6. (Not) Do the Melbourne Welcome

28 01 2012

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs about studying abroad recently. In particular I’ve read a lot of blogs about studying abroad in Melbourne and it seems that there are two (massively stereotyped) types of Study Abroad bloggers.

1. The Party People

These are the students who head over to their country of choice and throw themselves into every social aspect of life there. Normally these events are initially organised by Study Abroad societies and these students rightfully seem to love every minute of their time abroad. I’ve joined the MUSEX (Melbourne University Study Abroad and Exchange Society) Facebook page and have already been reading about Booze Cruises and drunken Surf Camps and seeing everyone advising the Internationals to bring in as much alcohol as they can Tax Free.

2. The Academics

These guys go abroad to study. They think the course/tuition is better in another country and admirably throw themselves into getting the good grades. I read one blog where an International Student suggested everyone put aside 90-100 hours a week for study. ONE HUNDRED HOURS A WEEK?! I’m barely awake for 100 hours a week, let alone constantly studying.

Now here’s the thing. I don’t feel I fit into either of these majorly sweeping stereotypes of Study Abroad bloggers that I’ve just formed. My sobriety may suggest I’d fit in better with the latter whilst my outrage at the suggested workload suggests otherwise. I’m not planning to write about making the most of the nightlife, nor am I planning to write about endless hours of study.

So whilst both offer a great and worthwhile insight into those two aspects of studying abroad, this is a blog about my personal experience.

As I said on my ‘About‘ page, I want to experience life as an Australian Student. I don’t want to experience life as in International Student in Australia. I think there’s a difference.

And that is why I’ve decided not to participate in the Melbourne Welcome program.

Originally I had planned to, but I’ve decided against it for several reasons. First, it’s expensive. Really expensive. Plus there’s the fact I have been to Melbourne before so I do have a basic knowledge of the city and am more than aware of the (lack of) cultural differences.

And then there’s the fact that I don’t think the activities (particlarly in the evenings) will suit me. MUSEX do amazing things and arrange great events to help bring International students together and I definitely want to get involved in some way. But I don’t want to meet people on nights out. Most of you are more than aware that it’s simply not me.

So when I arrive in Melbourne – a week before I’m needed – I’m going to find other ways of making friends. I’ve already been in contact with Farrago – the student paper – who seem happy to have me contribute and I’m searching for other writing jobs in the city. Once O Week (their Freshers) begins, I’m going to join societies and make the most of what the Student Union has to offer. I plan to find a part time job to integrate me into the Australian community (plus earning Australian wages will definitely help my financial situation). And most of all, I’m going to talk to people. Australians and Internationals. I want to build relationships with people in my lectures the same way I have done in Manchester. I don’t want to go to lectures and disappear back to my room to watch Neighbours (OK, that’s still going to happen) but if anyone feels I’m not fulfilling this promise to myself to make the most of every minute in Melbourne, please tell me.

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5 responses

30 01 2012
keanna

Hey Catherine!

So glad I found you’re blog! I’m Keanna, also an exchange student coming to Melbourne (in a week….wow.) I’m from the US. I feel the same way as you –not a huge partier, but not a hardcore academic either…

Maybe we’ll cross paths sometime during our time there. 🙂

Looking forward to reading more!

30 01 2012
catherineelaine

Hi Keanna!

Thanks for the comment. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of us who are a bit in between – it just seems they’re very under-represented on the blogging front!

I fly to Sydney tomorrow for a week before heading down to Melbourne. I’m very excited, but a little bit nervous.

Whereabouts in the US are you from?

31 01 2012
keanna

Oh awesome! That’s so exciting! What will you be during your week in Sydney?

I feel the same – excited yet nervous! I can’t believe its almost time!

I’m from California – about an hour outside of Los Angeles.

31 01 2012
catherineelaine

I’m staying with family for a week in Sydney but seem to have lots planned there!

Ah nice. I’ll see you there in a few weeks!

31 01 2012
newintstudents

cool. Well see you in Melbourne. And feel free to try out some of the coffee houses such as Plantation in Melbourne Central. $2.50 coffees for students. And they do AMAZING coffees in Melbourne Central. Better than any other place
Part time jobs are really hard to find here, now that the retail sector is down and people are out of work

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