Akhil’s Top 3 Tips for Travelling During the Semester

Helloooo Prospective Exchangers!

Hands down one of the best parts of going on an exchange is the opportunity to explore around the town or city you’re studying in. Travelling throughout the semester on short weekend breaks really gives you a feel for the country. These are quite general but if you’d like something more specific shoot me an email akhil.chauhan@student.manchester.ac.uk

1. GO ON A SOCIETY TRIP

When planning a trip, I find making a decision on where exactly to go one of the most found things – especially in Australia where there are so so so many things to see and do. I can’t stress how much fun going on a properly organised society on a weekend trip away is! As well as a lot of the hassle being sorted for you, a such great way to try something new like surfing, bushwalking/camping or even skiing (yes even in Australia!) and of course it’s the perfect way to meet some awesome people.

At the University of Melbourne, there’s so many great societies offering trips organised by students through the semester, with a few linked below. The price of these trips may include all or some of the travel, accommodation and food costs, depending on the specific society, so be sure to clarify what you need to plan yourself.

A bunch of exchange students and I went on a surf camp to Apollo Bay with the University of Melbourne Surfriders. We rented a car and took it down the Great Ocean Road, and after the camp we went a little further West to check out the 12 Apostles. For all you Melbourne exchangers, a surf camp is a must – there’s quite a few throughout the semester so don’t miss out!

12 Apostles
A few apostles, just chilling

International Student Travel Group

MUSEX – Exchange society

Sports society trips and tours (including surfing, mountaineering/bushwalking, skiing and more) 

The society and clubs website is really useful and there’ll be a huge society fresher’s fair towards the start of the semester

2. BOOK TRAVEL EARLY 

I mean this both in terms of going away early in the semester and booking mid-semester break trips earlier on. While you’re new to the city, you’ll definitely want to immerse yourself in everything there is to see so it might feel a bit counter intuitive to look at getting away as soon as you get there. There’s a few reasons for this:

  • Earlier on in the semester your workload is bound to be lighter – from experience you really really don’t want to miss out because you’ve got 3 coursework deadlines the following week
  • For longer trips during a mid-semester break, flights are cheaper earlier on. SkyScanner and Google Flights are your best friends for this.
  • You’ll have something to look forward to!

I could have saved a fair few dollars if I had booked flights and some accommodation for short break in Tasmania a little earlier. For this sweet trip we rented a car and made our way up the East Coast, from Hobart to Launceston. Something to remember: organising hire cars will require you to be over 21 and have a credit card in the name of the main driver.

Wineglass Bay
Wineglass Bay, Tazzie

3. RESEARCH WHAT’S ON OFFER…BUT DON’T OVER PLAN

The last thing you want to do with a few days break is to spend a few precious hours researching what to do. Have a look at what there is to do beforehand and pick a few of your top things to do and let the rest happen. For this, the Lonely Planet Guides are great and TimeOut is perfect to see what’s going on in cities. There’s a happy medium between being totally unprepared and over planning – find it and allow some space for spontaneity!

For shorter trips you might want a little more structure but I definitely felt the flexibility I had in my post-semester travels allowed us to see so many cool things we might have missed if we stuck to a strict schedule.

THAT’S IT!

In between getting to know the city you’re in and studying, mid-semester breaks are a must for any exchange. Good luck!

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