Built-in Friends: Navigating University Accommodation

When the University of Melbourne first gave me options for on-campus housing three months ago, I closed my eyes, pressed random buttons, and hoped for the best. Overwhelmed with decisions, I decided that no matter where I ended up getting placed, I’d be able to figure it out.

Fortunately, I was right, and I would 100% recommend this course of action if you’re a future exchange student.

I currently live at an apartment style university accommodation around a 25-minute walk from campus (short tram ride away from the city). One thing I learned about housing in Australia is that a lot of students choose to commute rather than live on campus, whether that be because of the majority of students remaining in-state, lectures all being recorded and accessible, cheaper housing off campus, or some combination of all of the above. Because of this, a lot of the people that live in my building are either also on exchange or are full-time international students.

For me, that’s one of my favorite parts of living here. I’ve met people from all around the world (US, Canada, Mexico, China, India, Pakistan, Palestine, and of course Australia just to name a few) who have had different experiences and have enough stories to tell for a lifetime. The community at my accommodation building is diverse, welcoming, and vibrant, with people constantly bustling in the common areas and discussing anything and everything. I swear I could come to the communal kitchen and ask, “what’s everyone doing tonight” and end up invited to all the events for the next month. If I end up coming downstairs with the intention of doing work, I’ll end up swept away into conversation or whisked into a game of pool.

Through this university accommodation, I’ve also really appreciated the proximity to other exchange students. Coming on exchange, I also wanted to travel and see other parts of Australia and New Zealand. Other exchange students also prioritize this since we’re all unfortunately here for such a short amount of time, so finding people to plan trips with has been super easy.

Overall, given the chance I would 100% choose the same place to live again. The community is incredible, and it has made my time in Melbourne as amazing as it could be.

(Pictured: view from the roof of my apartment building!)

Leave a Reply