Australia offers fantastic abroad study opportunities that offer life-changing experiences and Melbourne has secured its place at the top of the list. Every city, however, is challenging for foreigners in its own way, especially when it comes to students. The best way to make sure that your adjusting period to this majestic city is as seamless as possible is coming prepared, which is exactly what this guide will hopefully help you with.
First and foremost, as soon as you land, you’ll have to find a way to get from point A (being the airport) to point B (wherever you’re going to reside). Public transportation, of course, is by far the cheapest and the most effective way of getting around the city and it is of the essence that you obtain a myki card as soon as possible. What does this card do? Well, it gives you the ultimate freedom to travel on trains, trams, buses and V/Line commuters. Once you’ve purchased the myki card, make sure that you top it up, as it will not have any balance on it once you receive it. You can get it online, or at 7-Elevens, premium stations, and Myki machines.
You should know that Melbourne has the largest urban tramway network in the world and that tram services are active between 5 a.m. and midnight, Monday through Thursday, between 5 a.m. and 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays.
If you are looking to save up during your stay in Melbourne, avoid taxis and if you can’t, do not tip, as this isn’t a common thing in Australia, so the drivers won’t expect you to, to begin with.
While staying in Melbourne, chances are that you’re going to shop for groceries at supermarkets, such as Coles, Woolworths, ALDI, Costco, Laguna and IGA, which are scattered throughout the city. However, you are traveling, so we do suggest that you pay a visit to a restaurant at least once a month, preferably on a weekly basis. When it comes to Japanese food, we recommend Kenzan Japanese Restaurant, which offers a wide variety of sushi, eel, sashimi and mixed platter options. Greek food in the city is fantastic in general, but Alpha Ouzeri excels at the number of dish options. If you’re still looking to save up, try Pho Hung Vuong Saigon (Vietnamese), Moroccan Soup Bar (Moroccan) or Fancy Hank’s BBQ Joint (if you’re looking for an authentic American barbecue).
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Unfortunately for visitors on a budget, Melbourne isn’t exactly a cheap city when it comes to housing costs. In fact, the only city that beats Melbourne in this department is Sydney! However, there are plenty of “loopholes” to get you settled when it comes to cheap and convenient student accommodation in Melbourne. For example, right across the road from the Queen Victoria Markets (an extremely popular location), a student city is set for opening in 2018.
Until then, if you try hard enough, you can find a one-bedroom apartment for less than $500 per week.
The whole point of studying abroad is getting introduced to a new environment and a new culture, so visiting main attractions goes without saying. Here’s a list of some that you should not miss:
The Melbourne Museum – One of the most important ones throughout the country.
Oceanic Road – This is a 151-mile stretch of road that surrounds the southeastern coast and one of the world’s most popular driving locations.
Queen Victoria Market – This is a staggering two-block structure, that offers everything from fresh produce and meats, to exotic foods such as rabbit and crocodile (you have to try crocodile while you’re in Australia).
Flagstaff Garden – This awesome tourist attraction is also one of Melbourne’s most popular parks and it boasts vast horticulture and historical legacy, along with stunning archeological buildings.
There is a lot that Melbourne can offer to a visiting student – from vibrant nightlife to breathtaking sites and cultural landmarks. Make sure that you plan your commuting and your budget, but don’t miss out on its key attractions.