Student Contact Officer

Your educational institution will appoint a Student Contact Officer to help you while studying in Australia. This officer works with academic and administrative staff to answer your questions and ensure you have the information and assistance you need. This can include daily contact to check you are managing in your new environment, help with your studies, or emotional support and mentoring.

Compulsory Introductory Academic Program

All awardees must participate in a compulsory Introductory Academic Program before their course begins.

The program is designed by your educational institution to prepare you for the hard work required to gain an Australian tertiary qualification. They usually last for four to six weeks and include lots of practical advice to help you make major academic, social and cultural adjustments to life in Australia, and overcome barriers that might prevent you from completing your course successfully.

Entitlements and allowances

Health Insurance

Health services in Australia are of a high standard but are expensive. You are not covered by Australia’s national health cover system, Medicare Australia.

Your institution will arrange and pay for basic medical insurance, the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). Your Student Contact Officer will provide you with more details regarding OSHC once you arrive at your institution. It is mandatory condition of your visa that you maintain OSHC for the duration of your stay in Australia.

You are also required to have OSHC for your family, if they join you in Australia, although you are responsible for organising and paying the costs of OSHC for your family. The costs for OSHC can be significant, so we recommend you research this thoroughly when deciding to bring your family.

It is your responsibility to understand what your OSHC does and does not cover. However, broadly, OSHC will help you pay for any basic medical and hospital care you may need while you’re studying in Australia. This includes helping to meet the cost of most prescription medicines and an ambulance in an emergency.

Pre-existing medical conditions, dental, physiotherapy or optical treatments are not covered. If you want to be covered for these treatments, it is your responsibility to buy additional private health insurance at your own expense. You are advised to have any dental treatment or to purchase additional glasses before you depart Vietnam as these are very expensive in Australia.

Information regarding your OSHC provider and cover is provided by your institution. If you have not received this, please contact the Student Contact Officer at your institution.


You are responsible for your expenses in Australia and for supporting your family members, should they join you.

You will receive an Establishment Allowance within the first month of your arrival, which will help cover expenses including textbooks, rental bond and insurance.

You will also get a Contribution to Living Expenses payment every two weeks during your time in Australia to help meet costs such as accommodation, transport, food, entertainment and communications. The payment amount is set by DFAT. Your entitlement starts on your first day in Australia and is paid in arrears (that is, it is not in advance). It ends five days after your examination results are released if you are a coursework student, or five days after you have submitted your thesis if you are a research student.

Payments are tax free and continue during public holidays and semester breaks, approved fieldwork and reunion visits to your home country, and for up to six weeks if you are hospitalised. Payments will stop if you are suspended from the Australia Awards Scholarships program or convicted of a criminal offence.

For more details on your Establishment Allowance and Contribution to Living Expenses see the Australia Awards Scholarships Policy handbook.