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Melbourne a home away from home for international students

26 October 2023

Melbourne is Australia’s best student city and the fourth best student city in the world according to the QS World University Rankings. It was also named the second best city in the world for student experience.

With university students making up 23 per cent of the CBD population, and a good proportion of the population in surrounding neighbourhoods, the demographic is vital to the Melbourne’s community and economy.

Ahead of International Students Day on Friday 17 November, we asked three international students to share their impressions of Melbourne, and what they love about living in the inner suburbs.

Christopher Alory, CBD

The convenience of inner-city living suits Christopher Alory, who moved to Australia from France.

Of all the cities he’s visited, he said Melbourne is the happiest, most diverse and vibrant place, and offers the most opportunity.

“I’ve travelled a lot and experienced many cities and I believe Melbourne is the best. You can travel all round the world without leaving the city as each suburb has its own community,” Christopher said. 

“Melbourne has amazing people and cultural activities, which is important to me when I go out with friends. There are always activities and new things to do.”

Christopher enjoying a coffee in the central city

International student visas allow them to stay in Melbourne for two years after finishing their studies, and many use the time to look for work. Christopher was recently offered a job as a digital communications adviser.

Read more of Christopher’s story on the CBD neighbourhood portal.

Rod Romero, CBD

Rod Romero, who comes from the Philippines, agrees with Christopher that the CBD is a natural choice for international students.

He loves living in the central city, enjoying convenient transport and essential services alongside culture, diversity and high-quality education.

Rod is now in his third year of a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in politics and international studies at the University of Melbourne. Choosing a global university relatively close to the Philippines was important to him. 

“If someone asked me where in the world they should go to study I would say, come to Melbourne,” Rod said.

“It’s so near the Philippines and because of how our vacations work, you can go back home at the best time. In the Philippines, Christmas is all about big family celebrations.” 

Rod under the famous clocks at Flinders Street Station

Read more of Rod’s story on the CBD neighbourhood portal.

Connan Goh, North Melbourne

Connan Goh said she enjoys her life in Australia and finds living in North Melbourne convenient. Rather than relying on a car, she finds it easy to zip around on the tram to do her groceries and explore the city.

When she first moved to Melbourne from Malaysia she lived in student accommodation and found it easy to make friends. Like Christopher and Rod, Connan volunteered as a My Melbourne Student Ambassador to support other international students.

“I would say one of my most memorable experiences so far was going to Melbourne airport as an ambassador to hand out flyers to new students,” Connan said. 

“When I first came here I didn’t know what My Melbourne or The Couch International Student Centre was. Now I know that these programs have been set up to help people just like me, but there’s still a lot of people who don’t know. Being able to help new-comers has been a great experience.”

Connan pauses for a break between classes

Connan is studying a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne and hopes to do her masters when she finishes, or take up the opportunity to use her two-year visa extension to stay in Australia. 

Read more of Connan’s story on the North Melbourne neighbourhood portal.

Support for international students

While each international student has a different story, everyone we spoke to agrees that making the most out of living in Melbourne is about connecting with other students, and the wider community.

The City of Melbourne offers a wide range of social events and support networks to help you do just this. To find out more, visit International students.

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