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Ethics, Philosophy & Religion at University of Melbourne, Australia, Lent & Summer terms 2007-08
Studying abroad in Australia was a life changing experience. Getting there was a little difficult with all the bureaucratic issues- but the whole process was so worthwhile when I eventually got there!
As soon as I arrived I was overwhelmed with Australian friendliness. I was picked up at the airport and taken to my accommodation by university representatives. A few days later I began my orientation (almost like Freshers' week but just for international students) which is not to be missed! The Melbourne Welcome introduced me to lots of aspects of Australian life (including goon - you'll find out when you get there!). I made some amazing friends, who I've since been able to visit in their home countries. Later on, I had another 'O' week (Australian Freshers' week), which was arranged just for my accommodation.
The accommodation I lived in was actually halls for RMIT, which is a different Uni in Melbourne. It was a great opportunity to meet different people, as well as to mingle with other international students. It was very common for UniMelb exchange students to live in RMIT Village, because it was so close to the Uni campus. Other accommodation options included living in a residential college located on campus. Unfortunately I didn't get accepted into one of them, because, unlike Lancaster, places are limited in the colleges. They also differ from Lancaster colleges because they are catered. All in all I'm quite glad I ended up living in RMIT, because there was more freedom to do your own thing, but just as much opportunity for socialising etc.
On the social side, Melbourne is out of this world. There is such a range of things to do (there's a bit more going on than in Lancaster!!). Eating out is phenomenal (I recommend Brunswick St and Lygon), and there is almost always a Festival or something else exciting happening. Also, trust the Neighbours myth, there is always a barbeque going somewhere! Nearly every day on campus there was a Barbie for some reason or another.
The Uni experience in Melbourne was a lot like in Lancaster, the lectures and seminars follow a similar pattern to here. But there are also a lot of public and school holidays, which are a perfect chance to do some travelling. Whilst I was there, I managed to see New Zealand, Fiji, the Great Barrier Reef and lots of other amazing places throughout Oz.
On the financial side, it's difficult to equate to anything we have in Lancaster. For example, although the accommodation is quite expensive (being in the central business district) the security it gives you in a new country is very much worth it. But on the other hand, things like eating out, shopping and transportation are so much cheaper than they are here. I heard that it was quite easy to get a working Visa and a job, but in my experience it seemed like making extra cash was not worth it, because it cut down on the time you had for using it for things like travel. My advice would be to try not to worry too much about money - after all, how many opportunities do you get to live in Australia for six months?! Also, there are lots of grants etc that you can get through the student loan company to help out with travel costs etc.
Overall, I found my Australian experience absolutely amazing, and would recommend it to anyone.
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