'Straya FAQ / Living @ La Trobe


How's Australia?
Cold. When I think of Australia I think warm, beach, surfing, attractive people wherever you look and kangaroos. I was wrong except for the kangaroos... It's cold and windy and I actually live quite far from the next beach. Thumbs down!

What's your favourite thing about living in Melbourne?
I love the nature Victoria has to offer. Yarra Valley and its wineries, the Great Ocean Road... Melbourne itself is very much cafés and way too expensive vintage shops but if you're into that it's your place to be.

What's your least favourite thing about living in Melbourne?
Alcohol is reaaaally expensive here. I don't drink much but $10 for a shot, $8 for a small beer? Excuse me?

Also, no offense, but I don't think it deserves the title "most livable city in the world". Don't get me wrong, I like it but at the same time I also don't really like it... Shops close at 5pm, public transport apparently is the best in all over Australia but still kinda sucks and you can't really leave the city if you don't have a car or can't drive. I was really worried about my Korea exchange for a long time and really, really excited for Australia and it's kinda weird to say this now but: I enjoyed my Korea exchange a lot more.

How's studying at La Trobe?
So and so. You have one two-hour lecture per week per subject and in addition to this each subject has one one-hour tutorial. Usually they are not mandatory but I would recommend you to go. 

What kind of subjects are you taking?
A full-time study load is four courses which are 60 Aussie credits, so roughly 7.5 ECTS per course. My courses are a bit all over the place (literally my life philosophy right here) so all of them are from different departments:

1. Dictatorships and Democracies (political science)
2. Gender, Sex and Diversity (gender studies)
3. Slavery and Human Trafficking (history)
4. Worlds of Exclusion (sociology) 

La Trobe is pretty easy with their enrollment policy, especially for exchange students so if you are a prospective student and you've changed your mind between applying for exchange studies and arriving in Melbourne: don't worry, none of the courses above were on my confirmation of enrollment  originally (COE = a paper the university sends you which need in order to apply for your student visa).

Was applying competitive/difficult?
Australian exchange places are always competitive at Malmö University because everyone wants to go and usually they only have 1 - 2 places per uni (3 - 4 within Australia) per semester for the whole faculty). To be fair, I only got in the second time around when I've applied for exchange studies. The application itself is easy though.

Is Australia expensive?
Yes and no. There's no big difference compared to Sweden except for maybe rent... Rents are ridiculously high here, so prepare yourself for that. 5000 - 6000 SEK for a shitty room at least. 
Make sure to save up lots of money. The student visa is already really pricey ($540). You might need to go to the hospital and get a check up (blood, urine, chest x-ray) which I had to do due to my stay in Korea. I paid 130000 KRW but in Sweden and the rest of Europe this might be a lot more expensive. Getting x-rayed in Korea is super cheap so that definitely saved me a lot of money. 
Another thing that'll cost you lots of dollarydoos: flight tickets. Depending on your location make sure to sell your soul and all your favourite childhood memories before checking out prices for flights  to Down Under. I'd definitely make sure to have a 12000 - 15000 SEK ready for plane tickets. No one wants to be with a shitty airline for 25 - 35 hours. Seriously, be smarter than me and book proper flights, meaning: an airline with a good reputation and proper connecting times. Don't do 12h layovers - they look fine on the screen but are REALLY shitty when you're actually at an airport at 2am in the morning somewhere in the middle of only God knows, the only store that's open is McDonalds and you've already been on the road for +18h. Trust me. I've done this so many times and I regret it every. single. time! 

Biggest difference compared to Sweden?
The language. Duh. 

Just kidding, fam. I mean, I'm not but I'd say the biggest difference are definitely the people. Swedes are less outgoing and like their privacy. Aussies don't really give two frogs. The amount of strangers I have talked to here... not possible in Sweden.

What's the accommodation like? 
Eeeerm...basic. Yea, I think basic describes it quite well. You have your own overpriced room. There are three colleges on campus you can live at: Menzies, Glen and Chisholm. I live at Chis which is titles itself the "international college". Menzies is the social college and Glen is... I don't actually know. 

When's the semester over? 
Semester 2 started at the end of July and my last exam is due 02/11. Aussie kids don't really go to school much. They go uni for about 12 weeks and then take a break for just as long which I am definitely not used to since we only have a 3 months study break during summer and then go to school for the rest of the year - no midterm breaks whatsoever and an unofficial Christmas break. 

Thrown a shrimp on the barbie yet?
I mean I had Aussie BBQs but I haven't seen a single shrimp - disappointing.

Favourite Aussie food so far? 
Savory: Kangaroo meat. It's really tasty and super lean. 
Sweet: Tim Tams! And whatever my flat mate Nisha bakes. She's a goddess. 

Favourite Aussie moment so far?
SEEING A WOMBAT!!! Even though my first ever wombat was road kill... Bit sad, aye?

Would you wanna come back to Australia? 
Yea, definitely but maybe not to Melbourne. I'd rather go up North and maybe go check out Alice Springs etc. Aussie nature is stunning and there's so much to see since the country is so big. 

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