Hello, my name is Myra and I am a Fine Arts student at Paris College of Art. I decided to go on an exchange to RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia this semester. I love traveling and I want to go as many places as I can. I had so many options to choose from so I decided to narrow down my choices by choosing the part of the world I wanted to go to. Argentina and Australia were my two choices as I really wanted to go far away. Then I looked at the universities and the courses. The school in Argentina did not have any Fine Arts department so I decided to go to RMIT Australia, which is a big university.
Orientation day in RMIT was overwhelming. There was so much information to process! There were over 600 people and we were split into groups for a scavenger hunt throughout the city. I got to know a lot of people, made a few friends and got to know about more programs of the university. This was so far the largest school experience I have had. Another interesting thing was that on the first day of the orientation, they invited some indigenous people to talk about their culture with us. This was something new for me and it was interesting to know a little about the history.
As I started to settle in I realized that the people in Melbourne were very nice, friendly and down-to-earth. I never felt out of place. There are people from all around the world staying and working here. Being Turkish, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many Turkish people here. The city felt like home. There were no language barriers and I did not feel any culture shock. A fter living in Paris, it was a relief to live here.
Compared to Paris, the housing here is much more affordable and easy to find. Although I chose to live in a student residence but its quite easy to find an apartment as well. I was living at a student residency called RMIT Village. Living with other students was a good experience for me. The transportation was slightly different to Paris. For all the driving lovers reading this, I’d suggest not to start driving a manual car, the first day you go there as it’s quite the opposite of what we have in France. The driving seat is on the right and you have to be careful with the tram tracks right on the roads. The Uber is cheaper here in Melbourne than in Paris.
The city is not that expensive but alcohol and cigarettes are outrageously expensive. Also, it’s quite hard to get a job here. Even though the minimum hourly wage is tempting – 20 Australian dollars per hour, but you have to try very hard to get a job. I honestly couldn’t find one even after applying to 30. Another problem that I faced was the extreme time difference – sometimes it was even 19 hours! I had to really carve out time to talk to my family and friends. Other than this, everything is so good. The nature, the beautiful Victorian houses, energy saving initiatives and such lovely people of Melbourne. Overall, I have felt at home in this beautiful city and I will miss the people, the weather and the entertainment!