How to Melbourne like a Pro

Vittoria is a final year student in the School of Business and Management, and studied abroad at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Looking to study abroad in Melbourne in the future, or maybe just fancy a trip over? Take a look below for Vittoria’s bullet point guide to the city!

Studying for a year in Melbourne was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my (meagre) 22 years of life. Not because of all the remarkable friends I made, the mouthwatering brunches I consumed, or the incredible lushness of Victorian nature, but because of all the challenges I had to face which come with immersion into a foreign environment, a city you don’t know, with no familiar faces. As the year progressed, I witnessed myself adapting, growing more resilient, and developing a sense of internal stability to the extent that one feels capable of world domination (I exaggerated here so that you could understand the level of confidence). Melbourne was an urban mélange of euphoric ups and downs, with the overall effect being memories that will stay with me forever. (Well, at least I hope, despite my brain’s ability to retain information deteriorating faster than the time it takes me to eat a slice of cake), as well as leading me to fully appreciate how incredible the world can be when you allow it the opportunity.

Below I have tried to create a bullet point guide to life in Melbourne, so you can hopefully feel a bit better equipped for the move!

Let us start with the Melbourne campus; it is as humongous as it is stunning. You will get lost multiple times. My advice is download the ‘Lost on Campus’ app; it will be your Holy Grail. Also, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to get to each class, and this is coming from a serial laggard.

Quick tips for campus:

  • There is almost always a free BBQ somewhere on campus, follow your nose.
  • Pick a few societies that appeal to you instead of trying to spread yourself too thin.
  • The pool is open to students in the morning for free. You’re welcome.
  • They used the underground car park in one of the Batman films. Check it out, it’s pretty cool.

Coming from London, Melbourne shouldn’t feel too intimidating in terms of size. In fact, I found the downsizing very enjoyable and it was one of the reasons I felt I could settle in so comfortably. The surrounding “suburbs” (boroughs) are where you should focus your adventurous attention. Each of these pockets has a unique charm, so take a few days to really explore them. 

How to be a Melbournian:

  • Brunch and Coffee: rest assured, all the rumours are true – Melbourne’s coffee is incredible. And I’m half Italian, so my standards are high.
    • Best brunch: Auction Rooms | Best cake: Green Refectory | Best matcha: Little Rogue
  • Bouldering: if you are into climbing up things to ridiculously good music and chilling with friendly people, this is the activity for you. A great way to meet new people and to spend an evening.
  • ‘Op shopping’: second hand shopping is huge in Melbourne. Just take a walk down Sydney Road to enjoy the selection of low priced, gorgeous, high quality pre-loved items.
    • Favorite store: Goodbyes
  • Tourist activity worth doing: Eureka Skydeck. This might seem a bit pricey, but pick a nice, partially cloudy day to go up the 88 floors for the sunset. (P.S. Don’t go in the “The Edge”).
  • Flying Foxes: If you walk north up-river from the Studley Park Boat House, you will enter into a protected area with tens of thousands of Flying Foxes (giant bats that will give you a heart attack the first time you see them).
  • Restaurants: everywhere you go will be outstanding so don’t worry.
    • Moroccan Soup Kitchen – the best meal I had in Melbourne. Get there early because it’s small and very busy.
    • Napier Quarter – slightly out of the hustle and bustle of Fitzroy. Exceptionally delicately flavoured food. Perfect for a sunny lunch.
    • Lentil as Anything – Vegan, pay as much as you can, amazing vibe.
  • Hike: if you can get hold of a car, head out to some of the Victorian National Parks.
    • Adventure: Cathedral Ranges (Sugarloaf Peak in particular) | Coastal: Bush Rangers Bay

Top Tips:

  • Get a bike, saves loads of time.
  • Take people’s numbers and meet up. Everyone is exceptionally friendly.
  • Get comfortable exploring by yourself, you won’t be disappointed.
  • Say yes to everything.
  • Prepare for 4 seasons in one day. No joke.

To finish off, if you are having doubts about doing an exchange, don’t worry you are not alone. It can be super rough diving head first into such an alien environment. But if I had listened to my brain telling me to get on the next flight home, I would have never been able to meet all the incredible people I did, had my taste buds so satisfied with sublime Asian cuisine, or witnessed such breath-taking sunsets. You learn to fight the urge to run from what is different and scary, you learn instead to take a few deep breaths and see where it takes you. Which in this case was to the best f*cking coffee of my life (pardon the Australian).

(P.S. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions, before or after you get there, I’m more than happy to answer them over a coffee! Melbourne may or may not have contributed to my mild caffeine addiction.)

As Vittoria kindly offers, if you’d like to be put in touch with her, please feel free to reach out to Study Abroad Manager, Jess Tan (jessica.tan@qmul.ac.uk) who can connect you!

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