An American in Melbourne: the essential guide to studying abroad

Yes, Melbourne is one-of-a-kind and Australia is the best, but I can’t forget the main reason I’m here – to study!


Adjusting to a new university can be a nerve-wracking experience that takes some getting used to.

The key is to use your resources when you need help.

Students have the responsibility of deciding what units to take, and this should be done weeks before arriving.

I had trouble navigating the website when adding classes, which resulted in an incomplete schedule. I began to believe that my classes were set in stone and, of course, I started to panic.

To all future students, trust me on this - don’t worry if you aren’t able to add classes before arriving!

The Study Abroad team will graciously walk you through everything, answer all of your questions and, most importantly, ease your anxiety at orientation.

Student life

Uni life at Victoria University differs greatly from what I am used to, which I completely expected.

It is normal to only have three or four assignments per class in an entire semester, with a final exam that can be worth 40-60% of your overall grade.

Because of this, every assignment is very important and plays a significant role in your grade average, which can be a good or bad thing depending on the type of student you are!

Professor to student relationships are a lot more casual as well. Where I went to school in the United States, students wouldn’t dare call a teacher by their first name, but it is normal for a student to address a professor by his or her first name here in Australia.

It seemed odd to me at first, but after some time it felt more comfortable and I ended up building a far more personal relationship with my teachers, which improved my demeanor in class.


Deciding where to live when abroad can be a tough decision – especially when you’re sitting at home, thousands of miles away.

Some people wait until they arrive to figure out their accommodation, and others, myself included, want to lock in a place to live prior to arriving.

The options consist of either living in student accommodation, renting a room in an apartment or house, or maybe even renting an entire house if coming with friends.

I lived at UniLodge Victoria University for the first semester and moved into an off-campus apartment for my second semester, so I’ve had a taste of both.

If you’re the type of person who likes dorm-style apartments, loves being surrounded by friends 24/7 and living a two minute walk from school, UniLodge can be a great option for you.

Due to its convenience and location, it is a little more on the pricey side.

Renting a room in an apartment or home off-campus is the most economical option. You also have a number of amazing suburbs to choose from.

Websites such as Flatemate Finders, Flatmates, and Facebook groups like Melbourne- Houseshare/ Flatshare/Room for Rent make it easy to access available rooms and even meet backpackers or other students to rent a house with.

About the author

Simone Oram is a VU exchange student from Sacramento State University in the United States.

While at Victoria University (VU), she is studying units from the Bachelor of Business (Marketing major).

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