MELBOURNE | First Impressions

So it’s been just over a month since I’ve moved out here to Melbourne, so I feel like now is the perfect time to share my first impressions. Lemme be real though, I haven’t been out as much as I would on a holiday for a number of reasons: 1. It’s winter here (contrary to popular belief, it actually gets cold here … as in below 10 degrees), 2. I’ve just needed some down time since I’ve barely had any time to chill this year and 3. I’m studying (the Australian education system is highkey needy lol). Anyways, I’m going to give you my thoughts on a several factors:

PEOPLE

Not going to lie, but media has really painted a picture of Australians being the stereotypical “blonde-haired, blue-eyed beach babe”. Lol, not here in Melbourne! In fact, I barely see anyone with blonde hair here. Instead, most people have brunette hair and the culture here displays quite a different picture than what ‘Home and Away’ and ‘Neighbours’ shows. I partly believe that’s also because I’m in Melbourne which is more of an artsy, metropolitan city. Think Shoreditch but on a larger scale. That being said, the skating culture is dominant here. As well as that, hip hop culture also plays a part and there is a lot more creative expression here than in London (who would’ve thought!)

TRANSPORT

Having travelled to a number of cities, I’m yet to find a city who beats London when it comes to transport. However, Melbourne does have enough transport to get you by and in comparison to London, the price makes more sense! They also have a free tram zone in the CBD which is good, compared to London’s rocketing zone 1 fares. HOWEVER, the frequency of transport is fairly poor, but that is probably because London has spoiled me, namely the Jubilee line. My train into the city comes every 20 minutes … imagine that wait after you reach the platform whilst the train is pulling out: a nightmare!

FOOD

First and foremost, plantain is not a thing here! The disrespect. The amount of people who have no idea what I’m talking about when I ask about plantain is disappointing. Also, seasoning … what is that?! I thank God I bought my seasonings and maggi cubes, otherwise it would be herbs and salt all the way lol (issa L). In terms of fast food, I wouldn’t say the choice is bad, but the portions are questionable. I feel like they lack in appropriate sizes, especially with their extortionate prices. Literally, every burger I’ve bought has had the beef as flat as McDonald’s Big Mac beef, and the Big Mac’s here looks like it belongs on the saver menu lol. On the other hand, when it comes to desserts, Melbourne has the most innovative creations I’ve come across: literally nitrogen gelato, syringe’s in doughnuts and world-famous hot chocolates!

MONEY

Now the exchange rate is pretty decent when you’re converting from GBP into AUD. The problem lies within the purchasing power you have here. Generally most things are much more expensive than anywhere else I’ve been. Literally, I’ve come across cereal for $14! It’s weird because things like homeware is actually inexpensive, but food on the other hand, a rip off! Generally, international brands are also much more expensive with the only reasoning I can suggest is because of import tax.

EDUCATION

The quality of teaching here is definitely more engaging and sustainable here than in the UK (in regards to higher education – undergraduate level and above). Also, creativity and collaboration is encouraged! Tutorials and lectures here literally have you doing work, participating in discussions and actually learning stuff in comparison to the passive seminars and lectures we have in the UK. The tutors here also love to get to know their students and really try their best to help everyone get a good grade (to a certain extent I feel like too much is being spoon-fed). The one downfall I feel is that the work is too consistent. Since week 2 of uni, I’ve had presentations, assignments or tests to do; whereas in the UK you have either an essay or exam or both due at the end of the semester; here, there is always something due continuously throughout the semester. I guess that’t their strategy of keeping students engaged because there’s actually no way you can slack.

WEATHER

Again, unlike popular belief, it does get cold here and lucky me, came during Australian winter. That being said, it doesn’t get as cold as the UK on average … however, it did catch me by surprise since I did leave London when it was about 30 degrees. On average, I would say the temperature is about 14-16 degrees. They are correct when they say they can get four seasons in one day. If you’re to leave your house before 10am, it can be about 2-7 degrees outside. Come to lunchtime, and it can be warm and about 17 degrees! I’m just excited for summer because I hear it gets to 40 degrees which means melanin will be popping!

SHOPPING

If you have the money, the finer things are definitely everywhere in Melbourne. There is so much independent designers with quality pieces. Also, there is abundance of footwear stores, especially in regards to trainers. The only problem is the pricing. Even Van Sk8-Hi’s are well over $100 (bare in mind all my Vans have been between £20-50). But if you’re working or have some sort of regular income, you can easily get really good pieces here. Also, it’s like menswear streetwear heaven here! Stores even stock Yeezy’s on display with other regular trainers … probably explains why Yeezy’s are like the UK’s version of Adidas Superstars.

Anyways, this post is definitely longer than I had intended it to be. Over time my impressions are due to change since I’ll be discovering more and getting more used to the Australian system. Hope you found this interesting!

– Joanita