When you think of Australia, do you automatically think of
Sydney? The outback? Maybe the Great Barrier Reef? Or just Finding Nemo? Yea…that
sounds about right, but what about Melbourne? The city wasn’t even on my radar.
Australia is a country I have always wanted to visit; it seems so exotic. No,
not Argentina or Dubai exotic, but
other-side-of-the-world-accent-different-lifestyle exotic. The perfect kind of
exotic for me. They speak English, but the kind of English that seems like a
new language. The jargon and abbreviations and accent is so fun to get wrapped
up in.

After deciding OZ was the place for me, I started to do a
bit of research on different cities in Australia and it came down to Sydney and
Melbourne. I asked siblings of friends who have been to Australia about the
comparisons of the two; Sydney was comparative to LA and Melbourne was more
like NYC. Personally I am a more NYC gal, but let me tell you that Melbourne is
no way like any city I have ever been to. 
It’s the artsy city with hipster fashion and ally way/café culture and
graffiti everywhere. It’s picturesque and beautiful!

American University has over 6,000 undergrads and the
University of Melbourne has about 40,000 undergrads. This was the perfect
contrast I was looking for. A huge school which would give me the feel of a
Penn State of UMD. I loved the idea of it all. Also, unimelb is a 10 minute
tram ride into the CBD (central business district). After living in Washington,
DC for 2 years, I knew that I needed to be close to a strong culture and city
life.

Then I started thinking about the living situation, and my
options were to live at a college, or find an apartment. I really had no idea
what I was getting myself into by applying to live at a college, but I did and
I got accepted into Queens. There is a crescent around the top of the
University of Melbourne consisting of about 10 colleges. Each college has a
completely different set of values and the people there all seem to really fit
into the image they give off. Much like a sorority or fraternity. Colleges here
are where you live, eat, and socialize. Each college has a gym, dining hall,
residence halls, and a master. Sound foreign and bizarre? Well, it is. But I
love it!

When applying for college in the states 3 years ago, I knew
I wanted to study abroad eventually. I didn’t know where, but I knew being in a
new country would give me amazing life experience and friends that I wouldn’t
be able to get in America. (no offense USA) It’s just something about experiencing
culture shock and a new way of life that allows you to grow as a person. I have
a new found respect for cultures around the world, and also, I love sharing my
own stories from home with people here. They don’t know what Urban Outfitters is,
they don’t have Nalgene waterbottles, and they don’t have Honey Bunches of Oats
cereal. 

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