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Student stories: Live like a local explore like a tourist

Catherine May

Thu Jul 05 2012

Catherine May

IN her time in Melbourne, UK exchange student Catherine May shares her experience of living like a local and exploring like a tourist – and loving every minute of it, unpredictable weather included!

When I first moved to Melbourne from England, I told myself I wanted to spend my semester here living like a local student. I wanted to avoid joining all those international societies, try and make local friends and explore local haunts.

Four months later and my best friend here is English, and I met my closest local friends through an international society event during O-Week. But would I change anything? Absolutely not.

On my blog I wrote a list of all the things I wanted to do during my semester abroad. I didn’t tick off everything I had on that list, but I gave it a pretty good shot.

I found out about the huge array of events that take place in the city every weekend while writing Meld’s The Weekender section, and I made it my mission to explore as much as possible.

I fell in love with the Northern suburbs, added brunch to my daily routine and attended some amazing live music gigs. I spent one Sunday a month listening to inspirational Australian women talk at Women of Letters in Thornbury, saw a handful of hilarious shows at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and got to see where Neighbours was filmed.

Melbourne was the reason I chose to study abroad (and so much more) and I can’t imagine how different the past four months would’ve been had I stayed at my home university in the UK.

As for the educational side of things, The University of Melbourne was everything I’d hoped it would be. I got to learn about Aboriginal linguistics and Australian history, which I never could have dreamed of studying back home.

For me, Melbourne has been the ideal place to study abroad. While I didn’t experience the sun, sea and sand postcard picture of Australia, I had the chance to see what life was really like here… and I quickly learned that heavy rain and delayed trams are just part of the city’s charm.

I guess I spent my time in Melbourne simultaneously living like a local student and a tourist. But for me, that’s exactly what makes being an international student so special.

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