Melbourne is quickly becoming one of the world’s most popular study destinations for students and there are plenty of reasons for this. Personally, I’ve spent two years studying at university in Melbourne, and the aim of this article is to present the good and the bad of being a student in Melbourne in case you’re thinking of this city as a possible study destination.
1) World-class universities:
Melbourne is home to some of the best universities in Australia and in the world. The University of Melbourne is consistently ranked as one of the best universities in the world, placing at #33 in the world in the 2014 QS World University Rankings.
The University of Melbourne has Australia’s most comprehensive exchange partnership program, providing many students from all over the world the opportunity to come and study at the university.
Other institutions like Monash University, Deakin University and RMIT are some of the most prestigious universities in Australia, all with generous exchange programs.
The University of Melbourne, RMIT and Monash University are located in in the CBD or just to the south of the city centre, with Deakin being located out in the Eastern suburbs.
2) Very active student and social life:
One of the reasons that Melbourne has become one of the most popular student destinations in the world is its well-known student and social life that is at the disposal of any student who chooses Melbourne as their preferred location.
In Australia, it is considered to be an essential part of the university experience to participate in student organizations and engage in an active social life. At all the aforementioned universities in Melbourne, student social organizations enjoy substantial funding and are given pride of place amongst other student societies and clubs.
In terms of Melbourne itself, the city has a fantastic nightlife available to enjoy seven nights a week, and due to the warm climate year-round, there are always festivals and other outdoor activities to partake in around the city.
Whilst Australia may be geographically isolated from other countries, and with Melbourne being in the far south-east, it is a challenge to travel to different countries, so for many student this is just not an option. However, this should not discourage you, as the region around Melbourne has more than enough to keep you entertained.
Travelling to Sydney is an easy and relatively cheap two-hour flight from Melbourne, with destinations like Australia’s capital city Canberra, the city of Adelaide and the wilderness of Tasmania also being popular travel destinations for Melbournians.
Melbourne is consistently ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world, and being a student living in the city can be quite difficult.
In my experience, if you want to find student accommodation near your university campus which is more than likely close of to the city centre, you are likely to be paying at least AUD$1000 per month, approximately 600EUR for the most basic living space.
In addition to this, your average grocery bill is likely to be close to AUD$50 per week, and if you intend to enjoy Melbourne’s extensive nightlife scene, you’d best be ready to scrape the bottom of your wallet.
2) Public Transport:
If you ask any Melbournian what their biggest frustration with their city is, they will more than likely tell you of the phenomenally unreliable public transport system.
For many years, Melbourne’s public transport system, whether it be buses, trains or trams, have been the butt of jokes by those living in and visiting the city.
Regular delays and cancellations with very little assistance is a point of frustration of many locals, and as the system continues to falter under the stress of a population reaching well over 5 million, these issues are likely to worsen.
And whilst using public transport, it would be advisable that you ensure that you always follow the rules laid down in relation to both fares and general behaviour as ticket inspectors are extremely common and particularly ruthless. They are highly unlikely to let you go with a warning whether you are a local or a foreigner, and with base-level fines of AUD$209 per offence (approx. 120EUR), it certainly pays to follow the rules.
So this article has attempted to outline some of the good and the bad of being a student in Melbourne. Essentially, if you are a student with decent financial resources and a bit of patience, you would be free to enjoy all the fantastic opportunities that Melbourne, undoubtedly Australia’s greatest city, has to offer.