Rory Quinn gives an account of college life in Melbourne.
Why study your 3rd year at UCD when you could be doing it pretty much anywhere else in the world? That was the question I asked myself when I first heard about all the exchange opportunities UCD has to offer. I had always wanted to go to Australia, but figured it would have to be after my degree at some stage. So when I found out that the University of Melbourne was an option for me, there was absolutely no way I wasn’t going to apply. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and so far it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made.
Fortunately, I was lucky enough to get a spot to study here at the University of Melbourne to do the 3rd year of my Physics degree. As you’d expect, college work is college work wherever you are in the world, but to be able to study in a place that was recently voted the most liveable city in the world is unbelievable. You know those days in UCD when by some miracle the sun is out and everyone is just sitting on the grass relaxing enjoying themselves? Well, it’s like that at the University of Melbourne nearly every day. Don’t get me wrong, the weather can be dodgy here too, but in general, it’s great which makes uni that bit more enjoyable.
The Melbourne University Student Exchange Society (MUSEX) host loads of different events throughout term for international students. Everyone is there for the same reason – to have as much craic as they can while they’re abroad – so it’s really easy to get on with people. One of the first things we did was a surf trip weekend up the coast, which was absolutely amazing.
Since then we’ve done a couple of pub crawls, seen an AFL game and had a party cruise on the Yarra river. The people that run the society are students who have done a year abroad from Oz, so they know exactly what kind of things we want to do. The end of year Gala night is coming up soon and I’ve no doubt that it’s going to be immense. A lot of students (mainly Americans) are only here for the semester, so this will be the last time we’ll see them before a new crowd comes in next semester.
The best thing so far about studying in Melbourne hasn’t been anything we’ve done; it’s been the amount of people we’ve met. We’ve gotten to know Americans, Germans, French, Scandinavians, Dutch – the list goes on. It’s like starting college all over again, and for me, meeting new people was the best thing about this experience in the first place.
Myself and 4 other UCD lads managed to catch a bit of the rugby world cup over in New Zealand during mid-term. We spent a small fortune over there, but it was worth every cent. We saw the Ireland vs Russia game and even though it was a walkover, the atmosphere around the place was unbelievable. Having beaten Australia before that, the Kiwis were in love with us and you couldn’t walk down the street in green without someone cheering for Ireland. We did some adrenaline-junkie things too, like bungee jumping off the Auckland Bridge and white water rafting down the Kaituna River. Now I can’t wait to start our trip up the Gold Coast this summer, starting in Sydney on New Year’s Eve.
Everyone I’ve talked to at home about going on exchange has regretted not taking the same opportunity and is so jealous of people that have. So, if there is one thing I hope you take out of this article it’s this: University Exchange – do it. Don’t just think about it. Don’t hesitate. Just do it! Wherever or whenever it is you want to go, it’ll be the best decision you’ll ever make.