Living in Melbourne
Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia. It is home to almost 4 million people, and is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. To learn more about Melbourne and Victoria, go to the City of Melbourne website or the Visit Victoria website.
You can also like us on Facebook and keep up to date on both official matters and informal topics, such as things to do and see in Melbourne, social and volunteering opportunities and upcoming festival and events.
Reading the news online via sites such as those following is a good way to learn about current affairs in Melbourne and Australia.
Melbourne enjoys a temperate climate; cool in spring (September to November), warm to hot in summer (December to February), mild in autumn (March to May) and the winters (June to August) are cold and damp.
The weather can be unpredictable and is often described as "four seasons in one day". Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.
Independent not-for-profit online media outlet providing news and information to international students.
The guide and mobile app contains helpful information and recommendations about life in Melbourne from past and current students.
You may be surprised at the differences or similarities between Australian culture and your own. Culture shock is a natural part of adjusting to a new country and city and you may experience a range of emotions. Contact us or Counselling and Psychological Services if you think it is affecting your wellbeing.
Australia is a plural society and Melbourne particularly prides itself on its religious and cultural diversity. It is against the law to discriminate against someone on the basis of attributes such as religious beliefs or activities age, gender, race. disability, lawful sexual activity/sexual orientation, parental or carer status, pregnancy or marital status etc.
Some examples of social norms in Australia include:
- It may often be impolite to ask about personal details such as income, marital status, race, sexuality or religion.
- Be on time for classes and other appointments. Sometimes, there can be different expectations about the arrival time for social events. If you are unsure, it is wise to check with the host in advance.
There are laws in Australia which prohibit smoking inside or near public buildings, including cafés, restaurants, bars and toilets as well as train stations and bus shelters.
Australians are generally informal in their speech and you may find they address people by their given names. Australians generally speak quickly, and some use slang words and phrases. Australian humour takes a bit of getting used to; making fun of someone or using sarcasm can sometimes be intended as friendly rivalry.
In general Australians are modest about their achievements. Non-verbal behaviour is very important too, for example making eye contact when speaking with others is considered respectful.
Getting involved in the University and the community is a great way to enhance your experience in Melbourne, develop new skills and widen your circle of friends.
Explore and discover
Exploring the laneways of Melbourne is a great way to discover new shops.
Food and shopping
As a multicultural city, Melbourne has a wealth of different cuisines available from all around the world. On Parkville campus, Union House is the main hub for finding food. You will also find cafés at various other locations around campus.
You may need to find specially-prepared food for religious or personal reasons and whilst Melbourne does have restaurants that provide vegetarian, gluten-free, halal and kosher food, they may not always be close to campus.
The predominant supermarkets in Melbourne include IGA, Coles, Woolworths (Safeway) and Aldi as well as many smaller stores selling specific items such as Asian foods or organic products. To save money and to buy fresh produce you can also shop at the Queen Victoria Market (close to the Parkville campus) or other local and farmers markets.
Many people navigate Melbourne via the city's public transport network (trains, trams and buses) using a myki card. Timetables, routes and journey planners are available from Public Transport Victoria.
Cycling is also a popular choice as Melbourne is a flat city. Remember that by law you must wear a helmet and obey all road rules. Information on road safety is published by Vic Roads.
If you plan to drive in Melbourne and Victoria, you can use your licence from your home country under certain conditions. Refer to the Vic Roads website for information about licenses and road rules.
What about concession tickets?
Unfortunately, international students (except undergraduate exchange students) are not eligible for concession fares on public transport in Victoria.
Students can access concessions on other things such as movie tickets and entrance fees to zoos, museums and other places of interest. Many food outlets and shops (especially near campus) also offer student discounts.
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Police, Fire, Ambulance
Whilst Melbourne is relatively safe, we suggest using common-sense personal safety practices. Think Before is a student safety initiative that aims to make students more aware of safety when travelling at night There are many other online resources, including Safety Victoria and Victoria Police.
The University’s Safer Community Program has useful personal safety tips to assist you at home, on campus and when you go out.