First Impressions… Melbourne, Australia

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Well then, I have been in Melbourne about a month now and it I feel like I have only really scratched the surface of this city. Initially, it was a bit overwhelming. I spent the first two and half weeks in a hostel on my own on Flinders Street, which is basically the centre point of the Central Business District (CBD). There are a million things going on around but I had a very specific, singular purpose during this period: to find myself some permanent accommodation. Unfortunately, the rental sector in Melbourne is unimaginably hard to navigate without help/contacts as I came to learn, and you have to be prepared to make sacrifices, whether that be sharing a room to cut the rent to live in a really cool area (for example, Fitzroy or Carlton- but these are miles and miles from uni) or live further out so that you can have your own personal space and pay a little less. That’s not to say the suburbs aren’t expensive, expect to be paying near enough London prices ($220 a week would be considered a reasonably cheap rent). Any who, as I study at Monash, I went for the latter option so that I could be within commutable distance to Clayton (a suburb where dreams go to die- seriously, there’s nothing there apart from Monash).

That said, Melbourne has so much going for it (lots of cool restaurants- I highly recommend Hell’s Kitchen, it’s on one of the famous laneways, and China Town, bars, markets- the night market at the Victoria Market on a Wednesday or Saturday night is a must visit attraction and many, many sporting venues- so the MCG, Etihad, Rod Laver etc. etc. I have been to see an Aussie rules game, although it was at the Etihad rather than the MCG and it was crap. I wouldn’t recommend seeing Essendon currently, they recently had half their team suspended for mass doping- so this season their team is rubbish.

Nevertheless, the public transport is of a very high standard (even if the tapping on and off on the three types is very confused, so it’s relatively easy to get around and of course there’s the beach (although its winter currently so I haven’t been much- it’s been very cold most of the time).

One thing I would say that Leeds perhaps could have done better is equal out the gender balance, as 25 of us came to Melbourne and I am one of three guys (and the other two guys chose to live in halls), so this left me looking for accommodation on my own which wasn’t great.

Otherwise, definitely come to Melbourne at some point, it’s worth it.

Written by Joshua Lewis – Monash University

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