Red and yellow patrol flags on a beach mark the safest area to swim when an active lifesaving patrol is on the beach. You should always swim between the red and yellow flags, and at a beach patrolled by lifesavers. Never swim at unpatrolled beaches.


Australia has many wonderful and famous surf beaches but these can be extremely dangerous. A rip is a strong current running out to sea. Most rescues performed at beaches are because a swimmer has been caught in a rip. They usually happen when a channel forms between the shore and a sandbar, and large waves have built up water which then returns to sea causing a drag effect.

If you get caught in a rip, don’t panic – stay calm and raise your arm to signal for help.

Be sun smart

Use SPF30+ sunscreen, wear a long sleeve shirt and broad-brimmed hat to prevent cancer causing sunburn. The sun in Australia can be harsher than in other countries, meaning you can get sunburnt faster.

Bush and outback safety

Western Australia has many unique and beautiful places to explore. If you are travelling into the interior of the state, try to remember the following advice.

  • Travel with other people
  • Make sure someone knows where you are at all times — some places may not have mobile phone coverage
  • Stay on a road or walking track
  • Take plenty of water
  • Be sun smart


Useful websites for safety advice


Overseas Student Health Cover


As an international student in Australia, the Australian Government requires you to:

  • purchase Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) in order to be granted a student visa;
  • be covered by OSHC for the entire length of your student visa; 
  • purchase OSHC from a registered health provider, approved by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care; and
  • pay OSHC before you leave home,  to cover you from your arrival in Australia.

The Department of Home Affairs website(opens in a new tab) provides detailed information about the health insurance requirements of the Australian Government.

Services covered by OSHC

You are strongly encouraged to read the relevant health cover page documents for information regarding what is and is not covered.

OSHC providers allow you to claim 100% of the government set fee for a standard medical consultation.

OSHC covers:

  • visits to the doctor;
  • public hospital stay;
  • ambulance services (when hospital admission is necessary); and
  • some prescription medicines.

OSHC does not cover: 

  • dental treatment;
  • optical treatment; or
  • physiotherapy.

We strongly recommend you take out additional private health cover to cover these additional services.

Most standard OSHC premiums do not cover treatment for pre-existing disability or medical conditions during the first 18 months of membership. If you are living with disability or existing medical conditions, you may have to obtain additional health insurance or have extra funds available to cover your medical expenses. 

Details and costs of policies, including what an OSHC policy will and won’t cover, and any waiting periods that may apply to certain treatment types, can be obtained by contacting each insurer directly.

Where to purchase OSHC

You must purchase OSHC from a government approved provider(opens in a new tab).

You should compare alternative OSHC providers to find one that suits your budget and needs. The following private health insurers provide OSHC products and policies for overseas students: 

If you wish TIWA to arrange health cover for you, we have a service arrangement with Bupa and will receive an administration fee from Bupa to arrange your cover.

If you wish to use another provider, you will need to make your own payment arrangements and show evidence of the payment to the Department of Home Affairs when you apply for your visa.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Does OSHC cover my family members?  

A: Students who are bringing a spouse or partner or children to Australia as dependants on their student visa must have appropriate OSHC for all members of their family for the duration of their visa.  

Q: How long do I need to purchase OSHC for?  

A: All international students pay for OSHC for the duration of their student visa. You will be entitled to a refund of any outstanding balance if you leave Australia before you originally intended, provided there is at least one month remaining before your health cover expires. You must pay the premiums for OSHC when you accept your offer. 

Q: When does my OSHC membership start?  

A: Your OSHC will be activated when you arrive in Australia, however it is important to note that a qualifying period may apply for some services. If you renew your visa offshore or take a leave of absence from your studies and have a new visa issued from abroad, you will be subject to another qualifying period for some services. 

View the OSHC factsheet produced by the Department of Home Affairs [PDF 419 KB](PDF document - opens in a new tab).


Health cover fees

The following table gives you a guide to the current cost of cover (all amounts are Australian Dollars [AUD] and subject to change).

Months' durationSingle policy *Couples policy +Family policy #

* Single—Cover for you only.
+ Couples—Cover for you and your partner as listed on your dependant visa.
# Family—Cover for you, your partner and your children under 18 years of age if they live with you in Australia and are listed on your dependant visa.

Stress and wellbeing 


When living away from home in a new country, you can sometimes feel stress or anxiety being separated from family and friends.

Starting your studies, you may also feel worried about your English level, course work, new technology, exams, studying, working and nervous about making friends.

Feeling like this is very normal and there are physical signs you can look for if you need help.

Signs of stress include headaches, feeling sick, trouble sleeping and lack of concentration.

Seek help

Coping with stress 

Here are some ideas to help you cope with stress. 

  • Positive thinking – Remain positive about the situation and remind yourself that are lots of people that care about your health and wellbeing.
  • Relax – Try and find activities to help you relax and try to do them on a weekly basis. 
  • Meditation – Quietening the mind can help stop negative thinking and help you feel more calm.
  • Exercise – Outdoor exercise is always possible in Perth, join a team sport.
  • Healthy diet – A balanced diet with fruit and vegetables will give you good energy.
  • Sleep – Aim for eight hours of uninterrupted sleep a night to feel better, and turn the sound on your mobile/laptop to silent.
  • Friendship – Making friends and talking to them about your feelings.

If you are over 18 you can access StudyPerth free student wellbeing services(opens in a new tab) including events and counselling. At the Student Hub in Perth(opens in a new tab) you can meet fellow international students and use free facilities for study and fun activities including video games, board games and more.

Last updated on July 2, 2024