If you think leaving home was hard, leaving Melbourne might be harder…

WHICH is harder? Leaving home for an education overseas, or leaving the country you’ve made your second home now that you’ve graduated? Singapore-bound, Samantha Toh looks back at her time in Melbourne and what she’s taken away from it. 

UPDATE: Since this story went viral, one of our readers Jan Lim has written her piece in response, on ‘Why leaving Melbourne can be one of the best decisions in your life’.

life after graduation

While moving to Melbourne might be easy enough, leaving would appear to be a whole different story.

Like most international students, I moved here for university. Having spent the last two years in Singapore, I felt at home right away, admittedly because of the large Asian student population in the CBD (where I, and what would seem like a sizeable population of international students live). The food was great, the weather seemed glorious (I moved over in the beginning of the year during summer – how wrong I was…), the trains and trams were easy enough to navigate, but most of all it was the liberating experience of being away from home and the watchful eyes of parents that was the most exciting and refreshing of all.

Grocery shopping at the Queen Victoria Market. Photo: Samantha Toh

Grocery shopping at the Queen Victoria Market. Photo: Samantha Toh

After 17 years living with my parents, my newfound freedom coupled with the mobility of living in the city seemed almost criminal. I could do whatever, wherever, whenever I pleased. That translated into: lots of late night/early morning Hungry Jacks and McDonald runs, living in as messy a state as my laziness afforded, meeting up with friends for meals and drinks (so grown up!) and cooking whatever I wanted, nutritional value aside. The latter grew old surprisingly quickly, but being amongst friends who were similarly getting their first taste of freedom was beyond electrifying. At times it almost all felt like one big party, like we were playing grown ups away from our parents and reality, with only brief interludes in this fantasy world being winter and summer holidays back home.

We immersed ourselves in all things Melbournian – grabbing brunch in cool tucked away alleyways, weekend grocery trips to Queen Victoria Market, dingy hipster bars, drinking real, proper coffee, attending all kinds of street markets (markets in Asia are totally different), Melbourne’s little Italy on Lygon Street, music festivals, the Moomba festival, trips to the ski slopes, jetting off to the Gold Coast or Sydney during breaks.

…perhaps the most important lesson of all has been the importance of savouring and loving life. And while I may leave Melbourne in a month for good, that’s a lesson worth learning and carrying with me wherever I find myself.”

The culture here is something so unique, I don’t think you could find it anywhere else in Australia. Certainly not in Perth where I grew up, and dare I say even in Sydney can you find the sheer number of fashionistas/hipsters/hourly protests so common in Melbourne. And it’s this uniquely Melburnian culture that I will sorely miss when I move back to Singapore. No more feverish protests about anything and everything (no more protests at all actually…), no more Hare Krishnas dancing along the street, no more (sometimes contrived) hipster population of two hundred thousand, no more casual brunch catch-ups in obscure little lanes and back alleys, no more meeting fellow students from all over the world.

I suppose with graduation looming and the inevitable return home for most international students, it’s all crashing down now – the reality that is moving away from Melbourne and back to the hustle and bustle of life in Asia. Granted, I love Singapore and all of Asia in general, but having had a taste of the unique lifestyle here in Melbourne, it’s definitely going to be difficult to adjust, initially at least.

Experiencing Melbourne' unique cafe culture. Photo: Samantha Toh

Experiencing Melbourne’ unique cafe culture. Photo: Samantha Toh

A friend who left Melbourne a couple of years ago told me recently the first few months back home are the worst. He found himself longing for Melbourne, missing his laidback, carefree student life and struggling to get used to the frantic, fast-paced life in Asia. Not only did he leave the relaxed lifestyle and attitudes of Melbourne, he left it for frenetic Singapore and the working world, the latter of which is a huge adjustment in itself. But as with all things, time has a way of making everything okay. Eventually, having been “swallowed up by the hustle and bustle” (comforting…) he readjusted to life back home, looking back on his time in Melbourne appreciatively.

No doubt that will be the same for most of us returning home – we will sooner or later adapt and get back into the swing of things, but Melbourne will always hold a special place in our hearts. For it is here that we got our first brush of adulthood and freedom, that we learned it’s okay to go against the grain and dress however you please, be open minded and opinionated (F*** Tony Abbott protests, anyone?) and just appreciate the simple things in life.

If anything, I’d say of all the things I’ve learnt in Melbourne – university degree aside – perhaps the most important lesson of all has been the importance of savouring and loving life. And while I may leave Melbourne in a month for good, that’s a lesson worth learning and carrying with me wherever I find myself.

There are 98 comments

  1. Julian

    Thank you for the heartfelt article, really enjoyed it. Here’s wishing you all the best in your endeavours back home. So glad I don’t have to go back to Sg 😛

  2. J

    Agreed! Currently in my final year and I’m feeling the reluctance of my inevitably leave from Melbourne. The world’s most livable city indeed.

  3. Bhagya

    You just poured your heart out.Everyone goes through a phase from child to accepting responsibilities. Above all that has what Melbourne has taught us. Really nice article. All the best.

  4. kAi

    Enjoy the rest of your time in Melbourne. While being back in Singapore might swallow you up in the “real world”, take in joy in the fact you can always go back for a visit. I just did that in June, and it was great!

  5. kAi

    Enjoy the rest of your time in Melbourne. While being back in Singapore might swallow you up in the “real world”, take joy in the fact you can always go back for a visit. I just did that in June, and it was great!

  6. Eric

    Hear hear.

    Back from Sydney after 9 years and moved out of home after 2 weeks. I visit my parents every week but I love the control I have of my life.

  7. Marcus

    This post reeks of self-entitlement.

    You were a student in a foreign country. Its a 3 – 4-year long holiday. You had no greater responsibilities aside from studies and relaxing, which is not all that hard to do.

    Welcome back to the real world.

    1. Jingwei

      And your comment reeks of ignorance.

      For many of us, being a student in a foreign country isn’t just about “studies and relaxing”. It’s about learning how to be an adult, managing your own life, discovering career opportunities and even balancing work and studies. Last I heard, the term ‘holiday’ doesn’t include all the above.

    2. TF

      As an intl student I can confirm many of us go thru the exact same experience. Coming here to study means more responsibility and for most of us the fist time living away from our families so obliviously it’s a big change to go home and it’s normal to feel sad!? And FYI many of us have to balance study (u think achieving good grades and staying on top of our work in biomed or engineering while working crappy jobs is not all that hard to do? Many of us have to pay for our own living costs like crazy exp transport, rental etc so maybe we don’t have all the responsibilities of the “real world” yet but pls don’t insult and be so condescending to us by calling our yrs in Melbourne a “3-4 year long holiday”.

      1. alvaalcoco

        I agree with Marcus. I find it funny how international students think that they only learn to be an adult once they start living without their parents. how do your parents raise you? but of course, if you have money and parents as cash cows, her experience can be your experience too.

        1. TF

          Often international students have been mollycoddled by their parents and they have different lifestyles than say people from Western backgrounds who start working or move out at a very young age. Naturally moving overseas and having to fend for themselves means new responsibilities and a big change. Don’t hate on international students who come from totally different backgrounds and cultures, not everyone embraces adulthood at the same pace! And while not all of them have cash cows for parents some are lucky enough to and what’s the problem with that? Obviously their experiences would be different to your average joe but I certainly don’t think they need to apologize for having wealthy parents and having the lifestyle they have. There’s inequality in every society and they’re simple lucky, accept it.

      2. DD

        Sounds so hard to have parents paying for everything. It isn’t just international students that have to leave home to go to university. International students (legally) can only work 20 hours – which is much less than what many domestic students do. If you are working more, maybe you should of followed your visa conditions… The difference is that many domestic students don’t have the option to fall back on their parents. They don’t live in the middle of the city in expensive apartments eating out every night…

    3. Steven

      Marcus, tell me how is studying for a degree a holiday?

      No greater responsibility other than study and relaxing? How about think of budgeting? getting food? speaking language or interacting with people in a whole new environment?

      Not to mention most of them have part time jobs to keep up with living standards as most times the amount their parents gave are only just enough for day to day payments due to the high living cost of Australia.

      I dont know what caused your ignorance and think Study = holidays. Maybe it is for you as you live in the same area, having parents to go back to and have friends that you made previously in live all around you. Or maybe you are just self righteous thinking all foreigners are bad?

      But remember they came here have to start brand new. Making new circles and no parents to go back to is quite hard. It is no way a holiday.

      1. Marcus


        Speaking the language? She went to AUSTRALIA for pete’s sake. Last I checked, the biggest linguistic challenge a Singaporean had to do to communicate with the locals was to slow down, enunciate properly and drop the “lahs” and “lors”.

        Everybody knows that there is no serious education done in Australia, with the exception of, say, medicine. The standards are non-rigorous, to put it mildly. Its no secret really.

        Everybody starts brand new somewhere. With the army of Asians flocking to Australia to study every year, and most of them sticking to themselves, I don’t see how it pushes any significant boundaries of their comfort zone.

        Budgeting? Please lah. The only budgeting they have to do is to set aside money for clubbing and/or road trips.

        My point still stands. It is a holiday

        1. An old Singaporean abroad

          Congratulations, now not only have you offended international students, you’ve offended the entire Australian education system!

          It’s very easy to make such sweeping statements that you can only support by saying “everybody knows.. it’s no secret really”. The many graduates from Aussie unis who return to their home countries, Singapore included, and find employment in their respective fields suggests otherwise. What do you make of the many Aussie graduates now working in finance/ib? Or do you choose to pretend they don’t exist? Apart from medicine, there are also no veterinary science courses in sg to my knowledge and the majority of vets studied in none other than Australia! Odd that they’re allowed to practice considering they didn’t receive a “serious education”. Or do you only trust your pets with Uk trained vets?

          Do you resent students who have the financial privilege to study overseas, specifically in Australia, to the point where you have to belittle their education and lifestyle habits? I honestly do not know what to make of your clubbing and road trip comment, as it seems to me you’re suggesting having a good time equals not taking one’s studies seriously. People can do both. Why come to Australia and not see the sights or enjoy a night out if one can afford to?

          Also, I know for a fact that many students in Singapore go clubbing and I’m fairly certain they depend on their parents financially throughout university, as part time jobs pay not nearly enough to see students moving out, paying their own rent, healthcare insurance, electricity/internet/water bills. Or were you different and an exceptional university student who managed to receive a stellar education and finance your own life at the same time?

          And finally, in the spirit of sweeping statements, it would appear you are one of those unsavoury Singaporeans who feels that if someone didn’t go to an Ivy League school, Oxbridge or the most ‘prestigious’ of them all, NUS, they’re uneducated and inferior.

          Perhaps Marcus, it’s you who has failed to receive a proper education. One of learning not to be so narrow minded, elitist and critical of that which you know nothing about, namely the international student experience and an education system that you have personally never been a part of.

  8. Michael Jhoomun

    Great honest reading. I suggest you maintain your ‘Melbourne’ Network professionally via a Linked In profile as you may want to come back one day after a few years experience in Singapore. …Just a suggestion:-)

      1. Y

        @funnyarticle: All your comments stink with biases, ignorance, and plain stupidity. You should have realised by now that no one appreciates them.

        That is all to say you’re a d*ckhead.

        You should stop talking.

  9. TT

    I too, came from Singapore, and studied in Melbourne during my university years. Many of my peers who came with me went back home, but I realised I liked it so much here that I decided to stay, and it’s been a couple of years since then.

    If you like it so much here, then you should probably find a way to stay!

  10. Jaydos

    I too am returning back to Singapore from Melbourne in a month’s time.

    Can’t forget the Hare Krishna’s dancing down Swanston Street banging their percussion and tambourines.

    The amazing coffee you find at every nook and cranny.

    4 seasons in a day (anyone remember the hail a month or two ago where it kept going in a cycle of hail/sun/hail/sun/hail/sun?)

    Road’s blocked off for the footy grand final and all the festivals at Federation Square.

    I think for most people, it’s hard to leave Melbourne, myself included but my choice to return to Singapore was one based out of opportunities rather than something which I cannot choose. I could have taken a job with one of Australia’s biggest AV companies but I’d have to be based in Beijing for 2 years. Being a songwriter and composer, I see more opportunities back home and regionally rather than staying in Australia.

    I wish all those who are returning the best and for all those who can and will remain, good on you!

  11. funnyarticle

    Sounds like you just want to showoff that you’ve studied abroad and pampered yourself oversea only. The title of your article should call “Hey, i’ve been study oversea before. I’m so special”

    1. funnycomment

      Your comment reeks of jealousy, and you obviously can’t comprehend the message in this article. “Hey, I want to study overseas but i can’t.” Suck it up and look outside the well you live in, frog boy.

      1. funnyarticle

        love your response lol. That’s exactly what i hope to see you guys get emo with my comments lol. I was afraid no one gonna comments on my english before, well done! Reminds me conversation from world of warcraft

    2. P

      Well if it is that is the opinion you have formed from reading this beautiful account of a girl’s experiences, hopes, and fears as an international student, I recommend that you stop reading altogether.

      1. funnyarticle

        It seems like you really into this girl lol. You have proven yourself here and i think you’re qualify to date her. You should ask for her phone number next or maybe ask her for a date in melbourne. lol

  12. Sean

    What do you expect, you can’t be carefree forever unless you’re extremely wealthy!
    Glad you’ve enjoyed my hometown though!
    All the best!

  13. Syf

    It’s a nicely written piece on the author’s experience overseas. Concluded with a hint of reminiscence of the student life abroad and anxiety anticipating the unknown future. Wishing her all the best in this upcoming phase of life and welcome to the working world. It brings a different set of joy and experiences. I just never understood how simple articles can elicit negative judgements and how far the comments go off topic subsequent to that. Like your momma so…

    1. funnyarticle

      Hi Syf, if you enjoy reading your so-called nicely written author’s experiences oversea you shouldn’t concern with my comments that spoiled everything. Gotcha lols

  14. Devin Gunawan

    Thanks for this wonderful article ive read. Im an alumni and cant wait for the upcoming Melbourne experience.

    P.S. Ur very pretty.. 😀

  15. Aussie

    Funnyarticle, did you even attend university? I highly doubt it given your failure to grasp basic English. Your comments also suggest that you are aged between 12 and 15 and have probably spent a lot of your teenage years holed up in your room playing ‘World of Warcraft’. Are you feeling jealous because you would never get attention from girls like the author? Hence why you’ve posted numerous ridiculous comments? I’d highly recommend you ditch your keyboard and stop having sex with your hands, get out there and enjoy Melbourne.

    Btw, good article. Great read.

    1. funnyarticle

      Hi Aussie (lols love your nick),

      I don’t worry much about my english and i knew it will always be a concern to some people like you. But at least my message intention has been delivered or else you wouldn’t seems to understand what am i trying to expressed right? lol But i do really appreciate to have your attention and concern with my english. Please lecture me so that i can improve my english.

      It seems like you’re one of the world of warcraft player before. 😀 would you mind to share your nick and server that you play? What’s your class and which fraction you played?

      Actually i’m not interested with the girl above at all. But i think you did get her attention by defending her lol.

      ” I’d highly recommend you ditch your keyboard and stop having sex with your hands” – That’s something a wow player would say

      ” get out there and enjoy Melbourne” – That’s not a wow player would say / do LOLS

      1. Aussie

        Although this was a waste of time speaking to you, please see corrections to your post in BOLD below. My community service is done for the day. Funny how you’re a FOB who picks on other international students. At least the writer will get a job after graduation. Can’t say the same for you… I just hope your spoken English isn’t half as bad as your written English if you’re planning to stay in Australia, or work anywhere where English is a requirement.

        Here goes – I don’t worry TOO much about my English and I KNOW it will always be OF concern to some people like you. But at least my message WAS delivered or else you wouldn’t SEEM to understand what I WAS trying to SAY right? lol But I do appreciate YOUR ATTENTION AND CONCERN. Please CORRECT me so that I can improve my English. (YOU’RE WELCOME)

        It seems like you’re A World of Warcraft PLAYER 😀 would you mind SHARING your nick and server that you play ON? What’s your class and which fraction DID you PLAY WITH?

        Actually I’m not interested IN the girl above at all. But I think you did get her attention by defending her lol. (FIRST SENTENCE WITHOUT A MISTAKE)

        ” I’d highly recommend you ditch your keyboard and stop having sex with your hands” – That’s something a wow player would say

        ” get out there and enjoy Melbourne” – That’s not WHAT a wow player would say / do LOLS

        ps: I am not a WOW player, never have been, I had real life (not online) friends to hang out with.

        Peace out and all the best finding a job (eventually), that is if you’re not actually aged between 12-15.

  16. James

    Lovely read! As a local Melbournian who works with many international students I too see the love many of them have for here while I try to save money to enjoy such a life as well.

    What I can say for the idiots commenting is that even if she is privileged financially, which is certainly not always the case, many of these students are sheltered by their parents. What may seem basic for us, eg cleaning, cooking, taking public transport is exponentially a big step for many international students who may have had to live with maids. It’s a learning curve that seems bizarre for westerners but it’s a learning experience nonetheless. This is even bigger for those international students who come from a country who do not speak English, challenging it is for them to study, live without the comforts they get at home, all the while picking up the language and it’s many nuances.

    Respect that this girl recognizes the reality that she has to work. But also respect that she is applauding Melbourne. As somebody who Melbourne bred, I say thank you for this. I feel touched that people who have come from outside love this city!

  17. BH

    Hiyo Funnyarticle, give the author a break la 🙂 She is just expressing her heartfelt feelings of her stay during the study overseas? I’m afraid you are working on some fixed assumed parameters in your train of thoughts doh. As a former overseas student myself, I can safely tell you that a lot of us are not born with a silver spoon. My parents are working class people and that why it makes it even more meaningful for me to be given an opportunity to study overseas. I don’t know the circumstances surrounding your intense dislike of this article but I believe that we can always raise above the disadvantage that we face if we go that extra mile of effort and with a bit of luck! If you need someone to evaluate your situation now and how it can be make better, I don’t mind talking to you 🙂 God bless!

  18. Cellini

    Hi, well I feel you!

    I went for good from Melbourne 9 months ago and still cant move on from Melbourne. I am comparing every-single-thing between my hometown, Jakarta and my used-to-be-hometown, Melbourne. I love the city so much I even feel homesick.
    never knew that missing a place could be this hard too..

    But well you will make it to settle back to ur home, at first it could be hard but hopefully time will makes it better


  19. Kingston

    Nothing is wrong with having wealthy parents. Of course, it certainly would have been awesome to have the world revolving around you, wouldn’t it? Freedom from parents? Remember whos paying your bills. Feel free to slam me if you’re earning your own dough that you’re financially independent. Working part-time jobs in Melbourne actually earn you quite a hefty paycheck I’m sure. But… I doubt that.

  20. I miss melbourne..

    Very well written. Spent 5 years in melbourne, returned to kl. been back for 4 years. Missing Melbs a lot!

    Best days of my life 🙂

    Thanks for your article, beautiful memories flashed thru while reading this. Brought back really great memories.

    Cheers and all the best in life!

  21. W

    Pretty sure people will be butt-hurt by this.

    No doubt it was a wonderful experience, still, Melbourne or even Sydney is almost as being back in Singapore. Due to the huge and vast amount of asian population, that’s why most students from Malaysia, Singapore, China, Korea and even Indonesia decide to move/further their studies in Melbourne, to be within their own comfort zone.
    Do the same thing and pick any country in Europe, France, Switzerland or Germany. Most of these students will be lost. Students now have to get out of their comfort zones, don’t crawl and hide into your bubble where you’re well protected within your ‘circle’. I’m from Malaysia, and after high school I had to decide the biggest decision in my life, Europe or Australia.
    I choose Europe, and I swear I’ve never looked back and had the most amazing experience of my entire life. Amazing and different people with cultures. I’ve been to Melbourne 4 times in my life (cause of all my relatives and cousins moving there), and I swear, it felt like being back in Asia.

    Come out from your bubble, get out of your comfort zone, you’ll rediscover a part of yourself that you never knew. That, I challenge all of you.

  22. Marco Wong

    I came back from studying In UniMelb 9yrs ago.

    I love Melbourne too and all my experiences there.
    The counter-culture, the bohemian fashion, the always marvelous coffee esp during winter, the $1 pizza slices at Intersection Lygon and part-time work at a Fish & Chips outlet downtown.

    I didn’t want to return to SG so soon.
    But I couldn’t get PR then and job opportunities for an Arts graduate is limited at best.
    I dragged my feet home.

    The first month was tough. The weather as stifling as the culture here sometimes.
    But eventually I appreciated Singapore more and more, and really got into the groove of things here. Sports, Friends & Romance.
    I still think fondly of Melbourne and sometimes wonder if it was another city that I did my degree in, would I have fallen in love with that city too?
    Was it just a period of youthful exuberance and the proverbial emancipation from our parents and comfort zone?
    In any case, Singapore is truly home now and where I want to be.
    For quite a few reasons, I wouldn’t trade Singapore for anywhere else, not even Melbourne.

    Samantha and the likes, Melbourne must have been great I’m sure but the future can be equally hopeful.
    Thanks for the memories =)

  23. Joyce

    been back in Singapore for 2 years now and missing Melbourne and every minute of it! was planning to go back but due to some last minute plans back home that had to be pushed back. I miss the coffee, the laidback life, the best lecturers from uni, brunch places, masterchef cookouts – I miss them all

  24. Blazn

    This was a nice piece! As an ABC, makes me miss all my international student mates from uni back in the day and also reflect fondly on how we, the “fatter and dumber” local counterparts also shared the thrills and experiences of y’all being away from home and hence making `us’ more internationale! I guess as the author alluded to – what Melbourne is and represents, largely depends on life stage and vantage point you have come from or are headed to BUT it’s undoubtedly a great place to return to when I’ve been overseas for extended stints.

    You almost breathe a sigh of relief and you see a familiar sight or sound. I understand what it means to be `liveable’. Needless to say you guys have undoubtedly also added to and ultimately much enriched culture and will all be missed, come back at first opportunity y’hears!!

  25. E

    . You have a nice article on your experience in Melbourne :). Anyone who’s studying or have studied in Melbourne can definitly relate to the author’s experience regardless of their financial background. Everyone in Melbourne has been to Vic Mart, everyone goes for coffee, and everyone goes for pancakes.

    To the author: please dont be dishearted by the hateful comments, be grateful for what god has given you ;), and all the best in building your own career so that one day you can give your children the same experience you’ve

  26. Hong

    In my opinion, this post was an honest expression of Samantha’s experience which can be likened to a bird set free in a lively city of Melbourne. She speaks of her experience with zest and fondness and her impending return home is met with sadness. As a frequent traveller, every holiday destination of mine goes through identical stages of excitement, embracement, and reminiscence.

    From a cursory read of the comment section, there appears to be two contrasting views on this post. One side appreciates the sentiment behind the post. The other shows a sort of angst for privileges that well-off international students have. Indeed, there is economic inequality. As far as comparisons go though, I believe there are people worse off, such as people who have robbed of their homes by natural disasters. If people with less hated those whom are given more, you will never hear the end of it.

  27. Dick

    Singaporeans are always bitching and whining about singapore being flooded by PRCs and other foreigners. What makes you really believe that Melbourne welcome you with open arms just because you miss Melbourne? Wise up and don’t be naive, you’re just a second class citizen there if you really migrate there. Great travel destination bad choice for migration.

  28. Kris

    Beautiful piece Sam you truly are so talented! So glad that you have enjoyed your university time in Melbourne. Change is always great and will bring you more adventures to learn more about yourself! Cant wait to read your next article x

  29. BT

    I do hope you enjoy your stay in melbourne. That’s the reason I’m staying here until now. Even after staying here for so long there are still a lot of things and places waiting to be discovered. One thing I can say, I love melbourne from the first time I arrived here 8 years ago until now.

  30. Diana

    Good read. I am leaving in 2 weeks time and I enjoy my experience here in Melbourne. Working odd jobs, going Victoria market on weekends, cooking at home with housemate, burning oil for finals, etc have been a unforgettable experience here in mel. And yea, 4 season in one day, wrap myself with winter coat in the morning and when noon comes i look like an idiot with thick coat on while walking down on swanston street, anyone?

  31. Y

    Excellent content well-written. I’m quite heart-broken with a move to Sydney, couldn’t imagine what it must have felt like going back home and losing that autonomy.

  32. :)

    Your experiences of your time spent in Melb is very well expressed here. I had the opportunity to study in melb as well and relate to all the things you have mentioned in your article. These experiences will be one of the best memories of your life and how you have grown and found yourself.

    To those that think that ALL intl students are from wealthy families, then they should reconsider. There are many that comes from families that have made great and significant sacrifices to allow their children to have a different path to grown and learn about themselves. Everyone develops in life and becomes YOU differently. Each has a different experience to share, which is what makes people unique and interesting.

    There will always be times where people feel the need to be negative about anything and everything, be it a consequence of jealousy, ignorance, anger or even just for the sake of trolling the pages to stir a reaction. Whatever the case, this post is about the author sharing her experiences that has shaped her to be the young adult embarking on a new phase of life. We should appreciate the sentiment and wish her the best in her next phase of life.

    Good luck with your future!

  33. Henry

    Melbourne is definitely an amazing place to study and live! thank you parents for giving you the opportunity and appreciate the time.. all good things must come to an end.. or at least that’s how I’m trying to convince myself after a year of returning and working 😛

  34. sscalypso

    I studied in Melbourne and has been back home in Malaysia about 25 years ago.

    Until now I still feel like it was only last year that I left Melbourne… in fact the memories of living in Melbourne where I spent my growing years, keeps coming back…

    Reading Samantha’s story really makes the memories (happy & sad) come rushing back… feel pretty nostalgic about it…

  35. S

    Judging from her pics, its obvious this girl is a sufferer of the princess syndrome. If her family is wealthy, it says it all. If her family isn’t wealthy and made big sacrifice to allow her to study overseas, she should rethink of her lifestyle she enjoys in Melbourne while her folks slog it out to keep her there. Either way its indeed a great way to show off how awesome life can be eh?

    1. peasant

      I don’t get you, she’s obviously just a talented writer who provided an open and honest account of her feelings and her experience in Melbourne and you are criticising her for posting pictures of:
      1) her graduation
      2) her at a market holding a $5 note
      3) her breakfast

      How does that imply she is ‘a sufferer of the princess syndrome’? Now, I do apologise in advance if you don’t have $5 in your wallet and can’t quite afford to have breakfast but you clearly have internet access and most likely a computer or a smartphone so you can’t be that underprivileged. Your comment just reeks of jealousy. Are you one of those keyboard warriors who criticises others to improve your own self esteem, hiding behind your computer like a coward? Since you know you can never get/or be better than her, you feel the need to bring her down to your level?

      I also don’t feel like the writer is showing off anything. Not sure if you have heard of this thing called ‘instagram’ but maybe you should check out the students there ‘suffering from the princess syndrome’.

      Happy Trolling.

        1. funnyarticle

          @S & Pablo –
          Good spot & well say! That’s something that i didn’t realise. You guys are different with those salty angry dogs above! lols

      1. S

        You can’t tell its obvious princess syndrome? That’s because you’re too stupid to figure that out and I don’t need to waste time explaining to stupid people like you. No wonder you call yourself peasant

        1. S forever

          Hey S! Perhaps you would explain for the benefit of those smart enough to understand? Even better if you could provide a photo of your graduation day and show us how its done. I am more of a visual learner. My assumption is that your diagnosis of ‘princess syndrome’ came from that graduation picture. If I am wrong, it would be greatly appreciated, for future reference, that you demonstrate how to hold a five dollar bill or what kind of breakfast to have that avoids what seems to be a very serious ailment.

  36. max

    This is a very heartfelt and passionate writing. Reading it almost feels like a long goodbye hug to a best friend.

    Came across this and immediately felt nostalgic of the easy going life i once had living in Melb. I probably felt the same way you do now, a year ago when I decided to move back to J-town after living in one of the best place earth those past 10 years.

    Even though you haven’t actually left Melb, you are right on the mark on those “little things” we enjoy and just simply can’t find anywhere else. For me, it was walking my dog in the park, afternoon market shopping, and even those crowded trams n trains.

    You will definitely miss these moments, cherish them, and if possoble; re-live glimpses of those experiences like I am about to.

    Loving life won’t be as easy as it was. But yes, we move on and we adapt. So all the best of luck to your next journey in life.



  37. max

    This is a very heartfelt and passionate writing. Reading it almost feels like a long goodbye hug to a best friend.

    Came across this and felt nostalgic of the easy going life i once had. I probably felt the same way you do now, a year ago when I decided to move out after the past 10 years in melb.

    Even though you haven’t actually left Melb, you are right on the mark on those “little things” we enjoy and just simply can’t find anywhere else. For me, it was walking my dog in the park, afternoon market shopping, and even those crowded trams n trains.

    You will definitely miss these moments, cherish them, and if possoble; re-live glimpses of those experiences like I am about to.

    Loving life won’t be as easy as it was. But yes, we move on and we adapt. So all the best of luck to your next journey in life.



  38. S

    Hey peasant, you’re just as low life and low class as your name suggests. You are also a keyboard warrior just like anyone else here blasting your mouth away like a loose cannon as if you’re some know-it-all wise ass. Calling me a coward makes your brave and strong. Nice way to put it, warrior.. Or cowardly peasant I shall say? I did not bring her down to my level, you just stupidly brought yourself to my level.. Nice try loser

    1. T

      Hey S, I thought ‘peasant’ actually supplied a logical post. Since you said judging from her pics it’s obvious she’s suffering from princess syndrome, he asked you what aspect made it obvious? How did the graduation pic, or the one of her buying pizza at a market, and her breakfast show her as being anything other than a normal person? You don’t seem to be able to answer such a simple question. You attacked the author and started questioning her family’s financial background, rather than logically stating why you don’t like the personal account she’s written. The fact that you can’t answer or address any of the points put forward by ‘peasant’ and the fact that you became so defensive when he/she talked back to you proves you are just an irrational internet troll who can dish criticism but can’t handle it when it’s directed at you. You either didn’t expect anyone to reply to you or are unable to form any logical argument defending your claims. I believe it’s the latter. And lastly and most importantly, why are you still here? You don’t like the post, you’ve made that clear, so why do you keep coming back? Same goes for ‘funnyarticle’. Do you both have nothing better to do? Don’t get any attention in real life? So sad haha

  39. Culture and Generation

    I just came back from Melb for a one week trip. It reminds me of how much i love n miss that place after 4 years of studying at RMIT. It is like fantasy, and how I wish Malaysia could have that chill out culture. Lek lu bro is there, so I came back to help our economy and bring Melb back home. Create the cafes, create the lifestyle, create the apartments, the architecture, the designs, train our baristas, bring in more live music and festivals. Slowly we are getting there. All we need to do, is to create it ourselves from scratch. Its up to us new generation that loves art, design, music and culture of our own. We need to consolidate our good existing culture in our country with them. Thats gonna create a fantastic home for our future generation. Appreciate art and heritage more, revamp/rebuild them rather than destroying them. Remember to always take what you learn and apply it back home. Its never easy but achievable.

  40. Wilfred

    Graduated 2002 in Melb. went back Singapore 2003. IMHO, I feel the writer is a young graduate and possibly without responsibilities to family, and country.

    Life can never be just about oneself, in isolation, sipping coffee in St Kilda or lygon street everyday. Can one really not enjoy a good life in SIngapore even if it means staying in HDB, taking MRT, having cheap coffee in hawker centre, mingle with heartlanders in void deck and RCs?

    How about National Service? Absolutely no thoughts about donning the SAF army green again and instead celebrate ANZAC day not really caring what ANZAC really means as long as its another holiday on the beach?

    What about family? who is going to take care of the old parents after they spend 30-50K of their savings for ones university education?

    Personally I can understand if some students from other ASEAN nations prefer Melb over their own country because of supposed corrupt or racially biased govt. But I feel Singaporeans, once after getting over the emo and living for “self” part, will ever regret returning to SIngapore after graduation.

    1. V

      I don’t think being Singaporean means we have to be any less appreciative of the different lifestyle in Melbourne. While we may not have the racial politics of Malaysia or corruption of Thailand and Indonesia, who’s to say Singaporeans are wrong to have enjoyed their student lives in Melbourne and feel sadness when they have to leave and go home?

      Having enjoyed our lifestyle in Melbourne and feeling sad that it’s coming to an end doesn’t mean we don’t care about looking after our parents or that we don’t love Singapore either.

      I think it’s normal to be sentimental, especially after spending 3-4+ years here and beginning a new chapter in life. Seems people misinterpret Singaporeans’ appreciation of our opportunities and life in melb and missing it as meaning we’re anti-Singapore and self centred. How many times have you heard adults who’ve studied overseas talk about their happy times at university? Surely you can’t brand everyone who looks back longingly at their student life as being selfish and not caring about family or country.

  41. AC

    Well-written article…like u were in the room talking to me…I c the comments are varied n mostly positive as it should be. People who take the time to write unfounded remarks obviously laced with jealousy or maybe, Samantha Toh, u could probably know this person Funnyarticle….maybe a creepy secret admirer u have unknowingly ignored…great comments P, T, Aussie n Peasant n in fact all of u who took the time to post kind comments for an honest n true-to self article. All the best when u get back to Sg…

  42. Melissa

    Wow, soooooooooooo many jealous people here! Comments that the writer is a princess or that she is rich is IRRELEVANT, and clearly a sign that YOU ARE JEALOUS! Get over it, life is not fair, but that doesn’t give you all butt-hurt people the right to put her down.

    Samantha, the writer, – great article! I myself studied in Perth, and returned to SG 7 years later, so my adjustment was even worse than yours will be. What you’ll also find is that most Singaporeans are limited in discussion topics, whereas in Australia you can discuss politics and religion with aplomb – here you can only talk about shopping, eating and what you studied. Sad really.

    However, you’ll be happy to know we do have a cafe culture brewing! Just look around and you’ll find loads of places for you to chill with friends during the weekend – so hopefully that’ll make readjusting to life back home easier. Good luck!

  43. Keith J. Roberson

    Platinum’s apartments are a welcome retreat into spaces that are carefully planned to make living highly enjoyable. Each apartment features balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows that invite the expansive views into your home. For more information, visit the business website of Salvo Property Group here: http://bit.ly/1jLspDl

  44. PoeticJustice

    I have some friends who stayed after graduation and it’s not as exciting as the uni experience. They had to apply for many, many jobs and faced constant rejection. Many became quite depressed due to being unemployed for months. At the end of it, they left Australia for good. Some friends finally managed to get a job but, they don’t have that much time relaxing except on Saturdays and Sundays. Don ‘t be blinded by the 9-5 working hours. Even after working hours, you may get calls from your boss to do some stuff at home. It’s really tiring. Gone are the days where you chit-chat with your friends, attend parties, etc. Perhaps, going back to Singapore is the best thing that you did.

  45. Glenn

    Samantha, u r what makes Melbourne special. Anywhere u stay is what you make of it. With your positive attitude and passion I am sure Melbourne would invite you back with open arms. This is what we need, I ser you climbing the ranks of our political system and making positive change. Stay, please

  46. bl

    We need more international “cash cow” i mean student like you to Drive our economy and future. Please come back when you have more money and want to study again.

  47. CyaM8

    Boohoo, must have been such a hard life being “independent” when daddy pays for everything. I admire international students who have the opportunity to come here with not much in their pockets, and hustling to look after themselves.

    It’s all good though. Truth is, no one really likes princess fobs here anyway.

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