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Student health and wellbeing

Your health is important – look after it

Take time to care for your physical and emotional health. This includes eating right, getting lots of sleep, catching up with friends and having fun. Staying healthy will help your studies!

If you are sick or worried that you may have a health problem, you should visit a General Practitioner (GP) first

In Australia, a General Practitioner or GP is a doctor who works in offices in the community, not in hospitals. They treat colds and flus, general health issues such as diabetes, and minor injuries. You should only seek help in a hospital emergency room if you are in a life-threatening situation and have a health emergency. If you go to a hospital emergency department and it is not an emergency, you will be asked to wait a very long time (several hours) to be seen by a doctor. The doctor will only see you AFTER other people with emergency health issues are treated. If you ARE in an emergency situation and you think you need an ambulance, phone Triple Zero (000) immediately.

If you need health information or advice you can call HealthDirect Australia (1800 022 222). They are a free service and are available 24/7

Check out their website for more information. You can also visit your local pharmacy or chemist to talk about minor illnesses and medicines and get advice and help about what you can do next. There are many pharmacies and chemists close by. Email the RMIT Student Wellbeing Team for more information: wellbeing@rmit.edu.au.

Understand your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) and how to use it

OSHC is insurance to help international students with the cost of medical and hospital care in Australia (including most prescription medicines and an ambulance in an emergency). Remember to take your OSHC card with you to all medical appointments. If you are with Medibank, you can talk to a Medibank representative every Wednesdays between 9am-5pm on Level 3, Room 4 (in the student lounge). You can find a list of Australian OSHC providers here: http://www.privatehealth.gov.au/healthinsurance/overseas/oshc.htm

If you are unsure, just ask

Never be afraid to ask for help if you are unsure about something. If you encounter any stress, health issues or personal problems during your time at RMIT, you can contact our Student Wellbeing Team for advice and support. We are here to help you live and study well, so come and have a chat.

Email: wellbeing@rmit.edu.au
Phone: 03 9925 8172
Location: RMIT Building 108, Level 3, 235–251 Bourke Street, Melbourne

FAQs

What is health and wellbeing?

Health and wellbeing is about feeling well and being happy with life. It includes your physical health (body), emotional health (feelings) and spiritual health (religion, faith, spirituality). General health and wellbeing are affected by your lifestyle, what you eat and drink, and how much you study, work, sleep, exercise and socialise. To learn more about how you can improve your health and wellbeing, check out this website: http://www1.rmit.edu.au/counselling/wellbeing or contact the RMIT Training Student Wellbeing Team on wellbeing@rmit.edu.au.

How can I stay healthy and well? 

To stay healthy, you need to make healthy choices every day. That means eating a balanced diet, being active, sleeping well and avoiding behaviours that can seriously affect your physical health (like smoking, drinking too much alcohol or taking recreational drugs). 

How can I eat better? 

To maintain a healthy weight and get more out of life, it is important to eat a balanced diet. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating lists the foods we need to eat every day to be healthy. There are 5 basic food groups: (1) Bread, cereals, rice, pasta and noodles, (2) Vegetables, (3) Fruit, (4) Milk, yoghurt, cheese, and (5) Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts and legumes.

Other foods, like those with a lot of salt, sugar and unhealthy fats are not good for your health and should only be eaten occasionally and in small amounts. These include foods like: biscuits, cakes, chips, chocolates, desserts, fried foods, processed meats, soft drinks and take-away meals. 

Where can I learn more about healthy eating? 

For more information about healthy food choices, visit: http://www1.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=qkxosrvm1jzdz. You can also talk to a GP, dietician, or the RMIT Training Student Wellbeing Team: wellbeing@rmit.edu.au.

Where can I buy healthy food and fresh fruit and vegetables? 

The Queen Victoria Market (often called ‘Queen Vic’ or ‘Vic Market’ by locals) has everything you need under one roof: fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, meat and poultry, dairy food and healthy fats and oils. It is also a great place to meet people from other cultures. 

It is located at 513 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne. You can find out more here: www.qvm.com.au or join us on one of our Vic Market tours. Check the RMIT Pathways Social Club website or details on upcoming tours.

You can also buy fresh fruit and vegetables from supermarkets and greengrocers. Many specialty supermarkets and shops across the Melbourne CBD provide specialty ingredients for international cuisines. A Google search will help you find them. 

Where can I buy Halal food?

There are many restaurants, cafes and retail shops around Melbourne that serve or sell halal food. For a list of Halal shops and restaurants, visit: www.halalsquare.com.au/melbourne.

Why should I be active? 

Being active and exercising every day can lead to a longer and healthier life. It will also strengthen your bones and muscles, improve mood and sleep, relieve stress and lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Being active also helps you to pay attention and focus, which will benefit your studies.

You should try to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. For advice on staying active, visit this website: http://www1.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=18g4d9zns0ikz.

How can I be more active? 

Being active isn’t all about exercising—just getting out and about can make a difference to how you feel. It’s also a great way to meet people and make friends. Here are a few ways you might consider being more active: 

For more ideas about keeping active, ask the Student Experience Specialist (activities@rmit.edu.au) or check out this website: www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/be-healthy/be-healthy-exercise.

How can I protect myself from the sun?

The Australian summer can be extreme, with long periods of very high temperatures. During the summer months it is important to stay well hydrated (drink lots of water) and keep your skin protected from the sun. 

Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. In summer, the sun can damage your skin within 15 minutes. “Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide” is a phrase used by the Cancer Council of Australia to help people protect their skin in the sun. 

When you are in the sun, especially in summer, you should Slip (put) on a shirt, Slop (put) on some sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher), Slap (put) on a hat, Seek shade and Slide (put) on some sunglasses. In summer, you should also try to stay out of the sun between 11 am and 3 pm because this is when the most damage can be done to your skin. 

A little bit of sunshine on your skin each day is important to stop Vitamin D deficiency. If you generally wear a veil or long garments, it is good to take some time (about 15 minutes) in the morning to get some sun exposure. 

Visit http://www.sunsmart.com.au/uv-sun-protection for more information. 

Why is sleep important? 

Rest and regular sleep routines are essential for developing good study habits. A good night’s sleep can help you to be productive, mentally sharp, emotionally balanced and full of energy all day long. You can find some tips for better sleep here: http://www1.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=olfk6kv1iezy.

If you have trouble sleeping, talk to a GP or the RMIT Training Student Wellbeing Team: wellbeing@rmit.edu.au.

Where can I get some help to quit smoking?

It is a well-accepted fact that smoking is bad for your health and can cause a range of problems including lung disease, high blood pressure, heart disease and lung cancer. Quitting cigarettes at any time—even if you have smoked for years—will help your health. Check this out for more information about the effects of smoking: http://www1.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=6tjo1w37st0az.

For more information and help to quit smoking, visit: www.quit.org.au or call 13 78 48. You can also try talking to a GP, friend, family member, or the RMIT Training Student Wellbeing Team: wellbeing@rmit.edu.au.

How can I reduce the risks of drinking alcohol to my health and wellbeing?

Alcohol is a drug that can affect the way your body works and how you think, feel and behave. In Australia, drinking alcohol is part of the culture and way of life. However, people who drink too much alcohol can put their health at risk and affect their relationships with other people. Check this out for more info about alcohol: http://www1.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=s1fxnfwi7nlaz.

  • Set a limit of the number of drinks you will have at an event and stick to it.
  • Eat before or while you are drinking.
  • Drink water and other non-alcoholic drinks in between your alcoholic drinks.
  • Say no when you have had enough.
  • Don’t mix alcohol with other drugs.
  • Drink each drink slowly.
  • Don’t leave your glass or bottle unattended.
  • Plan how you will get home safely before going out. 

Where can I get some help about my alcohol use?

For information, advice and support about alcohol, visit: www.directline.org.au or call 1800 888 236. You can also talk to a GP, friend, family member, or the RMIT Training Student Wellbeing Team: wellbeing@rmit.edu.au.

Where can I learn more about the effects of recreational drugs and get some help if I need it?

Recreational drugs can be legal (such as alcohol, caffeine and tobacco) or illegal (such as cannabis or weed, amphetamines, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin). These drugs can change the way your body works and how you think, feel and behave. There is no safe way to use illegal recreational drugs because you can never be sure what you are taking, or how it will affect you. Illegal recreational drugs can put your health in danger.

For more information, advice and support about recreational drugs, visit: www.directline.org.au or call 1800 888 236. You can also talk to a GP, friend, family member, or the RMIT Training Student Wellbeing Team: wellbeing@rmit.edu.au.

Where can I go for a general health check-up? 

If you feel sick, think your health is at risk or would like a general check-up, you should see a GP. Here is a list of the medical services close to RMIT Training: http://www1.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=1qx4w6dty9xvz. You can also talk to the RMIT Training Student Wellbeing Team if you are not sure about what to do: wellbeing@rmit.edu.au

How can I find an apartment or house in Melbourne?

One of the best ways to live in Melbourne is to live in a share house. If you are able to share with local people, you will prepare yourself much better for life in Melbourne, as well as improve your English skills. There are some great inner city suburbs which are full of character and life, and it’s a lot of fun. They are often just a short train or tram ride to the city. You can search for share houses at www.flatmates.com.au or www.flatmatefinders.com.au.

If you would like to rent an apartment for yourself, you will need to arrange this through a real estate agent and sign a lease. The easiest way to find an apartment to rent is through www.domain.com.au or www.realestate.com.au.

If you need any help or advice, please come and speak to Matt Cox or email matt.cox@rmit.edu.au.

How can I find work in Melbourne?

Most international students who work part time in Melbourne do so in hospitality (restaurants) or cleaning. Many students find work simply by visiting restaurants and asking. If you do this, you will need to have a CV or resume to give them. Your CV outlines your work and education history and is used to promote the reasons why you should be hired. There are some great tips here about applying for a job: http://www.studymelbourne.vic.gov.au/work/part-time-jobs/applying-for-a-job.

You need to be aware of your visa conditions before you start work. If you have a student visa, you are permitted to work 40 hours per fortnight. You will also need a tax file number (TFN) in order to work. You can apply for a TFN here: https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Tax-file-number/.

If you have any questions about working in Melbourne, please email Matt Cox: matt.cox@rmit.edu.au.

I don’t know what to do in Melbourne. Help!

Melbourne is a vibrant city with lots of things going on throughout the year. From sporting events to festivals, there is always something happening. There are some great websites to help keep you up-to-date with what’s happening:

https://www.timeout.com/melbourne  
https://www.broadsheet.com.au/melbourne
http://thethousands.com.au/melbourne
http://www.thatsmelbourne.com.au/Pages/Home.aspx