So, you’ve managed to secure a place with the University of Melbourne. That’s great. On top of that, you’ve just flown over 10,000 miles, enjoyed and are just about ready to collapse from jet lag. In spite of all of that, things are looking pretty good, you should feel proud of yourself for getting so far (I know that I’m excited for you). BUT before we can kick off your dream exchange, we need to get you a base for the next few months, a place you can kick back and relax in between your Australian adventures.
*This guide is aimed at those who are planning on finding accommodation after reaching Australia*
Feel free to drop me an email if you’ve specific questions about finding a place firstname.lastname@example.org
Decide on your priority:
As when finding any place to live, you should answer what you want from your future home. Is the shortest commute to university, low costs (to free up fund for traveling) or being seen in one of the hottest suburbs it most important to you. Maybe you’ve teamed up with some fellow exchangers and are looking for a Australian home. Shared rooms versus private is another big consideration, these arrangements are a lot more common than back home and for many students it’s the only way to affordably live in the city.
Remember, you’ll be joining in July, which is the Aussie second semester. There may be a chance to move half way through the year and have a little more choice after people have moved out for the summer.
Location, Location, Location:
Melbourne’s extensive tram network (and half price fares for students) really shrinks the city to a manageable size. Getting around is super easy so you’ll have no problems exploring the city and its surroundings.
Walking to University: Many Manchester students will be all too familiar with the Magic Bus commute into University so the luxury of actually being able to walk to a lecture may be too great to pass by. There’s some great parks, the famous Lygon street (Melbourne’s Little Italy) and plenty great cafes surrounding the campus.
- Parkville: Close to the CBD (Central Business District), very close to university and popular with students.
- Carlton: You’ll be paying a higher price for the location so expect smaller rooms than some other areas. Having lived here myself I’d definitely recommend the area, mainly for the short trip into university.
For those after a soy-decafe-organic-glutenfree single origin flat white after a morning yoga session: Imagine the Northern Quarter of Manchester of steroids
- Fitzroy: It is easy to poke fun at Fitzroy for those of us who didn’t (or weren’t lucky enough) to find a place there. Live music most nights, an eclectic mix of eateries and . You’ll definitely spend a lot of time exploring this area.
A little more bang for your buck:
- Brunswick (Or Brunso as we used to call it): This a little further North than the other areas so you can expect your money to go a little further. There’s (of course) more great cafes and bars around and Brunswick with trams taking you into the heart of the CBD within half an hour. I’ve heard this area described as a ‘more genuine’ Fitzroy: less try-hard but just as appealing.
Worth checking out: These areas may have some great spots.
- North Melbourne: Just to the West of the University North Melbourne blends into Parkville.
- CBD: There’s some plush apartments knocking around but carry the price tag you’d expect for living in cities heart.
Tools: Here’s what you have at your disposal
- Gumtree: This free to use classified ad site will be your friend. Be sure to check frequently and organize as many viewings as you can, it will take a little while to gauge what to expect at each price point. When something good pops up on Gumtree it’s availability has a short lifespan.
- flatmates.com.au: A dedicated house/flat sharing app aimed at connecting those looking for a home with those seeking a flat mate. (There’s house shares, private apartments etc. all posted). To get the most out of flatmates you’ll have to pay for their ‘premium’ package, which costs a few dollars. This gets you early access to vacancy postings, these will tend to get snapped up early. That being said, I didn’t use the premium version but if i was to find a place again, I’d definitely fork out the few dollars to get something quicker.
- University of Melbourne accommodation notice board: Not as a wide selection as the other sources but a useful tool with places often targeted directly to students.
- Asking your fellow exchangers: it’s quite likely you will be arranging viewings for the many of the same places.
So that’s all, I hope this guide equips you for the start of your search.