Ready for a crash course on life in Australia's cultural capital? Melbourne's exciting, energetic mix of culture, style, and flavor makes it a great place to study and live. In fact, last year's QS Best Student Cities index ranked Melbourne the #2 city in the world for students, second only to Paris.
Study abroad programs at Melbourne's universities range from summer terms to a full academic year, with plenty of variety across areas of study and program type. In your free time between classes, you can dive into all the incredible activities and sights of Melbourne, including world-class art, amazing restaurants, some of the country's best coffee, lively nightlife, and thrilling sports. And if you ever do get sick of the city, just head out along the breathtaking Great Ocean Road for some of the best coastal views on the continent.
With some of Australia's top universities, including the University of Melbourne, Monash University, RMIT University, and La Trobe University, Melbourne offers a wealth of academic choices for international students.
Many of the major study abroad providers have programs in Melbourne. Arcadia University runs exchanges with several major Melbourne universities, including the University of Melbourne. ISA offers programs with both University of Melbourne and La Trobe University, and API just started a >brand new program at La Trobe. These programs offer course options across dozens of fields, from business to indigenous studies.
If you'd rather not go through a program provider and want to have total independence in your study abroad experience, you can look into enrolling directly in a local university. Most of the major universities, including the University of Melbourne, La Trobe, RMIT, and Victoria University, allow international students to enroll directly in courses. Going the direct enrollment route gives you more freedom over your study abroad coursework, but also means you have to take on more responsibility for the enrollment and registration process, since you don't have a provider taking care of all the logistics for you. You also may have to pay a small additional fee as an international student, but it's typically much less than what you'd be paying for a program.
Most programs at Melbourne universities are either a semester (fall or spring) or a full academic year. A few providers also offer summer programs, and USAC's program at Deakin University, includes a J-term option.
Australia is one of the most expensive study abroad destinations, and Melbourne is no exception. It may not be Sydney, but it's still the country's second most expensive city. An average meal costs around US$15, and a weekly student grocery budget is about $60. A monthly local transportation pass costs about $100. If you're planning on getting a local cell phone plan, expect to pay about $45 a month. In total, a semester in Melbourne will probably cost $6,000-$7,000, not including airfare and program fees
It is possible to stick to a budget while studying in Melbourne. If housing is provided through your program, you'll save a hefty chunk of money that would otherwise go to paying the city's expensive rent prices. The city is relatively bike-friendly, so investing in a good bicycle can help cut down on transportation costs -- plus it's a great way to see the city from a different angle!
It's worth considering getting a part-time job to help offset costs, if it works with your schedule. The Australian student visa allows students to work up to 40 hours per 2-week period, so you can at least have some pocket money to help you enjoy your incredible host city.
Most program providers offer accommodation, either in student housing (dorms or apartments) or with a host family placement. If you're doing direct enrollment, start by contacting your host university to ask about housing options or recommendations for international students. You can also look for housing on your own through sites like EasyRoommate or Gumtree, popular housing sites in Australia.
Unless you're doing a J-term or short summer course that's less than 90 days, you'll need a student visa. If you're going through a program, your provider will usually help arrange your visa application and include the cost in the program fee. If you're doing direct enrollment, you'll need to go through the visa application process once you have confirmation from your host institution, and before you go to Australia. Student visas cost about US$400, and are usually granted for the length of your course of study. Remember, you are allowed to work part-time with this visa.
For more information, look at your government's travel information for Australia, or get in touch with your local consulate.
Studying in Australia is expensive, but you don't have to pay for it all on your own. There are tons of scholarships out there for students headed abroad -- some are just general study abroad scholarships, while others are specifically for students that meet certain requirements or study in a particular field. Before hitting Google, talk to your university to see if your financial aid can apply to your study abroad program, and visit your study abroad office to find out about other funding that might be available through your home institution.
Other external scholarship opportunities:
- The Australia Awards Endeavour Scholarships are competitive, merit-based scholarships and fellowships providing opportunities for overseas citizens to study or do research in Australia.
- IES Abroad offers several scholarships for participants in their programs - including some just for Australia!
- USAC study abroad scholarships provide more than $1 million each year for students enrolled in USAC programs.
There aren't really any major health or safety concerns in Melbourne, other than the general fact that Australian wildlife is deadly and/or poisonous. As long as you avoid hugging any creepy crawlies, you should be fine, but as with any travel, it's worth checking with your doctor to make sure all your immunizations and prescriptions are up to date before you go.
Many program providers offer insurance for students abroad -- otherwise, you may want to consider getting health insurance to cover you while you're there, just in case you do run into any of the less friendly fauna.