Health and safety

Australia has one of the world's best health systems. Modern, well-equipped hospitals, medical centres and doctors' offices are located in Sydney and throughout NSW.

The NSW climate lends itself to a healthy, active lifestyle, with opportunities for various outdoor activities including hiking, surfing, running, tennis and other individual and team sports.

Why do I need OSHC?

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is health insurance that is compulsory for international students applying for a student visa for studying in Australia. OSHC must be arranged to cover you from your arrival in Australia until you leave. The insurance covers you for certain medical costs if you need to visit a doctor or go to hospital.

You should check the OSHC policy carefully, including the details of what is covered. Extra cover is available for an additional fee.

Serious medical problems should be treated before you come to Australia, because standard OSHC generally does not cover pre-existing medical conditions.

How do I arrange OSHC?

DE International can arrange standard OSHC cover for you with our preferred OSHC insurer, Medibank Private. Payment for the full duration of cover must be paid upfront, as part of the student visa application process. We invoice you for the total OSHC fee with your first invoice for tuition fees.

Health cover cards will be posted to your Australian postal address directly from Medibank Private. This process may take a few weeks. If you need medical attention before you receive your health cover card, you should pay for the service and keep all receipts. You can then claim a refund from Medibank Private when issued with your card.


Australia is a peaceful country with a moderate climate and low levels of crime but it is important to avoid dangerous situations and to keep yourself safe. The tips and guidelines below will help you to remain safe and healthy.

Personal safety

Here are some helpful tips for keeping yourself safe:

  • Always tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to return.
  • Do not travel at night on your own.
  • Do not leave personal belongings unattended.
  • To contact the police, fire or ambulance in an emergency, telephone 000 from any mobile or landline telephone in Australia – this is a free call.
  • Follow any security guidelines provided by your school.
  • Avoid giving personal information to strangers.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when using automatic teller machines (ATMs) and put your cash in your wallet or bag quickly.
  • Keep valuables out of sight when travelling on public transport.

Transport safety (trains, buses and taxis)

There are a few basic safety guidelines to follow whenever you're using Sydney's public transport system to help make your trip as safe as possible:

  • Keep your wallet/purse out of sight or close by your side.
  • At night, sit in train carriages nearest to the train guard (this carriage has a blue light).
  • Check timetables on the Transport for NSW website to avoid long waits.

Sun safety

The sun can be very strong in Australia and it is easy for your skin to burn. The following guidelines will help you to protect yourself from skin damage and skin cancer:

  • Avoid being in the sun for long periods between 10am and 3pm.
  • Wear a broad rim hat that will protect your face.
  • Apply sunscreen regularly when out in the sun.

Beach safety

Going to the beach is a popular summer activity in Australia. It is vital to keep safe in the water as the ocean currents can be strong and unpredictable. These tips will help keep you safe at the beach:

  • Patrolled beaches have red and yellow flags to indicate the safest place to swim on the beach. Swim between these flags and surf lifesavers can help you if you get into difficulties in the water.
  • Read the safety signs provided by surf lifesavers and the local council.
  • Ask surf lifesavers for advice on surf conditions before entering the water. They will be wearing red and yellow uniforms.
  • Swim with a friend so you can look out for each other.
  • Keep an eye on your valuables while swimming – where possible do not take valuables to the beach.

More information on beach safety is available from the Australian Surf Life Saving website.

Road safety

In Australia cars drive on the left hand side of the road, which may be different from your country, so it is important to pay attention to the direction that traffic is flowing and the following road safety rules:

  • Always look right, left and right again to check for traffic before crossing the road.
  • Avoid stepping out on to the road from behind a parked car.
  • Never assume an approaching driver or rider will stop for you.
  • Avoid walking around while wearing earphones.
  • Look up from your phone when crossing the road.
  • Always cross at a pedestrian crossing or at traffic lights with pedestrian indicators.
  • Always wear helmets when riding bikes.