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App-based safety support for international students

For 500,000+ international students [1], studying in Australia can be a life enhancing experience, but it also has unknown risks. A new emergency alert system provides app-based access to in-person critical incident and support services around the clock.  Allianz Global Assistance and Sonder Australia have come together to provide the service.

As a provider of Overseas Student Health Cover to international students attending Australian universities for over 15 years, Allianz Global Assistance has experienced 13,000 calls to its Student Assistance Line and has seen firsthand the issues that can impact students.

 The Sonder system offers:

  • Distress Function: In the event of a critical incident, users simply press the red distress button in the app and the Sonder Support Centre will receive a priority alert. If required, Sonder Australia will send one of their local professionals to the location to provide in-person assistance. They will also contact local emergency services to provide assistance if needed.
  • Check In/Out: When activated by the user, this function allows Sonder Australia to monitor the user’s location and send regular alerts to make sure they are OK. If they don’t receive a response, they will dispatch one of their local professionals.
  • Walk with Me: When activated by the user, the Sonder Support Centre will monitor the user’s location and route, walking with them virtually to guide them to their destination. If any problems are identified along the way, Sonder Australia will contact the user to make sure they’re okay.
  • I’m Safe: In the event of a natural disaster or security incident, Sonder Australia will activate its geographic alert system to ensure all affected students are safe and secure. They will also provide timely updates to the student’s parents with news as to their safety.

Darryl Goodhand, General Manager of International Health said: “Often, when international students come to Australia it is their first time away from home. Without a support network around them, it can be a confusing and daunting time. It’s natural to worry about safety and coping with cultural differences when adapting to a new environment.

“The recent report by the Human Rights Commission has highlighted that there are potential risks to the personal safety of international students in university settings. With our exclusive arrangement with Sonder Australia we are able to extend local support and care to international students in Australia and provide local support when living in a new country.

"Parents at home can also feel powerless if a serious incident does occur - we hope this product will give both parents and students themselves peace of mind knowing that their child has access to safety services and that they can stay connected and up to date at all times.”

1 Australian Federal Department of Education and Training data 2017

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