Jae Min: “You are now at Stop 1, Melbourne University. The doors will open on the right side of the tram”

The three troublemakers, and the compulsory box of monopoly deal

Since you guys probably didn’t get to see much of Melbourne University this year (neither did we ๐Ÿ‘€), Tim, Sasa and I (the three troublemakers ๐Ÿ˜ช) had a photoshoot on campus for the funsies. Here’s how we did ๐Ÿ˜‰

Some people just love the camera ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ
Hide and go seek (…?)
Accidentally recreated a clichรฉ K-drama scene (no, not the Squid Game kind ๐Ÿฆ‘๐ŸŽฎ)

The campus is so incredibly beautiful! I kept thinking to myself what it would’ve been like if lectures were actually on campus this year. It would’ve been so amazing! There are so many buildings across the main campus, and it stretches for ages – just when you think you’re out of it there’s another couple blocks! ๐Ÿš— ๐Ÿš— ๐Ÿš— ๐Ÿš— ๐Ÿ’จ

I like how this picture turned out hehe
My attempt at nature photography
What I would have seen every day, if lectures were in-person.

Tim and I decided to make the big jump from tram track to bike lanes, and went on a couple of bike rides to spice up our Melbourne experience. We went on the Capital City Trail and the Brighton Beach Track, exploring places like Brighton Beach, St. Kilda, the Yarra River, and a great handful of places in the Melbourne metropolitan area. I must say, the Capital City Trail was such an eye opener! Who knew there were so many hidden beauties behind the wall of skyscrapers; Cycling by natural rivers, beautiful bridges, and seeing Costco for the first time are things I’ll remember for a long, long time.

Albert Park! But not the one in Auckland ;-P
$17 for 24 hours of biking – not bad!
Capital City trail – how fun!

I have to say, just when I thought there wasn’t anything else to explore in Melbourne, I was hit with a gust of new surprises! The bikes got us to places that were previously unreachable, and we managed to see another dimension to Melbourne that we couldn’t see before! Hidden parks, alleyways, attractions, and many more places that can’t be found on any ‘Top 25 must-visit places in Melbourne!’ websites – I felt like a real local ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Sasa really likes Pho
Mid bike-ride selfies!
Mask and you shall receive

Anything (even lockdown) is better with friends! Having friends to catch up with every now and then has made the lockdowns a lot more bearable (and dare I say, enjoyable?). We went around visiting all of the niche and local restaurants around Central Melbourne, and went and walked through a maze of alleyways and buildings. What I found fascinating is that to this day there hasn’t been a single alleyway without an interesting cafe, restaurant, or a beautiful artistic display/instalment!

Mandatory Brighton Beach Photo

First time seeing a ferris wheel!
Every alleyway in Melbourne has something special ๐Ÿ˜‰ Found a nice bingsoo place in this one!

To conclude…

The past few months here has been awesome, but it also felt like a demo version of the true Melbourne experience. Too often I found myself thinking ‘what if?’, and imagining how much better this experience would have been without the pandemic-that-shall-not-be-named. But despite this, I did enjoy this exchange! There aren’t many people who can say that they’ve been on an exchange during a pandemic, and Melbourne has had a great bunch of activities that could still be permitted with social distancing. Do I recommend people to go on an exchange to Melbourne? Absolutely! Melbourne boasts being one of the southern hemisphere’s most culturally diverse cities, and you can feel that everywhere you go. It feels like a world-best coffee, pizza or croissant (or anything really) is always just an alleyway away.

Thank you all for reading my blogs!
Hopefully your exchange experiences are pandemic-free.

Kia kaha,
Jae Min ๐Ÿ™‚

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, cafรฉs, 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

Jae Min: This is pretty nice!

My first impressions of Melbourne?

๐Ÿš‹ TRAMS ๐Ÿš‹

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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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 ๐Ÿ™ˆ]

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

Stay safe ๐Ÿ’œ,
Jae Min