We understand that 2020 has been a challenging year, particularly for you, our international students here in Australia, away from some of your support networks of family and friends. With the Summer Support Program we hope to bridge this gap in support, connection and friendship.

There are a number of support services available to you across the summer recess – you’ll find those contact details below. The University has also introduced NUmates (a new buddy program) and identified a range of Free & Fun events and activities for you to be part of across the break

Support services

University Enquiry Centre

(chat, email and phone)

(02) 4921 5000

9:00am - 5:00pm, Monday to Friday

After-Hours Crisis Support

1300 653 007

SMS 0488 884 165

Available 24/7

University Health & Wellbeing Advisors

(02) 4921 6622

9:00am - 5:00pm, Monday to Friday

International Student Legal Service NSW

Make a query online


Call using a free interpreter

131 450

NUmates buddy program

What is NUmates?

NUmates helps international students connect to the University’s staff, their families and members of our communities for support and friendship. You’ll also be able to contact other University of Newcastle international students who are staying in Newcastle, the Central Coast and Sydney across the summer break.

The amount of contact or support may be as simple as an email or text a couple of times a week, a catch up for a lunch or dinner, a simple trip to the beach, park, museum or gallery, the movies, or even Christmas lunch. It’s completely up to you and your NUmates buddy.

How do I register?

It’s easy to register for the program through the app (Vygo). You get to choose the buddy who's right for you based on their bios and availability. Once you match with a buddy you can connect via instant chat and organise face-to-face or in-app catch-ups – it’s simple and easy to stay in touch.

Register for the program at Vygo or download it on the App Store or Google Play.

More Information:

Register for the program at Vygo

Food support

FoodBank NSW provides free food hampers for international students.

Grainery Care Centre

58 Maitland Road, Mayfield

Tuesday - 10am to 2pm

Wednesday - 10am to 4pm

Thursday and Friday - 10am to 3.30pm

Saturday + Sunday + Monday - closed

Multicultural Seventh Day Adventist Church

63-65 Newcastle Road, Wallsend

1.00pm every Saturday.

Free community lunch and fresh fruit and veggie boxes from Oz Harvest are also distributed.

The distribution points listed above are both churches however international students of any faith are welcome and encouraged to access these hampers.

FoodBank NSW

Contact FoodBank NSW on (02) 9756 3099 to find out about other locations in NSW.

FoodBank can’t advise if these other locations are open (or closed for the holidays) – you will need to contact each location separately.

Summer support group activities

As part of the Summer Support Program there will be a range of subsidised COVID-safe activities happening across the break. These will be organised by student buddies so to be part of these you’ll need to be registered in the NUmates app to get the invitations and reserve your place.

Free and fun

Across the summer break there are so many events and activities you can be part of, and we’ve highlighted just a few for you try. You can have free fun by yourself, with your NUmates buddy, or get a group of other students together through the NUmates app.

See how many you can tick off before your classes start back in 2021!

Free and fun in Newcastle

You’ll find a whole range of (free) Newcastle activities and event options here and Newcastle City Council and the City Library run many free events and activities across summer.

Free and fun in Sydney

  • Explore the many walking trails along the coastlines or in the bush
  • Have a picnic in the Royal Botanical Gardens
  • Visit art galleries, most exhibitions are free! Check out Art Gallery of NSW
  • Visit the Rocks Markets on weekends, George Street, Playfair Street and Jack Mundey Place
  • Take a Newtown Street Art Walk and check out the centre of Sydney’s street art scene. The walk starts on the corner of King Street and Church Street

There are more suggestions for activities and event options here. The City Of Sydney page is updated with new events daily and remember to check eventbrite (search "free") as well.

Free and fun on the Central Coast

There are a huge range of things to do across summer, all across the beautiful Central Coast, famous for its beautiful beaches, scenic walks, State Forests and the Marine Discovery Centre.

There are numerous art galleries, including the Gosford Regional Gallery where you’ll also find the Edogawa Japanese Garden where you can feed the koi. The Central Coast Council and Visit Central Coast pages are both is updated regularly so check regularly for your choice of activities and events.

Across the summer break there are so many events and activities you can be part of, and we’ve highlighted just a few for you try. You can have free fun by yourself, with your NUmates buddy, or get a group of other students together.


No matter where you are in New South Wales, we hope you have a great time during your break and remind you to check the University of Newcastle COVID-19 page for updates.