It was coming to the end of my first year at university when I decided I wanted a radical change from the comfort of still living at home with my parents.
So I moved to the other side of the world. Alone. To study in Melbourne.
I admit that I chose Australia because of its beachy, laid-back lifestyle (and its accents and mullets). Except what I didn’t realise is that Melbourne’s beaches are no better than Skegness on a hot summer’s day. And the hot summer days lasted about two weeks as I arrived just in time for winter.
People always stereotype Australia with sun all-year round, but Melbourne itself can host four seasons in one day – and I wasn’t prepared for that. Yet, even on its bad days, I loved this effortlessly cool city as much as I loved leaving familiar old Lincoln behind.
Melbourne’s walls are a canvas for urban artists, and tucked away are intimate wine bars and restaurants that echo this vibe. It embodied more than I imagined it to be. From the outside, depressing buildings seemed a bit rough round the edges, but making my way inside frequently revealed something unexpectedly great: secret DJ sets or stairways to weirdly furnished rooftop bars with incredible city-scape views.
Surprisingly, the move didn’t take much adjusting to, and the commitment to university – while fully experiencing Aussie culture – wasn’t too testing. Possibly because I was without distractions while living alone.
This was something I do regret, and it reminded me of something someone told me before I left: it is very hard to feel as though you really fit in amongst Australians as a Brit.
Both in class and out I rarely mixed with Australian people, apart from the occasional Bumble date. There was a clear divide, but I was fortunate enough to meet a group of backpackers who led me on their adventures like a five-day trip to Bali, or an Easter break on the Great Barrier Reef.
All in between uni days of course…
Almost a year on, I’m so glad I did it. It was a six-month whirl that helped me achieve a sense of independence while embracing plenty of uncertainty. I’d recomend it to any student.