Articles in Melbourne

One of the biggest draws of studying overseas is the chance to explore and experience the cultural events of a different country. That’s why this time of year is often such a rich experience for international students in Australia. With so much happening in Melbourne and other cities for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, it’s an exciting opportunity to see new things.

Here are some of the many events and sites you should consider visiting if you are an international student in Melbourne this holiday season.

Christmas at Fed Square

Looking for something unique and fun to do the weekend before Christmas? Consider visiting Fed Square, where the largest LEGO Christmas tree in the southern hemisphere has been erected. Along with other LEGO creations, a building event, and outdoor movies for the holidays all month long, this is a great place to spend an afternoon.

Christmas Festival

Melbourne’s City Square is transformed every year into Christmas Square – featuring a range of Christmas staples from around the world, and operating all day, every day through Christmas next Friday. This is a great opportunity to check out one of the centrepieces of Melbourne’s celebrations each year.

Christmas Lights Melbourne

One of the most exciting parts of the Christmas season is tracking down the biggest and best holiday light displays. Christmas Lights Melbourne offers a search tool by suburb or postcode to help you find displays in Australia (or in Melbourne specifically) near your apartment or homestay. It’s a great way to spend an evening after visiting the nearby festivals.

One Day Events throughout the City

If you’re looking for something specific or a little smaller in scale in Melbourne for the holidays, check out the full list of events gathered by Only Melbourne. Consisting of more than 25 events taking place throughout the month of December and representing different communities and activities in Melbourne, there are a lot of options here for someone who wants to explore the holiday season in Melbourne.

New Year’s Eve in Melbourne

Melbourne has a spectacular series of New Year’s Eve displays, starting with the early-family friendly display. Visible from Yarra Park and Footscray Park, this display happens at sundown and is perfect for a family with young children or anyone who doesn’t want to stay up past midnight.

For the big display at midnight, you can see the fireworks from anywhere you have line of sight to the city. There are several live sites throughout the city, as well including Kings Domain, Treasury Gardens, Flagstaff Gardens, Docklands, each located on a different side of the city, offering a range of options for anyone – regardless of where you are in relation to the fireworks. You can download a map of the festivities from the official website here.

Are you planning to visit Australia as a student for part or all of the academic year? If so, you’re in for a treat. Australia is regularly named one of the best places in the world for international students, and for good reason – the relaxed atmosphere, beautiful outdoors, and plentiful activities offer students of all types something to do in addition to their high quality education.

But Australia is a big country and there are several cities home to universities that might be a good fit for your education and travel goals. We regularly get this question and wanted to share some of the factors that go into deciding where in Australia you should visit during your homestay.

Top Universities

Australia’s education system is exceptional and has frequently been ranked among the best in the world, most recently 9th according to Study in Australia. With 8 of the top 100 Universities in the world and 5 out of the 30 best student cities in the world, there are a lot of options here for those that want to study in the country.

To start, you’ll find Melbourne and Sydney among the top 5 student cities in the world according to TopUniversities. Other Australian cities that make the top 30 include Canberra, Aukland, and Brisbane, giving you numerous options across the eastern side of the country to choose from.

Sydney and Melbourne’s Main Attractions

In Sydney and Melbourne specifically, though, there are several things to consider. Melbourne is known for its plethora of historical and cultural sites, as well as its big market scene – something you’ll find throughout the city during the fall months. We regularly write about Melbourne’s events and how they attract people from around the country and the globe each year.

Sydney offers a similarly urban experience, surrounded by the beauty of the country. With the Northern Beaches offering plenty of opportunities to relax and enjoy the outdoors, the Blue Mountains to the west offering getaways in the great outdoors over the weekends, and extensive cultural opportunities in Sydney’s Opera House, museums, gardens, and parks, there is enough to do here to keep you busy for several years, let alone months during your study program.

Where Should You Stay for an Australian Homestay?

There are many options, and even if you haven’t yet selected a University to apply to for your overseas study, you’ll find that each of the cities listed above offers substantial opportunities for you to explore a new culture and enjoy what Australia has to offer.

If you are considering Sydney or Melbourne, contact Global Experience. We work with students and host families throughout both cities to help them find the perfect homestay matches.

For an international student spending several months in a new country, there’s often a checklist of things to do – the places you want to see, the food you want to try, and the events you want to be part of. But, as many international students can tell you, there’s also a list of things you don’t realize you missed until you return home. If you are preparing for a trip to Melbourne or if you are currently in Melbourne as an international student, here are five cultural highlights you should make sure to see while there.

Royal Exhibition Building

Named a Unesco World Heritage site in 2004, the Royal Exhibition Building has been a cornerstone of Melbourne since 1880 when it was built for the International Exhibition. The first Australian Parliament was held here in 1901, it was the first building to fly the country’s flag, and now it is home to some of the biggest cultural events in the country each year, including the Melbourne Art Fair very two years.

Luna Park

You’ve probably seen pictures of Luna Park, one of the most famous amusement parks in Australia and home to the oldest continuously operating wooden rollercoaster in the world. Open for more than 100 years now, Luna Park is something you have to see if you are in Melbourne in the spring or summer.

Melbourne Museum

The Melbourne Museum is home to unique specimens and exhibits from the surrounding Melbourne and Victoria region. It is home to all things that make the culture of this beautiful city so unique and one of the great museums of Australia – a must see for anyone who visits.

Melbourne Cricket Ground

Capable of holding 100,000 people (and frequently filled to capacity), the ‘G’ is one of the most impressive and highest attended sporting venues in the world. Here you’ll find cricket matches in the summer, AFL in the winter, and events throughout the year, as well as tours available on non-game days. This is a once in a lifetime experience for a sporting fan.

Shrine of Remembrance

Originally built to remember the Australians whose lives were lost in World War I, the Shrine of Remembrance is now used to commemorate all Australian lives lost in wars. Major events are held here each year for Remembrance Day (11 November) and ANZAC Day (25 April. There are free tours here each day or you can visit and tour the memorial on your own.

This is only a list of the highlights in Melbourne. There are so many more things you should make the time to see while you are here – from the Royal Botanical Gardens, to the 600 traders hocking their wares in Queen Victoria Market. Make your trip to Melbourne an experience you will never forget.

Recently named the world’s most liveable city for the second year in a row, Melbourne is on a roll. This gem of Australia’s south doesn’t get the press or the airtime that Sydney does for international travellers, but it arguably has just as many if not more exciting things to do as its neighbour to the north.

Here are five such things you should seek out on your next trip to Melbourne, whether you are a student or simply visiting from elsewhere in the country.

Eureka Skydeck

Can’t quite envision Melbourne’s skyline? Visit the Eureka Skydeck and you’ll never forget it. As the Southern Hemisphere’s highest viewing platform, the Skydeck is the perfect way to get a brilliant look at every corner of the city as well as the area beyond. It’s a beautiful experience on its own, but it will also help you explore the city by getting your bearings and possibly spotting new pockets or areas you want to visit.

The tickets allow you to visit twice in a single day as well, so you can view during the day, enjoy the city, and then return at night for an even more beautiful night-time view of the city.

The Dandenong Ranges

Just an hour east of the CBD is the Dandenong Ranges. The mountain range is famous for the Mountain Ash trees it is home to as well as a breathtaking view of the nearby countryside. There is also a gauge railway ride through the ranges and numerous smaller tours you can take of the region on your visit.

Queen Victoria Market

Melbourne is famous for its markets, of which there are four located throughout the city, but the biggest and best known of the bunch is Queen Victoria Market, located on the corner of Victoria Street and Elizabeth Street in the heart of the city.

Here you’ll find a huge number of things to keep you busy – an international mix of cultures, foods, and goods, numerous dine-in café experiences and more right in the midst of the city.

Philip Island

Technically not in Melbourne, but only two hours away driving south of the city, Philip Island is one of the area’s most famous destinations, home to the Little Penguin colony as well as the Koala Conservation Centre. Also here are Churchill Island where you can find a working historical farm, and The Nobbies – a headland stretch with iconic boardwalks.

There are numerous pass options for entry to Phillip Island, but the best bet is the 3 Park Pass and there are coach trips to Phillip Island to make it easier to reach.

The Shrine of Remembrance

Located at Kings Domain Parkland on St. Kilda Road, The Shrine of Remembrance is a monument to Veterans of wars throughout the history of Australia. It’s also located in the centre of the city and serves as a good starting point for any day or multi-day trip to Melbourne.

Nearby you’ll be able to visit the Botanical Gardens and Government House and it’s a quick walk to just about every other CBD attraction.

Preparing for Your Visit to Melbourne

If you’re preparing for a trip to Melbourne, there are a number of things you should put on your “must see” list for that trip. The five listed above are a great starting point, but there are many more that make this truly one of the world’s great cities.

Photo Courtesy: Erika @haphopper