By Lauren Howie, The University of Melbourne
Time has soared by since I first set foot in Melbourne. Now 8 weeks into the Aussie dream (and loving every second of it) I’ve decided to put together a list of 5 life hacks that made settling into this fantastic city a lot less daunting!
1.Fairy Floss Real Estate (Possibly The Best Facebook Page Ever)
If like me, you have opted for a house share over halls then my first and foremost tip is to get yourself on Fairy Floss! The idea of arriving in a new country with no housing can be a tad nerve racking, but don’t worry finding people to live with has just been made a whole lot easier. Simply request to join the Fairy Floss Real Estate page on Facebook and you will be overwhelmed with hundreds of property choices. Even better you can filter it by location – some good areas to look out for are Brunswick, Fitzroy, Parkville and Carlton – all of which are in range of the University and bursting with things to do! The housing options on Fairy floss are updated 24/7 so you are bound to find something to suit your length of stay and budget. Other helpful housing platforms are gumtree and Flatmates.com. An extra top tip – the best houses get snapped up quick so make sure to turn on your post notifications and prepare a little bio about yourself, your hobbies and your amazing housemate qualities to send to any properties that catch your eye!
2. The Nunnery (Not quite what it sounds)
Before coming out to Melbourne I was in a bit of a pickle over which hostel to stay in and I was so unbelievably lucky to have been recommended The Nunnery! Slap bang in the middle of Melbourne’s super trendy suburb of Fitzroy, The Nunnery is an equally funky hostel that makes for the perfect home while you are finding your feet. Within minutes of its doorstep are some of the city’s most infamous cafes, live music venues and vintage shops. The hostel itself is a converted (you guessed it) Nunnery, with bags of character and non-stop social events such as the weekly pub crawl, BBQ Fridays, movie night Tuesdays, soup Wednesdays and pancake Sundays (All of which are totally free!) The Nunnery was a great way to meet other students and explore the city before uni started. Another top tip – make the most of the “Nuns” who work there, they are all locals and more than happy to dish out their expert knowledge of Melbourne’s marvellous sights and wonders!
3. Join the MUSEX society (Also not what it sounds…)
The Melbourne University Student Exchange Society is a well-established group of over 100 international students. The joining fee is 10 dollars and once you become a member you can buy tickets to any of their brill social events such as the 3 course meal down Lygon street (Melbourne’s famous road of Italian restaurants – basically the curry mile but pasta/pizza version) the boat party on the Yarra River, the surf camp to Phillip island and the end of year ball! Every year the society is a great way for exchangers to meet some of their closest mates and travel buddies!
4. Bring your winter woollies
Yes, I hate to break it to you – Australia can get a bit nippy! Winter coats (even scarfs and hats if you aren’t too great with the cold) are a necessity. If you can’t fit all your winter wardrobe in your suitcase then don’t panic- just take a trip down Brunswick Street or Sydney Road and you should be able to find some seasonal attire in one of the weird (but wonderful) thrift shops.
5. Aussie Snacks
For my last life hack – a few Aussie delicacies that will really make you feel like a local! First (depending how you feel about the marmite controversy) you may want to try Australia’s claim to fame spread ‘Vegemite’ (Be warned – it is a lot stronger than marmite so tread carefully) Unlike Vegemite, I can assure you that if there’s one thing you will love about your trip to Australia it will be Tim Tams. The best thing to have been created, these biscuits closely resemble penguins but make up for the lack of jokes in their amazing range of flavours and innovative eating method (See video). Finally, when in Woolworths (Yes it still exists in Australia!) you need to grab a bag of Cheezels – simply the tastiest and most dangerously addictive cheesy crisps to have ever been invented!
That’s all for now! I hope these life hacks help to make Melbourne your home away from home 🙂