Health, Safety and Personal Wellbeing

Health, safety and personal wellbeing tips for students travelling overseas:

Check fire safety, exits and building standards

  1. On arrival at any new location make sure you check the emergency exits, fire safety and building standards for where you are staying or visiting.
  2. Not all universities are subject to the same rigorous Occupational Health and Safety legislation as Australian Universities.

In the event of fire

  1. If your clothes are set on fire: STOP, DROP AND ROLL to put the fire out.
  2. Check the temperature of the door from the inside of the room with the back of your hand.
  3. If the door is cool, open it slowly and make sure the fire and/or smoke is not blocking your escape route. If there is no smoke, follow the building’s evacuation plan. Always use the stairwell and once you are out of the building, stay out!
  4. If the door is hot, do not open it. Escape through a window or if you cannot escape, hang a white or light-colored sheet out the window to alert fire fighters of your location. Call the fire department to let them know where you are.
  5. Stay low to the ground as smoke and heat rises. Call emergency services once you're safe.

This information is courtesy of

Pay attention to health and safety when working in labs

  1. Always consider your personal safety when working in laboratories or research centres. Not all countries subscribe to the same OH&S levels as Australia, especially in regards to hazards chemicals, biological samples, gene technology, clothing regulations and risk assessment. If in doubt, apply Australian OH&S lab standards and guidelines to your work area -
  2. Be satisfied that all foreseeable hazards are identified, assessed and controlled.

Be aware of road rules and safety

  1. Familiarize yourself with the road rules of the country you are in. Remember to always look both ways when crossing roads.
  2. Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle or motor bike even if the locals don’t. Accidents can happen so protect yourself.

Personal wellbeing

Wellbeing is about how well we balance our lives not just at university but at home as well. Don’t forget about this when overseas. Contact your host university on how you can participate in university life to achieve work/life balance.

Preparing for culture shock

Culture shock is real and it is important to be prepared. To read more about it and for useful tips see the Pre-Departure Tutorial.

Seeking help

  1. The stress of being in a new environment can often cause anxiety. If you are feeling isolated and unwell, you should talk to a counsellor or the health services at your host university.