Without Question Study Abroad! Past Review

By (Chemical Engineering., Tufts University) for

University of Melbourne: Melbourne - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Studying abroad was one of the most rewarding, enriching, and memorable experiences of my life. I made friends that I will hopefully forever remain in touch with. Saw sites that instilled a sense of awe, and a desire to travel the world to see more. Learned about a culture that I thought was exactly the same as America, but actually has a great many subtle differences that can make a world of difference. Studying abroad has helped me look at life a little less seriously, and possibly better achieve a balance between continuing to do well academically, becoming more curious into studying and exploring scientific research and pursuing something I am truly passionate about, with making friends, traveling, and having fun. Because I have always maintained the notion, that learning outside of the classroom through experience, discussions with peers, and outside literature can be just as beneficial to sitting in a lecture and reading a textbook!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The workload as far as day to day or weekly assignments was much less than at my university in the states, but the final exams, or semesterly exams were weighted much greater than most exams taken in the U.S. Although this makes the bulk of the semester a bit easier to balance fun and travel, the exam period can be very stressful for those who do not properly prepare throughout the semester. Transitioning from a small 5,000 student university to one with 40,000 + was different, with classes in the 200+ range, versus the 15-30 range.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I did not have much interaction with the exchange site and administration since living at a residential college provided my primary means of contacting the university. Although, most parties were very helpful through email, and fairly prompt in their responses.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived on one of the 13 residential colleges at the University of Melbourne, Trinity College. Trinity hosted approximately 250 students with whom you dine, live, and hang out with. The Australians were incredibly friendly and welcoming, and it was the best decision to live on a residential college. The college provided bedding, towels, and even had an in room sink! The college further held additional tutorial sessions just for the residential students, and had a library that often contained all of your required textbooks.

* Food:

The dining service was catered, but served at our residential college. We all had kitchen duties that required us to serve during formal hall. Formal hall was an interesting experience, with a high table, and academic gowns required 4 nights a week. The food was pretty good, and equivalent to most college style dining. At some meals the portions were a little small but could be supplemented by becoming friends with the dining staff. overall the field was great, but there are a large number of local dining establishments that provide exceptional alternatives.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Traveling was one of the most important and memorable portions of my journey abroad. I made friends with several indigenous students, and this enlightened me to the treatment they have endured and still endure in the Australian environment. I even attended a dream time "footy" (Australian rules football) game dedicated to the indigenous culture. Some of the most memorable trips included traveling to the Great Barrier Reef and snorkeling, road tripping down the Great Ocean Road with friends, and taking a 11 day journey across the entire South Island of New Zealand. These were all done separately from the program.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Melbourne is an incredibly safe city, and I felt more safe than I would going out at night in Boston or New York City. There doesn't seem to be any major violence problems, besides a potential yelling match at a Footy game. I did not need any special vaccines or have to seek medical attention while abroad, although friends who did found no problem in getting access with an OSHC health card.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Watching a budget is very important, and you will be amazed at how much you will spend if you do not keep a careful watch on funding. Traveling takes up a large portion of spending abroad, but looking for deals, staying in cheap hostels, and cooking on your own while traveling can help with cutting costs. Additionally, where you choose to live will make an impact on your expenditure. living in an apartment may be moderately cheaper than living on a residential college, but you will have to provide your own meals and pay regular bills. This may cut into your exploration of your host country. additionally, living on a college provides the best and most direct integration into the local community, and was an experience I would not trade.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Carefully plan your phone payments and explore options, texting can often eat into your prepaid minutes. Be wary of going out at night, and the expenses that may accumulate with alcoholic purchases, taxi rides, or cover charges. Also, tram tickets may be an expense not accounted for but can range from 2.50 to 3.50 per ride, if possible get a reduced student/citizen tram card.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Any student who wants to have a lot of fun, take a break from the stressful academics often found at American institutions, but still learn a great deal in the classroom, and more so outside of the classroom, make incredible friends, see countryside that is unmatched around the world, and create memories that will forever remain an important part of your college experience, then traveling abroad, particularly to Australia is for you.