Disability Support Information for new International Students

If you are thinking about coming from overseas to study at the UNSW Australia (University of New South Wales) and you have a disability, it is very important that you find out how we can assist you before you come.

Disability support services in Australia could be quite different to the services offered to university students in your home country. At UNSW you will receive the same educational adjustments as local students. We will be unable to change our services to what you may have been used to back home.

For example, our adjustments for extra time in exams may be shorter. Australian sign interpreters generally use Australian Sign Language (AUSLAN). There could be other differences in our services you may not be aware of, so it is best to make enquiries before you arrive.

Before you leave home

Find out as much as you can about UNSW and the educational adjustments available.

  • Email disabilities@unsw.edu.au so Disability Services can make sure you have all the information you need before you arrive in Australia.
  • Check immigration, health and quarantine regulations. Australia has very strict rules. If you are bringing any medication, a guide dog, or support aids with you please check with your doctor and Australian Immigration prior to departure. Health regulations and availability of medications may vary from country to country. If you are on medication prescribed by a doctor, make sure it is available in Australia before you get here.
  • Organise your disability documents. To receive educational adjustments at UNSW you will need current documentation that confirms your disability. Your documents must be in English or accompanied by a certified English translation.

Documentation can be from medical specialists, educational psychologists or other qualified health practitioners. If unsure, please contact us to check. It is easier to bring all the necessary documentation with you when you leave your home country rather than trying to get it sent after you have arrived.

Ensure all your documents are in order before you leave home.

Registering for educational adjustments

  • As soon as you enrol at UNSW, register with Disability Services to ensure your educational adjustments are put in place, preferably before the semester starts or within the first two weeks.
  • You can contact us by email if you are not arriving in Australia until semester starts.
  • You must fill out the educational adjustments registration form and send it with current documents that provide evidence of your disability.
  • Once your documents have been assessed, our office will contact you about speaking with an Disability Adviser.
  • Contact us or drop into our office on the Kensington campus to make your appointment.

Documents you must provide

  • Original medical or relevant professional documents outlining your medical condition or disability and the impact it has on your studies.
  • A copy of the original document certified by an Disability Adviser at your home university would be helpful.
  • If possible, a letter outlining the support you were receiving in your home university, school or workplace.

You are required to bring a complete and current set of original documents in English so they can be sighted by your Disability Adviser. A copy of the original documents will be kept on file by our office.

What is acceptable documentation?

All documents must be:

  • in English (or accompanied by a certified translation)
  • less than two years old
  • on letterhead
  • signed and dated by an appropriate medical practitioner, specialist or professional
  • your documentation must state:
    • the nature and duration of your condition
    • any treatment you are receiving, and
    • the impact the disability has on your studies and exams.
  • faxed, photocopied or scanned documents will only be accepted when sending in the registration form
  • you must bring original documentation to our offices
  • provisions will not be put in place for you until you bring in your original documents.

You will be unable to receive provisions until you provide the detailed documentation about your disability and the impact it has on your studies.

Why do I need to bring documents?

We need to have a statement from a professional external practitioner that verifies your condition so that we can put in place the best services that will assist your studies.

UNSW is required to have documented evidence of your disability kept on file.

For any advice before you come, please email disabilities@unsw.edu.au

Before booking flights out of Australia

To complete your studies at UNSW, you must meet all the course criteria for each semester. This includes:

  • handing in all your assignments on time
  • attending a set number of lectures and tutorials
  • joining in on field trips and excursions
  • sitting your exams.

Before leaving Australia at the end of the semester, you must make sure you have met all the criteria to pass your course:

  • Check with the UNSW School/Faculty you have enrolled in about the dates of your end of semester class tests or examinations.
  • Make sure your flights home are booked on dates after semester and exams have finished.
  • You are expected to meet all the course requirements. By not submitting assignments or sitting exams because you are leaving Australia, you risk failing your course.
  • The university will not accept pre-booked flights as an excuse not to sit your exams or hand in assignments.

Useful links

Contacts

For more information about UNSW disability support services, please contact Disability Services.