Welcome to Townsville! Below is information that you will need during the semester including details about your housing, what to do when you are sick, local transportation and more.

IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you keep TEAN’s contact details on you at all times in case of emergency. If your reason for calling/texting is not an emergency, please try to call/text during regular office hours (9:00 AM to-5:00 PM Monday-Friday).

Common Concerns: First few weeks

Common Concerns: First few weeks

As you start to get into the swing of things, we want to highlight some common concerns that may come up. We often see the same concerns raised each semester, so you’re not alone!

Feeling “disconnected” from the campus: This may happen for those living off-campus. As you go back and forth to campus for O Week you may feel isolated from the campus community. Don’t worry! As classes start, you’ll find that you aren’t actually on campus that much and end up really loving where you live. You definitely won’t regret living in off-campus!

Feelings of homesickness/anxiety: This is probably one of the most common concerns we hear during the first few weeks of the program. It is very normal to go through varying levels of homesickness. Some people may feel minor “pangs” of missing home and what is familiar, while others may feel fairly intense feelings of sadness and anxiety. The first week in your new home can be very overwhelming – you’re in a new city with new people, a new culture, new school, new everything – and it’s not uncommon to wonder if you have made the “right choice” to study abroad. These feelings will pass. When classes start and you get into a routine, you’ll start to feel more comfortable and confident in your new setting and the feelings of homesickness should start to lessen. That said, if they don’t please reach out and let us know. The universities have excellent counselors on campus who you can meet with and talk to. Also, please remember to take things day by day – you’re dealing with a lot of adjustments and often some exercise, eating well, getting lots of rest and talking to other students can help. You’ll probably find that lots of other people are feeling the same way but aren’t sharing how they feel. TEAN staff are also on campus often, at our coffee catch ups and other events, so do let us know if you want to talk. We can call and message to provide support also.  

Concerns with roommates: It’s not uncommon to wonder if you have been matched up with the right people in your housing. You may have clicked with someone at the TEAN Orientation who you’re not rooming with or may even be in your own room feeling isolated. Some of you may never have lived with roommates (or flatmates as we call them) before, so it’s a learning curve! Be open and make sure to communicate; share how you feel about things in an honest way. Set some apartment rules that you all agree on and discuss how to best bring up issues. You’re here just for approximately 100 sleeps – try not to let minor issues become major worries during the semester.

Some things are more expensive: Yes, the cost of eating/drinking/going out is often very expensive compared to what you might be used to. The best thing to do is plan a budget for the semester and stick to it. Buy food and cook at home, search online to get good travel deals for the trips you want to take, remember to always have a supply of food/snacks in your apartment for when you’re hungry during those late night study cram sessions as shops close early, AND take advantage of the FREE TEAN events we offer! The coffee breaks are a must – they include a drink, a free bite to eat and a chance to chat with us!

Getting used to the teaching style: First of all, don’t freak out when you get your first assessment grades back – they will seem very low to what you are used to. In Australia you earn points (starting at 0 and going up to 100), while in the U.S. you start at 100 and points are deducted. It is very hard to get very high grades (High Distinctions and Distinctions) in Australia. Assessment grades are often worth a larger percentage of your overall grade than what you are used to as well. There are no “weekly tests” in Australia. You may find that your mid-term exam carries a 50% weight. Because there usually aren’t regular tests or assignments, you may feel like you don’t have much to do then find yourself cramming for a test or rushing to prepare a paper. Set a study and school work schedule for the semester and stick to it, even when it may feel like you have a light workload. If you are struggling at any point, please go and see the academic staff. They are all there to help with an open door policy, but you need to take initiative and go to them.  

Internet annoyances: The internet speed and data limits in Australia are not what you are used to in the U.S. We have fairly slow internet here and data limits so you aren’t able to stream and download shows all the time. The internet speed certainly takes a little time to get used to but hang in there – it’s just a more chilled out internet, all will be okay!

Accessing Money

Banking in Australia

Banks in Australia are generally open Monday to Friday (except public holidays) from 9:30 am – 4pm. These hours may be extended on certain days depending on local conditions. To open a bank account you will need to prove your identity by providing documents as part of the 100-point check process: passport plus two other forms of identification (credit card, driver’s license, etc.)

Banks On Campus at JCU

Westpac – located outside the Refectory in the Student Mall
RediTeller – located in the Student Mall outside the Student Council Chambers
Commonwealth Bank – located in the Library

Getting a Job

Where to Look for Part-Time Jobs

Townsville has many shopping centers, restaurants, bars and cafes. It will be helpful to do some research and find a place that you would enjoy working at and that suits you! Drop your resumes off in person so that you can inquire about the store and so that the manager can get to know you too.

Places to Check
  • On campus – Co-op, cafes, library, pool, gym, etc.
  • Flinders St, Palmer St, Gregory St, The Strand or along the 201 bus route (Nathan St, Ross River Rd, Charters Towers Rd)
  • Walk around and look in shop windows – many places will put a sign in their window 
advertising if they have positions available. If they don’t, you can always go in and ask if
 they are hiring (remember to follow advice above).
  • Chat with your professors and teaching assistants – many of them are involved in research projects on campus, some requiring paid research assistants.
Helpful Websites

Getting a Tax File Number

If you get a job in Australia, employers will require you to have a Tax File Number (TFN). This is like your Social Security number and allows your employer to tax you at the appropriate rate. If you do not have one, you will be taxed at the highest rate. To avoid this, apply online for your Tax File Number as soon as you get a job.

To apply online you must have a valid passport or relevant travel documents. You don’t have to provide proof of identity documents – the Tax Office will compare your personal and travel document details with Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) records. Within 28 days, the Tax Office will send your TFN to the Australian address you provide on your application.

If you need to discuss anything with the Tax Office or have questions that are not answered on their website, please call them on 13 28 61.

Apply online here


On Campus Services

JCU Health General Practice
Location: Level 1, Clinical Practice Building (next to SupaIGA)
Services: General practice (international students with OSHC insurance with Allianz Global or Medibank will have their invoices sent directly to the insurer)
Monday – Wednesday from 8am – 6am
Thursday, Friday from 8am – 5pm
Saturday from 8am – 12pm
Phone: (07) 4759 6300

Counselling Service
Location: Level 1, Building 18 (Library), Room 103
Services: Free, individual counselling
9am to 4:30pm
Phone: (07) 4781 4711
Email: studentwellbeing@jcu.edu.au (use your JCU email account, include your JCU student ID and contact number)


The Townsville Hospital
Location: 100 Angus Smith Dr, Douglas (across the road from JCU)
Services: 24hr and emergency services
Opening hours: 24/7
Phone: 131 008 (taxi) or 000 (ambulance – if it’s an emergency)


JCU Dental
Location: Level 2, Clinical Practice Building (next to SupaIGA)
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8am – 4:30pm
Phone: 1800 028 998

Pharmacy (Chemist)

Alive Discount Pharmacy
Location: Ground Floor, Clinical Practice Building (next to SupaIGA)
Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm
Saturday 9am – 2pm
Phone: (07) 4775 4741

More Townsville Options

Direct billing providers in addition to JCU on-campus services in Townville.

Townsville Family Medical Centre
55 Keane Street, Currajong
Phone: (07) 4759 1100

Townsville Health Professionals
1/132 Fulham Road, Gulliver
Phone: (07) 4779 7821

Cairns Options

Direct Billing Providers for Cairns.

Phone: 1300 030 030
Visit the website.

Smithfield Medical Centre
1-3 Faculty Close, Smithfield
Phone: (07) 4057 7300

James Cook Medical Centre
3/8 Maisel Close, Smithfield
Phone: (07) 4057 8977

Cairns Family Medical Centre
120-124 Mulgrave Road, Parramatta Park
Phone: (07) 4051 2755

Central Plaza Doctors
60 McLeod Street, Cairns City
Phone: (07) 4046 8600

Cairns 24 Hour Medical Centre
Corner of Florence and Grafton Streets, Cairns
Phone: (07) 4052 1119

Information regarding other medical services throughout Australia that offer direct billing can be found at Allianz Global Assistance. You can also check the Yellow Pages of the telephone book for details of other medical services in Townsville and Cairns.

Health Insurance

Health Insurance

You all currently hold health insurance as part of your student visa. If you need to see a doctor or visit a hospital for an emergency you have coverage. The cover amount will vary depending on what you need to see the doctor for and what treatment you need. However, you will receive emergency treatment in a hospital if required and you will have access to Doctors on campus and in the local area (and on call at night if required).

How to order the OSHC card

Your health insurance coverage is through Allianz Direct. To order your membership card visit the website.   Your policy number is your Student ID followed by S-JCU. For example: 12345678S-JCU.

Submitting a Claim

Membership claims (if you visit a doctor and have to pay, keep your receipts) and renewals can be made online at Allianz Global Assistance or you can contact the Allianz Global Assistance OSHC Client Service Representatives located at the Townsville JCU campus. The Townsville Representative is available for consultation between 10am – 4pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Education Central, Building 134, or you can make contact by emailing BGoodfellow@allianz-assistance.com.au. Alternatively, you can contact the member services customer support line on 13 6742 (13 OSHC).

Direct Billing

Members of Allianz Global Assistance can visit one of their OSHC Direct Billing Providers. Direct Billing means that if you attend one of the providers listed, the bill will be sent directly to Allianz Global Assistance and you will not have to submit a claim. You may be required to pay a co-payment, which is an amount that you will have to pay at the time of your appointment which cannot be refunded. You should check this with the medical provider before making your appointment.

Clubs and Organizations

University Groups and Clubs

Dive into the campus culture and connect with other students by joining a club or student organization. Each of our partner universities in Australia offers a ton of different options and opportunities to suit a range of interests. Below, you’ll find examples of some of the most popular associations at different institutions plus links to find even more clubs for each school.

James Cook University

JCU has a range of clubs and societies for academic study areas, professional interests, sporting interests and culture. View the full list here.

JCU Dive Club
JCU Dive Club is one of the largest clubs at James Cook University with more than 300 active members. Read about a TEAN alum’s experience joining the JCU Dive Club here.

JCU Zoology Society
A society for students who loves animals of all shapes and sizes based at JCU Townsville, this group is popular amongst students studying environmental sciences.

JCU Sustainability Club
This club works to engage, educate and inspire people to support a more sustainable campus, town, country and planet.

The International Student Society
Want to meet local students? The International Student Association is a mentorship program for international students and hosts social events that highlight all the different cultures present on campus.

Academic Resources

Campus Academic Resources

Your host university offers academic resources on campus to help support your learning needs and thrive in your courses. If you need help with a certain subject, guidance on exam writing or additional academic support, just take a look below.

James Cook University

Schedule one-on-one academic advice, attend learning workshops and access online resources to further assist your studies. Some of the specialty programs on offer include Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) and the JCU Student Mentor Program, which are both great ways for students to meet people in their courses and improve their grades. You can read more here.

Sports and Fitness

Sports and Fitness

Australians love to stay active.Keep reading to see what on-campus gyms, fitness classes and sports facilities your host university offers.

James Cook University

The JCUSA Fitness Center offers a wide range of weights and cardio machines, personal training sessions, indoor cycling classes, Pilates, yoga, cardio kickboxing classes by Les Mills and Body Training Solutions, and much more. Special discounts are offered to students who are part of the JCU Student Association. You can read more here.

Dining and Errands

Dining and Errands

From on-campus canteens and convenience stores to nearby restaurants, cafes and grocery stores, there are plenty of places to find food and stock up on necessities. Scroll down to see where to go shopping, eat out and run errands around your university.

James Cook University

The Supa IGA is a fully-stocked supermarket located a 5-minute drive off campus. There is also a large range of popular restaurants, coffee shops and on-the-go options on or near campus, including Miss Sushi, Casa Pasta and Phat Boi Asian Kitchen. Locations and other restaurants/coffee shops on campus can be found here.

Townsville Transport

Townsville Transport

Sunbus is Townsville’s principle form of public transport. Conveniently, Sunbus routes are incorporated into Google maps. Therefore, pick a starting and ending destination in the Townsville region, an estimated arrival or departure time, and Google maps will tell you what bus routes to take! Alternatively, use the Sunbus website to plan your journey and find more information on timetables and fares.

Bus routes from campus to city

The 201 is the most direct route to Flinders St (restaurants, nightlife, shopping etc.) and leaves from the JCU bus stop located outside University Hall. Alternative bus routes include the 202, 208 or 209.

Getting to the Airport

Townsville Airport is conveniently located only 15 minutes away from the JCU campus. To get there book a taxi using 131 008 on the day or the day before you leave.

Housing Advice

General Housing Advice

  • Keep areas clean and tidy! You are responsible for the condition of your own room and for the common areas. Any damages will be billed to you or shared by the household members.
  • If there are breakages or missing items that should have been supplied, report to the Hall Office or Residential Assistant
  • ALL HOUSING is smoke-free and drug-free
  • Be respectful to other residents and keep noise to a minimum from 10pm – 6am
  • Your JCU residential assistant should be able to help you with most problems. But don’t hesitate to contact your TEAN staff too!

Important Contact Info


If you require the police, fire brigade or ambulance, you must call 000 (or 112 from a mobile phone). If you are on campus and need to call one of these services from an internal phone, you need to call 0-000. You should then notify JCU Security Control on 4781 5555.

TEAN Staff

Alyssa Giffin
Resident Assistant – Townsville and Cairns
+61481287021 or alyssa.giffin@teanabroad.org

Helen Armitage
Resident Director – QLD
0410 799 658 or helen.armitage@teanabroad.org

University Contact

The International Student Support Team
Education Central, Building 134, JCU
Services: For any questions you may have!
Email: international@jcu.edu.au

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