With enquiries flooding in filled with questions from prospective international Muslim students about our Student Startup Tours, studying in Australia- and specifically studying in Melbourne, I decided to break it down and simplify the lots of different reasons to study in Melbourne with just the TOP TEN reasons for Muslim international students to study in Melbourne.
You all asked for it, so here you go!
Naturally, if one were considering moving to another country/city for education, one would ensure that the education they are moving for would be worth all the hassle. And when it comes to quality of education and quality of universities, Melbourne does not disappoint.
Along with being a vibrant and a multicultural city, Melbourne boasts its academic scene and culture with being home to some of Australia’s, and the world’s highest-ranking institutions. Melbourne’s universities offer world-class education; be it in the field of sciences, arts, literature, business, politics, or engineering. You name it- Melbourne’s got it!
And the bonus: once you’ve received credentials from one of Melbourne’s universities, your qualification is recognized across the globe by international organizations and employers. Melbourne is truly THE place to kick-start your career and make life-long industry connections.
One of the major concerns for anyone who is moving to a new place is to ensure that the place that they are moving to is safe. Needless to say, one needs to take their safety precautions wherever in the world they are, at any given time. However, be assured that Melbourne is a highly safe city to live in- even for Muslims- even for Muslim females in Hijab.
Understandably, the concerns of safety for Muslims in Australia are quite high and thanks to the isolated racist attacks, it comes across in the media that Melbourne (or Australia in general) is not safe for international Muslim students. This is not to say that racist attacks don’t happen- they do, but are very rare. On the most part, people are very friendly and open to different cultures and customs.
There is a very good reason why Melbourne is considered Australia’s multicultural hub- and it will be more evident while walking down the streets of Melbourne city when you see all sorts of different people from different walks of life. Muslim international students don’t have to be afraid when it comes to safety- especially not racist attacks!
Since we’re on the topic of safety and multiculturalism, Melbourne’s multicultural affair ranks number three on our top ten list of reasons for international Muslim students to study in Melbourne. It can, without a doubt, be nerve-racking to take that big step of moving places, not knowing anyone and planning to live there for the next three-four years- or more. Last thing one wants while studying is to be constantly homesick or feel “out-of-place”.
Melbourne is considered to be a melting pot of cultures. Next time you crave a Middle-Eastern feast and desserts, Sydney Road will be your second home. Or if you feel like having that Biriyani your favorite aunty makes, head down to Footscray’s “Little India” on Barkly Street and catch a good Bollywood movie that’s screening just around the corner, or for more of a ‘Halal’ entertainment, see if you can spot our very own Nazeem Hussein (more famously known as Calvin Khan) on the streets of Melbourne being a not-so-foreign, foreign correspondent. The last thing you will feel in a city that has been named ‘The World’s Most Liveable City’ five times in a row is out-of-place.
One of the best things about Melbourne is the efficiency of the public transport system. This can be really handy especially if you’re an international student and don’t plan to buy a car straight away.
With the accessibility and convenience of buses, trains, and the tram network, getting around in Melbourne is a smooth sail. Public Transport Victoria (PTV) has now also introduced Free Tram Zones where you can catch a tram in the city and not pay a single cent! All you need is a valid Myki card and download the PTV Journey Planner app to plan your journey around the city.
Alternatively, there are options such as Melbourne Bike Share where you can hire a bike for short trips within the city for as little as $3 a day, or car share options for when you need a car for specific times with convenient parking locations around the city.
Another major concern for international students is to find comfortable, clean, and affordable accommodation. There are many different student accommodation options available in Melbourne that is close to university, has access to public transport, and is conveniently located near supermarkets, shops, café’s, and even Mosques. You have the option of sharing the accommodation with other students or hiring a studio apartment for yourself. Females can also request to share with other female students as well.
The cost of accommodation can easily take up to 40-50% of a students’ weekly expense. Having said that, there are alternative economical options available too.
The great thing about studying in Melbourne is the flexibility of time that a student has to be able to balance their studies, social life, and work life all at once.
As expenses hike up, most students look for part-time work in order to pay off their day-to-day living costs. The great thing about Melbourne is that students can find part-time employment that pays good wages. Most students work in the service and hospitality industries and depending on the job, international students can earn anywhere between AU$ 14 and AU$ 21 per hour. This is an awesome way to meet people, make friends, and also get the opportunity to learn and practice English (if you come from a non-English speaking background) while earning money at the same time.
(Handy tip: Make sure you check your visa for work eligibility, get familiar with the standard rates of pay and also get to know your work rights as an international student to avoid workplace exploitation).
Another major concern that Muslim international students have is whether there is an active Muslim community in Melbourne or not.
Brace yourselves because Melbourne’s Muslims are pretty cool and awesome people. You will come across Muslims from all sorts of different backgrounds; we have Turkish Muslims, Lebanese, Indians, Pakistani, Somalis, Eritreans, Arabs, Egyptians, Chinese, Malaysians, and even French Muslims… So basically Muslims from all over the world!
The easiest place to meet and find Muslim friends and acquaintances as an international student is to hang out at the University Musallah’s. The prayer rooms are usually the place where most students make friends and meet other Muslims. Students can also join the MSA Union and get involved with the community for that sense of peace and to feel more at home.
Aside from the MSA activities, there are lots of other events and conferences that are organized for Muslims in Melbourne all year round. Checkout your local Masjid and enquire about community events, Iftaars and festivals. A good way to start getting connected is to join the ICV (Islamic Council of Victoria) mailing list where you will get sent community news about upcoming events and programs for Muslims in the community.
Undoubtedly, it is essential that a student is based close to local getaway destinations for the times when a short break for the heart, mind and soul is desperately needed- especially just after submitting a load of assignments and exams- a mini getaway away from all the hustle and bustle of city and uni-life is due.
Melbourne is conveniently located close to some breathtaking, world-renown, “postcard” destinations. The more famous one being the Great Ocean Road, a scenic drive to smaller beach towns such as Torquay and Lorne, all the way to the Twelve Apostles and the “penguin island”, or, Philip Island. Or if you’re more into the mountains and snow, then you have Mount Buller at your disposal just another beautiful scenic drive away!
Being in Melbourne makes it easy for students to travel locally and economically.
Melbournian weather is very controversial. People either love it, or they absolutely hate it. There is no in-between. And the reason for that is simply because Melbourne has a tendency to surprise its habitats every so often. Be prepared to experience the scorching heat of the summer, the sharp, cold breeze and rain of the winter and everything in between all in one day! Hence why people either love it, or hate it.
The average temperatures in spring (September – November) range between 17° and 21°, in summer (December – February) the average is 25° but you can expect to experience days of 40°+. Autumn in Melbourne is our favorite season (March – May) and the average temperature is around 16° with some beautiful, rainy days and finally winter in Melbourne is usually between (June – August), and yes, Australia does have the winter season too!
It’s impossible to talk about Melbourne without talking about coffee. In Melbourne, coffee is not a drink- coffee is a culture. Melbournians take their coffee very, very, VERY seriously. You will come across little café’s in shopping centers, drive-through coffee shops, café’s in alleyways, café’s everywhere! The small quirky boutique café’s around the Melbourne CBD and inner suburbs are the life and soul of Melbourne and as a student, your life will depend on coffee (not literally, but you know what I mean!).
If not anything else, you must come to Melbourne at least once in your lifetime just for the coffee!
I hope this article helped you get some insights on Melbourne and the Melbournian culture and student life. Please comment below if you have any specific questions about studying in Melbourne, or alternatively, you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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