My Experience as an International Student in Melbourne

Megan is a Brand Ambassador for The Student Housing Company and a third year international student at the University of Melbourne. She is currently pursuing a degree in commerce majoring in Accounting and Finance. She is a Filipino Chinese who hails from Singapore and has lived in Hong Kong and China too. A fun and driven individual, she knows how to work hard and play harder. She #livesforthegram and is a meme lord. If you see her around campus, don’t forget to say hi!

TSHC Brand Ambassador, Megan

My first days

I moved to Melbourne from Singapore in mid 2016 and it was my first time in Australia, so it was pretty mind-blowing for me being introduced to a new culture on top of navigating my way through independent student life.

Moving to a new country is no easy feat, especially when you are an international student. For the majority of international students, it is our first time leaving the nest. We no longer are able to turn to the comforts of our home and family like we used to, so I understand that for many of you, starting a new chapter in a different country can be daunting. However, do not fret! Here are some tips to get you through adjusting to your new life in Melbourne:

Tip 1: Finding your new nest

For all you students planning to study in Melbourne, accommodation will be the most important order of business. When finding your new nest, there are many factors to consider such as location, community and amenities, amongst other things.

Location

As a new student, I highly recommend finding accommodation near the university. Getting lost is easy and living near campus will save you lots of time and help you familiarise yourself with the campus a lot quicker. Besides, who wouldn’t like waking up 15 minutes before lecture! Living near campus also means a higher probability of getting to know fellow students who live around the area and attending more university events and university club activities.

Amenities

Depending on your personal needs, you will need to take into consideration the amenities you require or prefer, such as your own personal bathroom, kitchen and laundry area. It will be much easier narrowing down the options available to you!

Enrolment dates would be around summer (Janurary-Feburary) or winter (June-July). It was the middle of winter when I moved to Melbourne and finding a nice warm home to go back to was of utmost priority to me. I love the cold but I’m so scared of it! Ensuring that your accommodation has appropriate heating or cooling systems is something that you should keep in mind.

Living alone vs Student accommodation

As a new student, you may not have many friends who are attending the same university as yourself, even more so as an international student. Finding your own community and support system is important, and one way to do that is through your accommodation. What better way to make new friends than through sharing your common experiences in your living environment?

I stayed in student accommodation when I first moved to Melbourne and currently live in an apartment with my friends. I find that an advantage student accommodation, like The Student Housing Company, has over other living arrangements is that they are usually located close to university with all the necessary amenities and provide you with community. You will not have to worry about furniture, transport and utilities. All you have to do is move in with your personal belongings and the rest is history! For students who want to study in Melbourne, this is the perfect way to get started.

Tip 2: Explore Melbourne – the world’s most liveable city as a student and tourist

Once you have your accommodation sorted, it’s time to actually start living! Melbourne is a treasure trove really, embracing diversity and inclusivity, everyone will feel at home in no time. One way I managed to overcome the initial home-sickness is by keeping myself busy. I took every opportunity I had to explore Melbourne with my new friends.

For the students who are not from Melbourne, remember that you are not just a student. Take this opportunity to be a tourist as well, travel Melbourne and explore the World’s most liveable city. There are so many things for you to do besides just staying cooped up at home studying!

Up till today, my friends and I are constantly planning outings to travel Melbourne. If you like the outdoors, I highly recommend visiting the beaches, such as St Kilda Beach. Victoria has some serious sights to visit as well, including:

All of these locations are just a car drive away.

Trip to The Grampians where I climbed to the pinnacle

In winter you can also visit Falls Creek, Mount Buller, Mount Hotham or Mount Baw Baw for a snow trip! Check out their websites and ski your way through the mid-year holidays:

My good friend Shelly from Guang Zhou, who I met while we were in our first year. Both of us took a trip out to Mornington Peninsula after exams!

Not a fan of the outdoors? Melbourne has got your back. Melbourne’s music festivals, bars and clubs will keep you entertained. These establishments usually open till late. Who says there is nothing to do at night? If you are a foodie, head to Queen Victoria Market or South Melbourne Market for some fresh seafood and groceries. Or you can explore the suburbs and their quaint little cafes. My personal favourites are the cafes along Chapel Street.

Put yourself out there and do not be afraid to experience your new environment!

Tip 3: Remember to enjoy!

The best part about being an international student here is being able to wake up and smell the coffee, literally. Melbourne is a city that knows how to enjoy life and live everyday as it comes. Furthermore, Victoria is known to be the education state and for good reason. Some of Australia’s top universities are found here, and they offer boundless opportunities and a trove of resources at your disposal. Do not forget to embrace your learning journey in Melbourne both in university and outside of university.

Studying in Melbourne has allowed me to grow and develop as an individual. It had given me perspective and has taught me to appreciate what I have back in Singapore as well as what I have in Melbourne. It is because I have created for myself a way of life in Melbourne I am comfortable with and a support system of friends who help me through studies and life in general, that I am able to excel as a student and as a person. I can confidently say that being in Melbourne has allowed me to enjoy my university experience and what I am studying.

Melbourne has more than just coffee and croissants to offer, and I hope you will be able to experience it for yourself!

Ask Megan

Feel free to ask Megan anything with regards to student life in Melbourne! Also stay tuned for more blogs from Megan as she shares with us her experiences as a student in Melbourne.

Instagram: @megaortega

Facebook: Megan Ortega

Email: ortegam@student.unimelb.edu.au

 

If you’re looking for accommodation that will provide you with a strong community and an optimal location, check out our properties around Australia.

Melbourne: University Square and Infinity Place

Perth: The Boulevard