Victoria is experiencing significant bushfires this summer but its world class schools, TAFEs universities and higher education sector remain open and continue to receive returning and commencing students.

The bushfires in the east of the state have had a significant impact on local communities and farmers, and state and federal government agencies are coordinating efforts to fight the fires and help these communities recover.

However, the fires have not affected the operation of Victorian universities, TAFEs and schools enrolling international students.

While Melbourne is experiencing some intermittent smoke haze, the city is located hundreds of kilometers from the current fires. Depending on wind strength and direction, smoke from these fires can affect areas of Melbourne, Geelong and East Victoria. Care should be taken to avoid or reduce potential health effects.

Victoria has been overwhelmed by the generosity of people across Australia and around the world who are making offers of help. Some students have asked us how they can help. The best way to help is to donate to the official appeal being coordinated by the Victorian Government. Details of how to donate are available on the Victorian Government website https://www.vic.gov.au/bushfireappeal

Students and visitors currently in Victoria are advised not to travel to the outer eastern parts of the state, specifically the East Gippsland, High Country and Upper Murray regions. For up to date information on the status of the fires visit the Emergency Management Victoria websitehttps://www.emv.vic.gov.au/. Students with specific concerns are advised to contact their institutions and providers directly.

The Study Melbourne Student Centre (SMSC) located at 17 Hardware Lane, Melbourne is open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday to support international students who may be feeling distressed or anxious. Alternatively, students call the SMSC 24-hr helpline on 1800 056 449.

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