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.

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 😉

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

Sasa : It wasn’t meant to be an online exchange

I think my last blog post was definitely too optimistic, no we did not get to go back to university but on the plus side, I still can’t say going on exchange was a bad idea since Auckland is also in lockdown and the University of Auckland is going to be online for the rest of the semester anyway. Is it awful to take comfort in that? I’d argue it’s only human 😉

It’s almost a heart ❤ 😉 Don’t worry I only took my mask off for the photo

However regardless of only having had an online relationship with the University, I have still learnt a lot so let’s dedicate this blog post to the academic side of things while I work behind the scenes to make my life more exciting, just for my 3 readers xo

The courses I’m taking this semester consists of a tissue engineering & stem cells paper, numerical algorithms, a biosystems project paper and a pysch/neuroscience paper. Some of the content is really interesting and the tissue engineering paper I was especially excited to take as it was so relevant to my degree and what I potentially want to do. The content is varied and we have quite a few guest lecturers coming in to talk about their respective fields (ie orthodontics, orthopaedics) where they are doing really amazing things – kind of ground-breaking actually, which is a privilege to learn about. It’s also a post-graduate paper but you are allowed to do one as part of your exchange program so I highly recommend taking it for anyone coming to University of Melbourne interested in medical engineering – it’s one of the few papers I’ve taken that actually feels really relevant to the field and one that you wouldn’t have the opportunity of taking back in Auckland. It’s still been great to learn a lot of interesting things without that GPA pressure which is a huge weight off. I’m still about 2 weeks behind though- old habits die hard.

Note that I’m speaking from my own experience but one of the first things I noticed when I was putting together my timetable is that there are far less lectures per paper (which is referred to as a ‘subject’ here) mostly only 1 a week!! However, there’s a catch in that each lecture is two hours long…

Still, the workload is definitely a lot less than my previous papers in BME ( nod to ENGSCI 314 which had 4 lectures a week). There are also less assessment/deliverables, only 3-4, including the exam for all of my papers except one. I’m infinitely grateful I got to escape the hell that is Part III second semester that is BME especially as I struggle massively with engaging in online learning when there are no physical places to go to.

The student association here is also bigger and better and there is a lot of support for students – I think we’re due to get a care package soon which is really cute and they give out free meals and fruit and vege boxes for students along with online events that are actually kinda fun- like virtual escape rooms

Also lockdown here is pretty much level 3 so you still get to experience Melbourne through your stomach – and the food here is to die for

Ate this all by myself and felt really bad but oh god it was so good

I actually love Melbourne. It’s such a great city and I’m definitely open to coming back and living here and either working or doing post-grad study here.

Until next time 🙂

Sasa

GEOFFREY: THIS IS MY CANVAS

I’ma paint it, paint it, paint it, how I want…..2014 Forest Hills Drive on repeat during this lockdown. What can you do during a strict Melbourne lockdown? Well, not much, feeling déjà vu daily.

One of my favourite things to do when I’m alone is to ride around the city on my bicycle. Exploring new sights while covering a lot of ground is one of the many reasons why I love biking through a new city.

As soon as lockdown was announced, I immediately shared my biking thoughts with Alan. He shared the same sentiment as me, so we both hit up Facebook Marketplace and got whatever available bike. Even if we weren’t living in a COVID environment, I would be biking through the graffitied streets of Fitzroy or down the Yarra River. With everything locked up, this is now all I can do.

Bike

And wherever we go
And whatever we do
And whatever we see
And whoever we be
It don’t matter, it don’t matter
I don’t mind cause you don’t matter
I don’t mind cause I don’t matter,
You’ll see in the end
Alan & I on one of our many bike rides
ridin’ my bike down the Yarra listenin’ to Cole

Walks

Other than biking, I also love to go on walks. I try and leave the hall at least once a day to get some fresh air and to get the limbs moving. I would find a place to go to everyday, and along the journey, I would discover and see new sights and might even encounter something unexpected! It’s also a great way of getting more familiar with the city!

spontaneous ice cream runs
I want my dreams to rescue me
On the road to riches
woke up early to go to Lune to try out their Almond Croissant which according to the New York Times was the best croissant in the world..

Study

II went on exchange to study less, not more. But with the whole semester under lockdown, I’m studying a lot more than expected. With the entire semester online, it is difficult to make friends. So desperate times calls for desperate measures – Alan told me he selected a few people from his zoom classes and hit them up on FB. I went and did the same but also directly hit some people up on zoom during our lectures. Surprisingly, most people responded, and some even helped out!

Baillieu Library – the only library open during lockdown
I like to write alone, be in my zone

So biking, walking and studying sums up what Alan and I have been up to during the past month or so!

This might be the routine for a while, but hopefully not!

David: Exchange Student’s Life in Lockdown

Hi everyone its David here again!

Just an update on my exchange journey, Melbourne is still in lockdown, and with the re-introduction of curfews in Melbourne, I had to spend most of my time at home and alone for the past few weeks. While it is sad and disappointing, at the same time I am really looking forward to when the lockdown eases and eventually lifts. The lockdown restrictions are due to ease when the state hits a 70% first dose vaccination rate which is expected on the 23rd of September. I am really anticipating for this date and have been planning on all the things that I will do when the lockdown eases. Fingers crossed!

Below is a video that I created which captures a special day that I celebrated during my student exchange in Melbourne. Although I spent my birthday alone during lockdown, thanks to technology, I was able to have a good time with facetiming and spending time with my family 😊

While there are not many exciting things to do during lockdown (except exercising, going for walks and buying groceries), the video captures footages of my walk along the Yarra river which runs through Melbourne.

Hope you enjoy watching the video!

David.

Jae Min: This is pretty nice!

My first impressions of Melbourne?

B I G
ARTSY
🚋 TRAMS 🚋

It truly was an eye-opening experience. From the first steps into the university I knew that this exchange would be a wild ride. Of course, with the occasional lockdowns, we really had to make the most of each day of freedom! Every other day I made sure to visit some of Melbourne’s esteemed monuments, landmarks, and national parks.

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Melbourne!
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Lots of luggage
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Living literally right opposite the uni

First thing’s first though, gotta get settled in.
K-Mart and Woolies (short for Woolworths, which looks suspiciously like Countdown…) were a regular trip I found myself going to in the first few days! Who knew there were so many things to buy when you settle in to a new place! Everything from a kettle to clothes-hangers we had to buy!! [Luckily I bought my own rice cooker though 🙈]

We were granted a 5-km radius circle around our home where we were allowed to exercise and buy groceries during the lockdown, so we made the most of it! Luckily we lived pretty close to the CBD, which in itself is very close to a lot of national landmarks, and houses many interesting places.

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So interesting to see a farmers market right in the heart of the city!
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Melbourne is so advanced
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Melbourne uni!
More of this to come…

The Queen Victoria Market was like your typical farmers market, but like 15x the size. Pretty cheap too – if you find the right vendors 😉 The food here is pretty good! Though, I have yet to truly come across something that I wish we had back in Aotearoa.

What I really like about Melbourne is that there are such interesting artworks and details in every nook and cranny, corner and roundabout! Everything from different paintings and sculptures really make the city pop, and makes even a standard walk down the road a unique and photo-worthy experience.

I had a couple of walks through the Melbourne Uni campus and honestly it’s so big! I have had to take multiple trips and it felt like I was only scratching the surface of what there really is to see here.
I’m pretty sure there’s a word limit for this blog, but a picture is worth a thousand words! So here are some pictures from my journey thus far 😉

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I feel like I’ll miss trams a lot once I have to take AT busses again…
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Much more value for money than Burger King I must say…
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A war memorial of sorts, amazing architecture when you get a closer look at it!
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Swanston Street is the Queen Street of Melbourne, and gosh it is so much more aesthetic and clean!
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Don’t mind this, just a mandatory Hosier Lane picture
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Space Jam II was so bad that it was good (hence why we were the only people in the audience)
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Your fellow blog-guides, Tim and Sasa!
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Yarra River do be pretty nice though…
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Meet Melbourne Central! An amazing mall with a tower in the middle of it (???)

So many more stories and pictures to come! But in the meantime, check out this cheeky vlog I made of my first day in Melbourne 😉

Stay safe 💜,
Jae Min

Tim: What makes a good exchange experience? Lockdown of course!

To whom it may concern 

I have been in Melbourne for the last month and it has been a great experience so far. Although we have been in lockdown for most of it, being stuck in our homes has never been better. Apart from occasionally falling into the Netflix and YouTube rabbit hole, I have been productive with things like chores, uni work and settling in. I have also somewhat enjoyed doing adulty tasks like going to the supermarket/Victoria market and trying new recipes (some turned out pretty inedible though). Even though we haven’t explored much of Melbourne yet, there have been many memorable moments. These highlights include playing Monopoly Deal in the Royal Victoria gardens, going for a cute walk along the Yarra river, and dinning at vibrant restaurants that I definitely can’t afford.

In many ways, Australia is very similar to New Zealand. But there are a few things that caught me by surprise, for example:

University classes: Here in Melbourne, we generally have less classes with most of them being longer than that in Auckland. As a result, I would start to doze off halfway through every lecture which never used to happen. 

Supermarkets: The supermarkets are great here, but don’t expect to find your favourite food items here in Australia. For example, I noticed that their ice cream section is a lot smaller than New Zealand’s and items like kettle chips and iced animals are nowhere to be seen.

Public transport: Unlike Auckland, public transport in the city is so convenient and frequent. One reason for this is the tram system that runs throughout the city all day for free. You can expect trams every couple minutes into the city.

City size: Of course Melbourne city is much larger than Auckland but I didn’t realise how large it actually is. One minute you’re walking down a random alleyway checking out restaurants and the next you’re in a hidden 5 story mall. Also, The University of Melbourne is massive. I thought the new UoA engineering building was impressive but expect 20 of those scattered around campus. 

So far the trip has been great and I cant wait to experience everything Melbourne has to offer. Lets just hope we aren’t in lockdown much longer. 

Thanks for reading this amazing work of art Until next time!

Tim

Us being tourists
Somewhere along the Yarra river
Me slapping at monopoly deal

Sasa: Expectations vs Reality

Expectations Vs Reality so far

I think I jinxed all of Victoria when I said in my ambassador bio ‘assuming there isn’t another lockdown and the borders close’ …

Because I have been here a little over three weeks and we have had 2 lockdowns and honestly it’s tragic enough to be funny. At least I had mentally prepared myself for Melbourne not being the same as it was nearly 4 years ago when I came.

Nevertheless I was really excited to meet my new flatmates, attend all the re-o week events at my student village and at the university and make friends everywhere in a fresh new place. However as I arrived at 11 pm, the RA showed me to my flat and it was ..completely empty. I was a little disappointed as I’m not usually one to want to live alone but I thought it might even end up being better as long as I made friends in the village to visit and invite over. Two days later we went into lockdown.

Ahhh

The view from my balcony – can’t wait to swim in that pool someday

I’ve never really thought I was that extroverted until I had to do a two week lockdown basically on my own and I learnt that I really like being around people. Honestly though I think I have really made the most of the situation and despite all the covid-19 issues, Melbourne is still an amazing place to be in. The city is so vibrant and interesting with fascinating and historical architecture whereas I’ve always thought Auckland was too grey.

The Yarra River, taken on one of my walks.
Some really nice church

I’ve also really appreciated how the university has welcomed us and hosted a zoom call to go over some things and check in on us. I’m really excited for when we can finally have the welcome day in person and go back to university in person. It’s such a beautiful campus. The exchange club at the university (MUSEX) have also saved my social life and I’ve met some lovely people (in the ~1 week between lockdowns).

One of the residential colleges on campus. It’s like $800/wk but has a real Hogwarts vibe

I feel like a first-year again walking around campus because everything is brand new again and I love that feeling – it stops you getting in a rut and time goes by slower because it’s all new and you’re taking it in. If you get the chance to go on exchange, even if it’s not the best time for it, I still really recommend it, especially if it’s your last semester you can take on exchange like it was for me. You’ll make the best of it, you may only get this opportunity once and unless you believe in reincarnation, you won’t get a second life.

Stay updated to see whether we get to go back to university in person soon (fingers crossed)

Sasa

Me and two of my BME classmates that also went on exchange:)

Geoffrey: ONE WEEK OF FREEDOM

Hello Everyone!

I am currently writing this post as we enter lockdown VI in Melbourne, Australia. It has been one week since we last exited the previous lockdown, which means I have only had one week of ‘freedom’ since arriving in Melbourne (as I also had to self-isolate for two weeks coming from NSW).

Straight out of isolation, my roommate ‘Alan’ and I ventured to Melbourne’s most famous street art destination, ‘Hosier Lane’. I have been involved in art my entire life and was super excited at the prospect of visiting the infamous lane and visiting it without the usual loads of tourists. Alan brought his camera, and we took many photos of each other immersed in the art and the art itself that was on display.

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Luckily Queen Victoria Market, the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere, was open during Victoria’s lockdown. Strolling through the busy markets took my mind off things and gave me the feeling that life was actually ‘normal’. Store owners were shouting, customers hustling, the atmosphere overall was lively. We stumbled across a small doughnut van that had a very long queue during our scout for cheap produce. After some small chit chat with one of the locals, we found out that ‘American Doughnut Kitchen’ had been trading since the 50s and was Melbourne’s most iconic Hot Jam Doughnut. The doughnuts were super hot and delicious. The seagulls also seemed to enjoy them!

As soon as the lockdown had ended, I was lucky enough to make it to the ‘King & Wood Mallesons Contemporary First Nations Art Award 2021’ exhibition a day before it ended. Melbourne is a city known for its rich artistic culture, and getting to see in person the art and stories of the indigenous artists was an absolute honour and privilege. As an artist myself, I understand the power of art to connect, learn and grow from different communities.

Classes have started, but only on zoom. This was extremely unfortunate as I was eager to meet new people on campus and immerse myself in campus life. Melbourne Law School is ranked highest in Australia and consistently ranks in the top ten law schools globally, so I was also keen on exploring the law building and attending the high calibre lectures that it has to offer. I was looking forward to the in-person lectures as I had heard that they were particularly engaging, given the small class sizes. The classes so far have felt more like ‘discussions’ rather than the standard lecture, which makes it a little hard to stay focused on track. I am also still adjusting to Australia’s federal v state system, which I was not very exposed to back in Auckland. The JD load of work has meant spending a lot of time in the library. The State Library of Victoria is a great place to study and has an amazing aura to it!

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Alan didn’t bring many clothes over from Auckland as he wanted to freshen up his wardrobe. As such, we went shopping one afternoon, and because of the large sales going on due to the lockdowns, I even bought a shirt.

Finally, on our way back home one night, we passed through ‘Federation Square’. There was an enormous pink structure called ‘The Knot’, which is the work of French artist Cyril Lancelin.

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Until next time,

Geoffrey