Hello from Australia!
After almost a fully day of traveling, which included a 16-hour plane ride from Los Angeles to Brisbane, followed by a 3-hour layover, and finally another 3-hour plane ride from Brisbane to Melbourne, I really thought I would never be able to say that. Australia isn’t called the land down under for no reason: Melbourne is a whopping 10,284.94 miles from Philadelphia.
This week is orientation week and classes won’t commence until the following week. So these past few days have just been a whirlwind of typical orientation activities:
Free food: snow cones, pancakes, Aussie sausage sandwiches (which are like American hot dogs, but instead of a hot dog bun, it’s wrapped in white toast), etc.
Free useless things that will probably end up in landfills: heavy duty plastic cups, reusable cloth bags, pens, and things of that sort emblazoned with names and logos of popular banks, phone companies, and internet providers.
Free orientation events: scavenger hunts, parties, club days, etc.
Settling into Melbourne + Housing Arrangements
I got to my apartment via free shuttle provided by Swinburne University. Swinburne University is about a 45 minute to 1-hour drive from the Melbourne Airport and could cost you about $80 to travel with another service. I highly recommend taking advantage of this free shuttle service provided by Harlan; all you have to do is book 24-hours in advance.
Most students who attend Swinburne don’t live on campus. There aren’t enough rooms—so students aren’t guaranteed housing—and it’s exceedingly more expensive than the surrounding suburbs. If you’re interested in looking for housing in the suburbs, I’d recommend gumtree.com.au, flatmates.com.au, or Fairy Floss Real Estate Group on Facebook! It definitely takes a lot of extra time and effort, but you will probably wind up saving a lot of money in the long run—as with most things in life.
However, on campus housing might be the best option for international students who are unfamiliar with the area and are not staying for a substantial period of time.
I chose to live in the student housing and I am so far happy with my decision. I am currently living with three other girls in a four-bedroom apartment. My roommates are from India, China, and Japan. The apartments are conveniently located on campus. They’re minutes away from classrooms and adjacent to Glenferrie Road, which is a major road home to a variety of different restaurants, coffee shops, clothing stores, and grocery stores. It’s also a great place to meet other people and not to mention, there’s an awesome view of the Central Business District (CBD)—or Melbourne’s City Center.
There is an Ikea and K-mart located in the Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre which is a short Uber ride away from campus. There you can buy pots, pans, bed linens, and anything else you need to get yourself situated. For groceries, there is Woolworth’s and Cole’s—both are less than a 10-minute walk away.