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Health, safety & the law

The health, safety and welfare of students and staff is the most important thing to us at UEC. We work very hard to make sure we do everything we can to help keep our students and staff safe and healthy.

Sydney is a very safe city. In fact, according to the Safe City Index report by the Economist, Sydney is the 4th safest city in the world! It’s also ranked as the 13th friendliest. There are many resources available publicly and through UEC to help you stay safe and healthy and out of trouble.

Please make sure you take the time to read through each section below.

Personal safety

Even though Sydney is a very safe city, there are a few important things you should remember:

  • Never leave bags or possessions unattended. Take extra care with your bag, telephone, purse or wallet in food courts, train stations and airports.
  • Be careful when crossing the road – especially in the city. Cars don’t always stop at pedestrian crossings or when the light goes red, so always watch the cars, not just the lights.
  • Don’t drink a drink if it’s been left unattended in a bar.
  • At the beach, only swim between the yellow and red flags. The surf might not look dangerous outside the flags, but it can have very strong currents below the water. Every year, even experienced swimmers drown at Australian beaches when swimming outside the flags.
  • The sun is harsh in Australia. Wear sun screen and a hat to protect your skin, even on cloudy days.
Emergency Telephone Numbers
Emergency – fire, police, ambulance 000
Police Assistance Number (non-emergency) 131 444
Poisons Information 13 11 26
Translation and Interpreter Services 13 14 50
UEC phone number – weekday daytime 02 9283 1088
UEC after hour emergency – within Australia 1800 029 900
UEC after hour emergency – from outside Australia +61 7 3377 3955

Beach safety

People who swim all over the world agree – Australian beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world. They also all agree that the strong currents make Australian beaches more dangerous than almost anywhere else.

The waves and currents can grab you and pull you out into the ocean and they can be impossible to swim against – it’s hard to believe until you experience it yourself but please trust us! Shark attacks are rare, but drowning is not. While shark attacks make the news and terrify everyone, we normally only have one every few years. Sadly, though people drown on Australian beaches every week. Please take care!

Only swim at beaches that are supervised by Surf Lifeguards, these are beaches that are marked by red and yellow flags. The lifeguards study the beach every morning and find the dangerous rips and currents and put the flags where it’s safe.

Health and sickness

The health of our students and staff is extremely important to us at UEC. We work hard to make sure the campus is a healthy place for everyone to study and work – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Part of this means that when you are sick with a cold or flu or COVID19, you should stay off campus to avoid sharing the virus with other students or staff.

If you are unwell, you should visit a doctor for advice. You can either go to a local medical centre, check with you OHSC insurance provider for a doctor they recommend, or come to reception. If you need a doctor who speaks your language, come to reception and we will help you find one.

Please note that going to the hospital is for emergencies only. If you have a cold or a flu or anything that is not urgent, you should see a doctor. If you have anything that is urgent, you should go straight to hospital.

If you hurt yourself while on campus, please immediately let your teacher or reception know. We have First Aid Officers and first aid equipment on campus.

Overseas student health cover (OHSC)

All Student Visa Holders must have an Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) policy for the entire duration of their stay in Australia. OSHC gives you access to hospital and medical services and assists you in meeting those costs. This is usually arranged when you organise your visa.

Take care to maintain your cover at all times and do not fall behind in payments. If you do fall behind, you may not be able to claim for services you use. That is, you will need to pay the full fee yourself.

UEC can help you to arrange your OSHC if you haven’t got it. Come to reception to discuss this.

Mental health

Being away from your family and friends and living and studying in Australia can be exciting and wonderful but sometimes it can also feel lonely and cause or increase anxiety and depression. It is very natural to experience all these feelings and surprisingly common. Student service staff are always available to help you.

Sometimes we can give you the help and support you need. Sometimes we can connect you with the right support service for you. Come see us for a chat any time!

The law and the police

Sydney and Australia are very safe and many people never experience problems with the law ever in their life! It is very important to know what to do if you do though and to understand that the law and the police probably work differently in Australia to where you are from.

Firstly, please know that the police in Sydney are friendly and helpful. You can say hello, ask them for directions, even ask them to pose for a selfie with you! At the same time, they have an important job to do and they deal with very difficult and dangerous situations from time to time, so if they are busy, stay out of their way.

The law in Australia almost certainly works differently to your home country. Some things that are not allowed where you are from are allowed in Australia and somethings that are allowed in your home town might be illegal here.

For minor issues, police and other authorities such as public transport inspectors can give you an ‘on-the-spot’ fine. This means they give you a ticket for a fee of between $100 for very minor things up to $1,000 for more serious things.

Here are just a few things you might not think about that you should be careful of:

  • Dropping garbage on the ground in the street, including cigarettes.
  • Crossing the road without waiting for the green walk light.
  • Dumping bags of garbage in a park or alley.
  • Catching a bus, train, or ferry without a ticket.
  • Not following directions from the police.

If you ever have questions or need help, please come to talk to student services. We can put you in touch with legal support services that provide free help to international students.