Blog Posts

Sasa: My favourite things in Melbourne

I thought it would be fitting to dedicate my 3rd and last blog to all my favourite things to do in Melbourne, lockdown edition. I feel quite at home here by now and I have a lot of love for this beautiful city 🙂

-The following is in no particular order-

FOOD

Anyone who knows me knows how excited I get about food. Melbourne truly is multicultural and any kind of food you want that exists in the world will probably also be found in Melbourne.

Sadly, I haven’t eaten out as much as I wanted to because of lockdown (takeaways don’t hit the same) but regardless, here we go

  1. Getting the famous hot jam donuts and some coffee from Queen Victoria Market and having a picnic at Flagstaff Gardens. You get to watch people making the donuts from scratch in the food truck and it is like no other donut I have known. I have literally gone to bed thinking about these donuts and been so excited to wake up so I can get more donuts that I can’t go to sleep. Plus they’re only $1.50 a donut
  1. Queen Vic market itself is worth a mention for the amazing produce it sells – if you go ~an hour before closing you can get some really cheap deals (once got a whole tray of strawberries there for $2)
  2. Lune – Sells amazing croissants and other pastries. Worth the hype and the cost I reckon, but definitely wouldn’t go regularly.
  3. Gelateria Primavera – Shout out to Prina for taking me here <3, their gelato isn’t heavy and rich like most gelatos, more balanced and light and ideal to eat on a sunny day in Carlton Gardens
  4. Max Brenner hot chocolate – don’t make my mistake and get the milk chocolate instead of the dark chocolate and then proceed to keep hounding your friend for one more sip of their dark chocolate drink (thank you Troy)
  5. Big Bang Yoghurt – this place sells the best yoghurt smoothie drinks I have ever had in my life. They also make yoghurt slices from this metal plate (like that rolled ice cream place on K rd)

Damn I really do have a sweet tooth

PLACES /ACTIVITIES

  1. Going for a run around the Carlton Gardens or Fitzroy gardens with Troy. The running part is straight up unenjoyable but you do feel pretty good and accomplished after and I might as well get fitter in lockdown cos there isn’t that much else to do. Plus these gardens are so beautiful on a nice day and also very ideal for picnics.
  2. Renting out an electric bike (lime) for $17 for 24 hours and taking cruisy low effort bike rides around Melbourne – a group of us went to Albert Park and then to St Kilda’s and biked along the path to Brighton Beach. It was so fun, I felt like we were part of a biker squad
Somewhere along the Yarra river
  1. Port Melbourne, St Kilda’s and Brighton Beach as per the above. I swear St Kilda’s has this ethereal magical feeling to it and the pier is so nice, and Brighton Beach has those cute bath boxes that we had a photoshoot in front of.
Port Melbourne on a sunny day
St Kilda’s on a less sunny day
*magic*
  1. Studying at State Victoria Library – this place has Hogwarts vibes, please up your game @Auckland Library and UOA General Library

Lastly, this doesn’t exactly qualify as a thing to do but it’s worth a mention because it’s so damn good – the public transport. The Melbourne’s tram system is soooo nice and convenient and essentially free if you live in the city. It’s so much easier to figure out since it basically just runs in straight lines and the free tram zone eliminates having to lug all your groceries home (likely up a hill when you live in Auckland) to save money on bus fares.

Geoffrey: ROAD LESS TRAVELLED BY

Hello Everyone!

This is my final blog post for this exchange! Unfortunately, this entire exchange has been online, and I won’t get to share my post-lockdown life on here. But you can follow me on Instagram @gywchen for future updates! I will share some thoughts I’ve had about this exchange and life and some advice to future exchange students.

Robert Frost said

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference”.

Ever since starting university, I always wanted to go on exchange. I had planned meticulously two years in advance what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. But those plans were all cancelled when COVID hit the beginning of last year. When I got notice from the university this year that a possible exchange for Australia was on the cards, I got a little excited as going somewhere is better than not going anywhere at all.

However, as soon as I arrived in Australia, lockdown was imposed for both Sydney and Melbourne. Life always throws surprises at us, and the most important skills one can have during this unprecedented time are adaptation and resilience. We cannot change things external to us, but we can make the most of what we have. Although I am unlucky, I am still grateful that I’m here and able to experience everything that I have experienced and going to experience. Life is short and unpredictable. COVID has taken the lives of some but changed the direction of many.

My only advice to future exchange students going to Australia or anywhere in the world is to be grateful that you get to go on exchange and make the most of what you can. Do everything you can because lockdown could be just around the corner. Although it seems the world is finally transitioning out of lockdowns, you never know what the future holds. Just like COVID in 2020 and Delta in 2021 was unexpected, we don’t know what 2022 holds.

So go out, explore, be silly and take the road less travelled!

off to explore!
had a lot of pistachio gelato in Melbourne
more pistachio gelato…
sunsets and palm trees
croffles at Bakemono
on one of my regular walks at Southbank. Found a nice spot and just started to read.

Madeline: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate (June 2021)

I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to be apart of the 2021 cohort for the Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership virtual programme. The world around us as well as the people within it are constantly changing and the ways in which we can identify and express ourselves are evolving ever so rapidly. I decided to participate in this programme as I knew there was so much about the world that I was unaware of.

This course provides you with the opportunity to not only meet and become friends with fellow students from around the world, but it also teaches you how to best understand, utilise and embrace one’s differences. This course teaches you that there is no set and “correct” way of being a leader, but that everyone has the potential to become a leader. We are all given a different set of weaknesses that put us at certain disadvantages, but we are also all given a set of strengths that if utilised can take us to places we never thought possible.

Throughout the duration of this course, I was able to identify the leadership style which I have, my own weaknesses which I was able to improve and turn into strengths as well as always remembering to look at things from a different perspective. My personal journey throughout this course taught me that for one to be an effective leader, they must be able to take a step back and look at situations in someone else’s shoes. An effective leader should have the ability to display empathy and avoid personal bias within the workspace. An effective leader should be able to notice when there is an opportunity to push those around them to reach their full potential and when to allow individuals to take a step back and breathe. An effective leader tries their best to be fully aware of the culture and atmosphere set in the workplace and should always aim to find ways for improvement in all things.

Thanks to the valuable content I was able to learn through this course, I am confident that I am on my way to taking the necessary steps to ensuring that one day I am able to become an effective leader. For any future students who are considering this course, I highly recommend it. It is not overly time consuming where it puts your studies and current commitments at risk, but it is also not a course which does not provide enough engaging content and material. Diversity and inclusion of it in all aspects of life is the future. Diversity and inclusion is the only way to success.

Fiza: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate – The 360  International Blog

David: Final Reflections

Hello!

The video below is a video about myself reflecting back on my exchange experience and a little tour around the University of Melbourne.

Also! Some advice for future exchange students considering coming to Australia and looking study at the University of Melbourne.

Melbourne

If you happen to live in the CBD area where University of Melbourne is located, I suggest that you use the free trams that goes around the CBD. It will save you a lot of money!

Also, unlike New Zealand, I think food delivery culture is amazing in Melbourne. You could order, pretty much any food around your area through Uber eats, Menulog, Deliveroo, Doordash, and more. So when you are busy and don’t have time to cook food, or just a little lazy to go out, getting foods delivered to your home would be a smart way to save time and energy!

Academic Life

In terms of academic life at the University of Melbourne. They use the same learning system, Canvas (pretty sure most of the Universities around the world use Canvas!), so everything should be familiar.

In terms of Workload, the length of the lectures are also the same as UoA. For a 3rd year course (they call it subjects here) it is a standard 2 hour lectures and 1 hour tutorials per week. The assignments are pretty much the same too. I am majoring in Criminology and Sociology, and it is the usual essays that you have to write. But the main difference that I found was that at the University of Melbourne, the amount of weekly readings you have to do is a bit more than UoA and most of the courses also have a hurdle requirement, which means that you have to attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials to pass the papers. This forces you to really read your readings to be engaged in tutorials.

The lecture delivery format is also the same (this is during lockdown), the lectures are delivered live through Zoom and are also recorded. But for one of my papers, they have seminars instead of lectures, where there are a lot more discussions and interactions with other students and the lecturer.

This is all from me! I hope my videos and posts have helped you to decide whether you would want to come to Australia and study at the University of Melbourne.

Thank you for reading my posts!

David.

Thomas: Toulouse Business School (July 2021)

My Toulouse Business School virtual semester abroad was a great experience which helped grow skills that have been developing in my years of study, alongside having the chance to expand my knowledge. Being in my penultimate year of study, the one thing missing from my university experience was studying out of the country. Unfortunately, with COVID-19, the chance to study abroad in person is out of the question; as such, having the chance to participate in studying at a foreign university through a virtual semester abroad was the next best thing.

The structure of the virtual programme focused on three key sessions: lecture time, groupwork time and coaching lessons. One skill that developed during the programme was teamwork. With a sizeable chunk of the course revolving around separating from the class as a whole, and working on multiple projects with my small team, my cooperative skills improved. Alongside this, another skill that developed was time management. Since the classes were based in Toulouse, France, the 1pm lecture time meant that they began at 11pm in New Zealand. Ensuring that I would be able to balance my work and social life alongside the late lecture sessions, planning my schedule ahead of time was highly important. Combining these two improved upon skills was necessary during my time with the virtual semester abroad. Managing the time zone differences to bring together my team for our presentations helped this, with planning scheduled meetings and coaching sessions, to presenting to the class, lecturer and a selected panel of guests. I’m thankful for the course for giving me the chance to develop these skills, as they will definitely come to be a help in my future career.

With more and more facets of business becoming virtual, the integration of these skills with a technological niche will undoubtably come in handy. The main challenge to keep in mind with virtual programmes abroad are time zone differences. Since lectures were based in France, with students studying abroad virtually from many nations, coordinating meeting times with teammates was sometimes a struggle. However, most students seemed to understand that, and planning times to meet and work on our assessments came easily enough. Any advice I would give to students thinking about taking part in virtual programmes is to be flexible; ensuring that you give enough time to the course is important, but balancing your life outside of study is too. Since many of the programmes are in completely different time zones across the world, it’s key to plan ahead. Not only this, but it is important to manage expectations with the coursework. A large portion of my assessments focused on virtual presentations, which led to most teams experiencing technical difficulties. While it might seem like the end of the world at the time, it’s just another learning experience.

Toulouse Business School - Wikipedia

Karamvir: Toulouse Business School (January 2021)

My virtual programme experience at Toulouse Business School was engaging, surprising and excellent. It was not all about the academic courses, the non-academic ones kept you engaged and entertained throughout the programme. The courses I took were taught in a more practical manner than a theoretical, the lecturers would do a zoom meeting with around 10-25 students from all over the world. This allowed closer discussions and access to the lecturer was a lot easier.

For presentation and projects, all the students were assigned in groups which allowed friendships to be made and valuable skills to be attained. One of these skills was the ability to organise and work with those who you do not know. This happens much in the workplace, where you will not always be grouped by friends and you need to organize yourself according to your skillset in the team. At the end, groups had to showcase what they learnt by presenting their project in the class. Presenting in front of complete strangers from the other side of the world really enhanced your confidence and speaking skills.

The lecturer also provided group coaching sessions, where your group could clear up any misunderstandings and ask questions to the lecturer. These were really useful especially when it came to our projects. There were many challenges, the main being the time zone and most of my lectures were after midnight NZST. The lectures were recorded, which was helpful, but the ability to ask questions and really engage with the material is vital to learning. The same applied to the groups I was in, and in order to rehearse or discuss whilst the whole group being present was not easy. So, we had to find a convenient time where we could call meetings and all work effectively.

Outside of the courses there were many non-academic activities we could attend, from learning about French gastronomy to playing ice-breaking games. My favourite was the photo challenge, where you had to take a photo for example of what is outside your window. You could see all the amazing places people lived in – whether that be next to the ocean or on snowy mountains.

The Toulouse Business School team were really helpful when problems arose, would ask how you are going and be there when you need them. Overall, though it was virtual, my experience at Toulouse Business School was memorable and definitely unforgettable.

Toulouse Business School - Wikipedia

Jae Min: A New Perspective

An exchange is what people describe as the best way to broaden their horizons and learn more about themselves. I definitely agree with this sentiment. Melbourne is an incredible place with a very well developed city and transport infrastructure, artsy, cultural, and has a little bit of everything – really! But there was something that I found in Melbourne that couldn’t be found in one of their many beautiful alleyways, cafés, or beaches: a deeper appreciation of the country that I call home.

Yes, whilst Aotearoa may not be the most developed country infrastructure-wise, but it did have many things that I had taken for granted: A beautiful natural walk just a few minutes away, fish & chips (?? thought I could find these here), but most importantly, my family, friends, girlfriend, and my cat (of course, amongst many other things). I had even begun missing the bustling sounds and views of Queen Street, and the views from my bus ride into uni (even though it is nowhere near as fast or punctual as the trams and trains of Melbourne).

Cooked up something for me and my flatmate (I swear it tastes better than it looks)
Lune Croissants (nuff said)
Got my first jab yoooo

Due to the lockdown, I’ve found myself doing things a lot differently as before. Gone were my (relatively consistent) 12 O’clock bedtimes and 7am wake-ups, and my (relatively consistent) exercise routine. However, I did say hello to hours of YouTube and Netflix (I take that as a plus :P). I found myself exploring and learning more in areas that I had always wanted to learn about but didn’t have the time to, such as Machine Learning, Music, and YouTube content creation, and cooking!!

Of course, with the lockdown restrictions it’s been hard to explore all the places in our bubbles, but every weekend we do find time to explore a bit of the city of Melbourne, here are some of the places!

Luna Park!!
St. Kilda pier, pretty cute!
Some views from my daily walk around the neighbourhood!

Although (imo) Auckland beats Melbourne in terms of natural parks and reserves, I must say the beaches in Melbourne are pretty incredible. The photos won’t do them justice 😉

St. Kilda Beach was cute

Port Melbourne was by far the best beach I’ve ever been to!

Couldn’t manage to do as much as I had hoped this lockdown, but this experience has definitely proven that there are always possibilities to grow and explore things, even if they are only a 5km radius away from your home.

Until next time!
Jae Min 😉

Yu Ding: National Taiwan University AI Programme (April 2021)

I am honoured to have participated in the National Taiwan University Virtual Program on Artificial Intelligence Development and Application, funded by the University of Auckland. This program consists of 10 recorded sessions and a one-hour meeting. To complete this program, we needed to watch 10 recordings of the complete department, attend the one-hour meeting, finish the final quiz and write an essay about AI and what you learned throughout this program.

I met the famous professor Hongyi Li and had an indepth discussion with him. I met with my classmates from all over the world, such as the United Kingdom, Japan, and the United States, and I had a good time talking about artificial intelligence development and application.

The biggest challenge in this program was that there are many concepts of artificial intelligence, and each concept is quite complex. To fully understand these concepts, you still need to put in more effort after class, and to communicate with professors at National Taiwan University. In addition, each recording is much longer than that of University of Auckland. It often takes 2 hours or even 3 hours more to watch the entire recording. It’s a great challenge for our attention and endurance.

On the other hand, there were no compulsory exercises and after school assignments for this program, so we needed to check and fill in the gaps ourselves. Through this program, I have mastered the related concepts and applications of artificial intelligence, neural network, machine learning and so on. At the same time, I also learned about the various uses of artificial intelligence in life and production. For example, the application of artificial intelligence in engineering, agriculture, natural language processing and medicine. In the final essay, I wrote about the application of artificial intelligence in the field of medicine. I introduced the advantages and disadvantages of Da Vinci robot and robotic surgery, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of artificial intelligence in medical imaging diagnosis.

Generally speaking, this program is very worthwhile. Through participating in this program, we can not only learn the concepts related to artificial intelligence, but also have face-to-face communication with famous professors of National Taiwan University. At the same time, we can also discuss with students from all over the world to enrich our views.

National Taiwan University - Wikipedia

Hongkai: Soochow Short Term Programme (December 2020)

I have learnt many things during this summer program, including social skills, Chinese and Japanese culture and business skills, English skills, etc. I learnt how to do business in China and the importance of it after I graduate from UoA. Also, I got to meet with many students from all over the world which is very beneficial for networking. I also improved my English skills during this virtual summer program.

The program was purely online, but we had many different online activities including Japanese culture workshop, online CFA workshops, I got to learn a lot of stuff that I did not know previously. In the class I took, I got to participate in different projects and essays, which allowed me to enhance my writing and presentation skills. I believe that the biggest takeaway from this program is that I thoroughly expanded my network in this program. I added over 50 students from different universities in Australia and I will be meeting them in person after the program ends. I am really excited about this.

The challenge I faced in this program is that sometimes the project and essays are a little bit challenging, but it really did help me enhance my skills comprehensively. I really appreciate the 360 team for offering such an opportunity, it has been really valuable to me, if I have a chance, I would certainly like to participate in it again. I would also recommend it to my friends at UoA. In spite of the fact that we are in a tough time of Covid-19, I still really enjoyed the experience.

The virtual program offers a great new way of learning, while sometimes there might be some lag in the class, but I get to participate in the live class, and if I had any questions, I got to go back to the recording again. One advice that I would give to other students is that don’t worry about the difficulties in online learning, Soochow has done a great job with this and also you will get to meet other students.

Soochow University (Suzhou) - Wikipedia

Tim : Lockdown, Lockdown and more Lockdown

Hi

The last month has been anti-climatic, to say the least. Before the exchange, I had grand expectations of travelling to a different city every week, tramping the great world-renowned parks, and even experiencing the bustling food and city life. But now I leave my room twice a day for a drink and experience the great food wonders in a takeaway container. Even though things haven’t gone the way I’d imagined, I still don’t regret this experience. During this last month, we have visited the amazing Port Melbourne and St Kilda beaches as well as experiencing some great food, like the infamous Lune croissants. It could be a lot worse, we could be in level 4 lockdown.

I never realised that keeping myself healthy and alive would be so hard. There are many things that I took for granted. I now have a newfound appreciation for the things my mum does that has kept me alive all these years. Here are some things that may help you when going on an exchange or just when living by yourself, so you don’t have to learn it the hard way like I did. 

Preparation : Try to do as much research before arriving. Doing admin at the beginning of the exchange is a pain when you want to maximise your time exploring and doing Uni work. Prior research about things like phone plans and banking would be especially helpful and make your first couple of days go smoother. For example, it was a struggle going places without google maps. I don’t know how people did anything before phone data. On the first few days, we got stuck in a random suburb while shopping. Without free wifi or data, we were lost and had to ask strangers about how to get home. As a shy introvert, this was my worst nightmare and I considered just living homeless there. 

The view from my window

Clubs : Joining clubs are a great way to meet new people. I joined the University’s Ultimate Frisbee Club and was going to join the mountaineering club before lockdown started. Everyone was friendly and it was great meeting different people, even if I only saw them once.  

Food : I didn’t realise food goes off so fast. At home, my mum has mastered the timing of best before and expiry dates. Now I’m eating expired mushrooms and bread, hoping not to die of food poisoning each night. Just keep an eye on expiry dates and learn to use the freezer. 

Priorities : Only being here for a couple of months, you won’t be able to accomplish everything – whether it’s travelling around to every city, getting A+ in every assignment and tests, or meeting many lifelong friends. So you need to prioritise a couple aspects that you want to achieve. All in all, make the most of your time here. Choose how you’re spending your time wisely because it will fly.

Bye.

Port Melbourne beach