Studying abroad is never easy. Take it from me, someone who came to Australia to study at the age of seventeen – I was underage, and had no acquaintances in town. Family and friends support from back home are important in so many ways, but eventually you will have to develop the skills necessary to support yourself. I’m not just talking about a sizeable bank account and eating cheap, but the ability to self-educate, and adapt to situations that may be out of your comfort zone.

As a student in a new country, there are so many things you need to concern yourself with. Setting up your own bank account, finding your own place to live, hunting for jobs, and being committed to your academic life. But having a social life, and immersing yourself in the local culture are still important parts of why you’re studying abroad, which you would not want to lose sight of. We all come to a new country to learn and grow, and for this reason having a reliable go-to source for gathering information is of paramount importance.

I want to start my story from the point that I moved to Melbourne. Before Melbourne, I’d already lived as a student in Sydney for four and a half years. During this time, I had travelled to Melbourne at least once a year. I fell in love with the city, and was adamant on moving here after I finished my bachelor degree. Melbourne has a completely different energy to Sydney. Melbourne is different. I wanted to move here because I felt the need to get out of the whirlwind of Sydney. I wanted to develop a career and a life that was built on solid experience – Melbourne is just the place for that.

The city is calm, and has rich, accepting and diverse local culture. Those secret lane ways peppered with murals and all of the hidden cafes are still two of my favourite things. It’s the subtlety of the city – does it have an Opera House-level tourism attraction? Probably not. But there is always more to the city for you to discover, whether it’s a jazz room under an independent cinema, or a vintage boutique shop sitting in a small alleyway. The point is, Melbourne operates on a relaxed rhythm. You can still live a hurried life running around, but once in a while when you’d like to take a break, that’s when the subtle culture of the city kicks in and soothes all of the urban anxiety you might have. For you new comers out there, Study Melbourne has provided a comprehensive guide of what the city has to offer. Not only does their guide cover major events and attractions in the city, but it also delves into local markets and activities on a lower cost, in order for students to get close to the city’s raw beauty. Study Melbourne also encourages international students to explore the breath-taking scenery in regional Victoria; if you’re looking for a short trip with friends, definitely don’t miss those suggestions on the website.

Of course studying overseas is not all rainbows and sunshine. Apart from studying and having fun, you’ll also need to have a work life to sustain yourself. It doesn’t matter if it’s to support yourself financially or develop a long-term career, being a professional simultaneously to being a student truly builds character, and teaches you about responsibility. I personally have tried many different types of jobs, from volunteering, to internships, to part-time jobs and freelancing. As an international student, our Visa status does tend to complicate things. What we have is not full working rights, but partial ones. The trick is to be mindful, and to know your working rights and limitations, as well as for what reasons you are looking for work. For instance, if you’re looking to provide for yourself, a satisfying salary package will have to come first, instead of gaining professional experience in the field where you wish to develop a career. In other cases, if you’re financially stable and looking for work that has more of a proximity to your field of interest, then you’ll most likely have to do a good amount of voluntary work.

As an international student, these are important aspects to consider properly. Once you make up your mind and finish prioritising your professional life, check here to see how exactly you can find yourself the job you need. The career page of Study Melbourne has listed everything you need to know to work in Melbourne as an international student, from your working rights, to introductions of different types of jobs, and career advice such as tips on job interviews and writing your résumé. Don’t be intimidated by all of the choices you’ll have to face, because once you sort out your work life, your time as an international student will be much more fulfilling and rewarding.

It really doesn’t matter how old we are when we leave our home country – starting a new journey in a new place will always be difficult in the beginning. Even after five years in Australia, I still turn to Study Melbourne from time to time for information. Not just where to go on weekends with my friends, but also about study agents, student Visas, accommodation, career advice and much more. If you’ve made it to Melbourne, congratulations – soon you’ll know this is a city that truly has it all, and never disappoints.

Study Melbourne – Lina – Colombia from Department of the Future on Vimeo.