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Tips for international students living in New Zealand

04 Jul 2018

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Getting medical insurance

Did you know that having current medical insurance is mandatory for all international students studying in New Zealand? If you’re unsure about the requirements, get in touch with your education provider and they should be able to let you know what kind of cover you need. If you’re after something more than hospital cover, nib offers everyday cover to help you cover day-to-day health expenses like going to the physio, or getting prescription glasses. Visit here to find out more.

Find out if a student health centre is available to you

Many of New Zealand’s larger tertiary education providers have student medical centres available. These medical centres are easily accessible for enrolled students and can help with a range of health issues. It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the enrolment process, fees and eligibility of medical centres available to you as soon as possible when starting your course.

Find a general practitioner

A general practitioner (GP) is a medical doctor who treats acute and chronic illnesses and provides preventative care and health education to patients. A GP is your first point of call when you’re feeling ill and need to see a doctor or nurse. It is best to enrol with your chosen GP as your care will then be subsidised, whereas GPs will normally charge a higher fee for casual, non-enrolled patients. The cost to visit a GP varies, but for example can be anywhere up to NZ$70 in some parts of Auckland. However, if you have medical insurance, GP visits may be included in this coverage, so it’s a good idea to check your policy and find out.

Learn what to do if there’s an emergency

You should familiarise yourself with where your local hospital and/or accident and emergency (A&E) centre is. This is the place to go if you or someone you know needs urgent medical attention that cannot wait for a GP. If there is a life threatening situation or emergency you should call 111 (this is the number for medical emergencies as well as the police and fire departments).

New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) provides support for injuries or accidents whilst you are in the country. ACC covers a wide variety of injuries and can assist you with any ongoing treatment you may need. For full information on eligible cases which you can receive compensation for, visit the ACC website here.

Organise check ups with a dentist and an optometrist

It’s important that you have regular check ups with a dentist and an optometrist to make sure that you’re taking good care of your teeth and eyesight. This also ensures that any potential issues are picked up early so they don’t turn in to bigger, more expensive problems later on. You will need to book an appointment with a dentist and/or optometrist in advance, and it’s a good idea to schedule your next visit after your first treatment. Your medical insurance policy may cover these visits, so it’s important to check your policy to find out.

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Make sure you look after your mental health

Moving to a new country and starting a new course of study can be an extremely stressful time, so it’s really important that you look after your mental health. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and somebody to talk to. Many universities and other tertiary education providers will have counsellors available at either no or very low cost. Otherwise, you can make an appointment to discuss any issues you have with your GP or a counsellor. These visits may be covered by your health insurance policy too. If you ever want to talk to someone right away, you can call Lifeline for free, to talk to a trained volunteer or counsellor - find out more by visiting Lifeline’s website here.

By following our tips you should be well equipped to take care of your health and make the most of your time in our beautiful country. If you’re having difficulty trying to figure out what to do first, why not get your medical insurance covered with nib? We have simple options which include cover for medical expenses like GP, dentist and optometrist visits. Give our team a call today and they’ll help you organise the perfect plan for your needs.

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Important things to know

Information correct as at September 2018