Student stories: Exploring Melbourne as a student journalist

CHINESE international student Peter Zhang shares why he chose to study journalism in Australia, and what his journalistic exploits have taught him about Melbourne. 

Share your student stories with us at

Share your student stories with us at Photo (adapted): Fernando de Sousa via flickr

I knew next to nothing about Australia before leaving China. And I chose to study journalism because I wanted to experience the Aussie way of life.

I thought journalism would help me to explore the city and keep me up-to-date with the latest events and happenings. Did it work?

The answer is yes.

Two and a half years later, I have worked on a myriad of stories that have given me a taste of the city’s diversity.

I once wrote about an atheist convention that was taking place in Melbourne – and it gave me the opportunity to meet and interview a variety of people and engage in different attitudes towards faith.

I interned at a magazine where I was asked to write a lifestyle piece about the top places to have fun in Melbourne. To do that, I had to learn how to get around Melbourne, research online to find the location of venues, options for transport, and how to get to various destinations.

Some international students find it hard to break out of their comfort zone and engage in Australia’s youth culture. This story gave me insight to Australia’s youth culture, how young Australians like to spend their time, and what activities they like to enjoy with their friends.

And then there were the stories that many international students can probably relate to.

Public transport delays and the sometimes frustratingly long wait for trains, Melbourne’s unpredictable weather and how it could be sunny one minute and pouring rain the next.

But all of this makes up my experiences in Melbourne, and I cannot imagine how different the past two and a half years would have been had I chosen to stay on to pursue my university degree in China.

For me, Melbourne has been an ideal place for an international student to study abroad.

Not that there aren’t any downsides – I do sometimes worry about my safety when I’m out at night, fearing I may be the victim of an assault. But then again, Australia’s probably not the only country that needs to deal with perceptions of safety.

But for the most part, I’ve felt Australians are a friendly bunch and it has pleased me to be able to say “good day” to my neighbours when I head to school, and to be greeted in return. As an international student, it makes me feel at home.

What have your experiences been like studying in Australia? Share your stories with us at

There is one comment

  1. Matt

    It can be a great idea to work with Meld or other student newspapers or magazines. While the pay won’t be great – at least you’ll be making new friends and being social.

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