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Meeting and making new friends in Melbourne

Carene Chong

Wed Mar 19 2014

Make friends

MELBOURNE is a melting pot of friendly souls from all corners of the globe so making friends in the city is a breeze. Carene Chong shares some tips on where to start.

I was privileged to come to Melbourne with my sister when I decided to further my studies in the city a long time ago, but I knew some or most who did it solo.

Fair enough, you might know friends from back home whom you can hang out with but making new friends is part of the whole Melbourne experience. You learn so much about different cultures and there’s certainly potential in making lifelong buddies in the friendly city of Melbourne.

Not sure where to look or start? Here are some pointers to get you going.

Student Societies

No matter where you study in Melbourne, there will be a plethora of student societies for you to join and meet new friends.  There are the student unions in all universities comprising of students from various backgrounds; or societies categorized by interests, nationalities, or faculty.

Whether you’re looking for fellow countrymen to celebrate traditional festivals with, fellow soccer fans to watch games with or fellow Commerce students to study with, there’s a society for you.

Uni Orientation or Open Days are usually the best way for you to have a look and feel of what clubs are available for you to join, but if you missed the events, just ask your university student union as they’ll have all the information you need.

Some come with small joining fees but the friends you make from the experience makes the money very well worth it.


No, I’m not talking about cheesy dating websites here.

There are several websites offering genuine information for people looking to meet others in the same city with similar interests, such as Melbourne Exchange or Meetup.

Interest group friends

Whether you’re into poetry or card games, there’s an interest group for you somewhere. Image: Vaughan via Flickr

Meetup in particular offers thousands of groups for individuals to choose from, so you don’t only meet fellow students from the same university but people of all ages and background.

Melbourne Chihuahua Meetup Group anyone?

Religious places

If your religious beliefs play a big part in who you are, there are plenty of religious centres and societies for you to meet new people in.

If you’re a Christian for example, there are plenty of churches in Melbourne for you to attend for your weekly services and make some new friends while you’re at it.

Not a religious person? No problems as churches usually welcome anyone and everyone to join in their cell group studies to learn more about the religion or just to chat.

The Couch

The Couch Melbourne

Grab a bite, play some pool and meet some friends at international student lounge The Couch. Image: Wan Shing Lang

If you’re new to Melbourne, chances are you might not have heard of this fantastic space to meet people, international students to be specific.

Tucked in a small alleyway just off Bourke street in the CBD, The Couch is a place set up just for international students to mingle and relax without having to pay anything.

Regular events such as movie nights and footy sessions are held and students can have meals at The Couch for low, affordable prices.

Find out what else the space offers in Meld Magazine’s piece on The Couch.

Get a job

Yes, the pocket money certainly helps to pay bills or expenses but working is one of the best ways to meet and make lifelong friends. I know I have.

Think about it. You go to a job where you have to work at least four to five hours along with a few other people in the same space. Teamwork is everything in the workplace so communication is crucial.

Naturally, you learn a lot about each other through downtime chit-chats and friendships blossom from there.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be your colleagues too, you meet people from all walks of life in your job and you never know if your next customer could be your next best friend.

I met my current partner of seven years through my first part time job so go figure.

There are so many other places you can make and meet new friends so don’t restrict yourself. And certainly don’t just stick to things you know or are familiar with.

Just because you’ve never tried rock climbing doesn’t mean you can’t join the interest group and start challenging yourself.

Most importantly, enjoy the whole experience. I can honestly say that Melbourne has some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met in my life so you’re almost guaranteed a fantastic  experience in this beautiful city.

What are some ways you’ve met and made friends in Melbourne? Share with us below.