Settling into life in Melbourne
Honestly, the first few days can be quite scary, I arrived in Melbourne and realised I didn’t know the place or anyone around, I was late for my first lecture and even sat down in the wrong building, however all of sudden it becomes your home. Everything was new and scary but that was so exciting, the streets and buildings were huge but everyone was really friendly.
You soon learn where everything is, from food and drink shopping, to buying an umbrella as Australia isn’t sunny all the time, who knew?! After a couple of weeks, you truly settle in, and Melbourne became one of the best places I’ve ever been.
Travelling while in Australia
Shortly after I arrived I decided to go on the trip to Lorne to meet other students at Victoria University. This was a weekend of activities including surfing, I quickly decided that sitting on the board was a lot more fun than standing as I got to chat to lots of people. This weekend was great as I met two girls that I would end up spending the next five months with. We also went along the Great Ocean Road on the last day.
At the end of September, I had a week off. My friends and I decided to fly to Brisbane and drive up the East Coast of Australia to Cairns. This was probably a couple of the best weeks of my life. We went to Brisbane, Fraser Island, Whitsunday Islands, Mission beach and finally Cairns. If you choose to go to Australia (or any country), make sure you travel outside of where your university is based. This extra year of university in Melbourne gave me the opportunity to go and travel to all these places I’d always seen pictures of and wished to go.
Favourite part about studying abroad
My favourite part has to be meeting people from different countries. I found Australians to be very friendly, they’re all quite outgoing and wanted to make friends with strangers which was really nice being in a new environment. I got to go to mixers with other international students, and it was so interesting becoming friends with people with different ways of life and definitely different humours.
Moving away for a year is a scary decision, and there will be times that feel hard because you are away from home but you learn to adapt to a new country and make a new life on your own, and taking this journey made me feel proud of myself that I took a big step and achieved something. It will be the best decision of your life, Leeds will still be there when you get home and the whole thing goes so fast.
You will 100% not regret doing a year abroad (trust me, my friends are wishing they had done the same), but you could easily regret it if you don’t.
Experience as a Victoria University student
Throughout term Victoria University did social events for the international students, which was a great way to experience Melbourne and meet new people. The end of term cruise in October 2016 was actually one of my best nights in Melbourne. I felt lucky that the university planned so many times for me to branch out of my social circle and meet new people.
Victoria University compared to Leeds Beckett really isn’t all that different. The law lectures are two hours but the seminars are only one hour. The teaching is quite a similar routine; you have readings and questions to do for each seminar as you do back home. One thing Victoria University seemed to pride themselves on was the “chilled vibe” they had at university, they made it clear they wanted you to call your lecturers by their first names etc. It is all very similar as to back home really.
I feel from this experience I will be much better equipped to go into any job, knowing that I can adapt easily to other people and other places. This has allowed me to study more subjects too e.g. Irish History, Criminal law two, Family law, Legal theory. There are subjects that I will not be doing next year due to doing CILEX qualification instead so I saw this as a perfect opportunity as an extra year to study those different modules.
Overall, Victoria University is a great university to have done an exchange year at.