STUDYING AT UNIVERSITY IN AUSTRALIA is generally considered to be safe and even good for you. The vast majority of students, including international students from countries such as China, India and Pakistan, complete their studies without experiencing significant health and safety problems.
Many people improve their fitness levels while studying at university in Australia. It is easy to do given the sunshine and opportunities for university sports and regular exercise (such as walking or cycling to classes).
But there are also some risks from studying at university that many people don’t know about. If you have ever looked through photos of university students, you see why some students run into problems. There are health and safety issues specific to university life.
Let’s look at the top 5 most dangerous risks from university study in Australia. Note that we are not medical doctors, just concerned citizens.
1. Communicable Diseases
For whatever reason, university students like to get close to one another – real close. Check out the image above. Classic examples of students getting very close together.
The problem with all the closeness and touching is that diseases can spread very quickly (e.g. viruses such as colds and flu). If you go to university, keep some distance from others to prevent infection. You never know what you might catch, even if people around you look healthy.
2. Substance Abuse
University life has long been linked to experimentation with alcohol, drugs and other hedonistic activities. It is natural that, if people are going to experiment with these things, it’s likely to happen at university.
For many people, starting university is when they get their first taste of independent adult life. Being at university also means you have plenty of free time (away from exams) and the potential to sleep away the effects of any indulgent and/or illicit dalliances.
Problems arise when experimentation turns into a habit. You can see the effects of this at almost any university library in Australia. Check out the people with their heads buried in the books. For too many people, it is more than reading – it is sniffing! Yes, university libraries are full of book sniffers.
3. Chemical Poisoning
The risk of being poisoned in Australia is slight. But there are also some risky behaviours that can dramatically increase the odds.
One of major chemical dangers comes from the use of pesticides. You should wash fruit and vegetables before using. Also, don’t do what far too many university students do. And that is sit or lay on the grass. As well as applied herbicides, grass has natural toxins that can cause a rash. Symptoms include redness and itching.
4. Mental Health
People who suffer enduring mental health problems often have their first episodes of abnormal thoughts at university. The onset of schizophrenia is most common during the late teens and early twenties (the average age is 19).
Please inform university or health authorities if you believe a student is suffering from mental illness. A classic symptom is turning around during class and facing directly away from the instructor (see images above).
5. Parasitic Infestations
Parasitic infestations to the human body occur through direct contact with the parasite or with eggs that subsequently hatch and attach to the skin or invade the body.
Most people would remember a time as a child when you or other children were sent home from school due to head lice infestation. Thought those days were over? Think again. Too many university students think it is clever to rub heads with other students. Some even form bizarre “joined head” circles. This is a sure way to spread lice.