Departure & Initial Adjustments
Welcome to my account of adventures in Melbourne, Australia!
Before arriving in Melbourne, I was both nervous and excited about living in a new country. I was nervous because I didn’t know a lot about Australian culture, and I would be away from comfort, friends, and family for the longest I have ever been. I was excited by the potential for new adventures, learning experiences, and new connections. Despite my excitement, I knew there would be times I would miss home. Due to this, I made sure to bring some familiarity with me to Melbourne, such as photos of my family and friends and some of my favorite snacks.
After months of preparation — researching Australian culture, registering for classes, finding an apartment — I finally arrived in Melbourne!
I immediately noticed the differences between Melbourne and the Bay Area. When I left the Bay Area it was cold and raining, while in Melbourne it was very hot as it was the summertime. Besides the difference in season, the roads were also different. I was very confused when I noticed that Melbournians were driving on the opposite side of the road than I am used to in the U.S.
Besides these differences, I felt very welcomed in Australia. Everyone was very friendly and helpful, especially when I was lost, and my perceptions of Australia from television was changed when I spent my second week at the University of Melbourne’s orientation. I was able to learn about summer barbecues (particularly “sausage sizzlers” as they’re called), Australian slang terms (arvo = afternoon, bickies = biscuits (or cookies), breaky = breakfast), and the popular vegemite.
Immersing myself in Australian culture reminded me of the list of goals I made when I found out I would be studying abroad in Australia. These goals included meeting a koala, visiting big cities such as Sydney, and learning about Australian history and its people. I was able to accomplish some of these goals in the first couple of weeks before classes started. Here are some pictures!
Some goals I haven’t accomplished yet are visiting Tasmania, as it’s a state very close to Melbourne that is known for its spectacular nature, seeing Melbourne’s Pink Lake, trying ‘magic’ coffee (a Melbourne speciality), attending a festival (quite popular in Melbourne), learning more about the Indigenous people and culture, and visiting all of the different suburbs in Melbourne as each has a unique culture.
I am eager to accomplish these goals, and am very grateful to have the opportunity to study at the University of Melbourne, meet new people, and experience Australian culture!