Kaitlyn Mak, 2012-13 at University of Melbourne


There are generally three types of accommodations in Melbourne: residential colleges, private halls and housings, all have their advantages and are popular among the students.

Residential colleges

Residential colleges are part of/run by University of Melbourne and consist of 11 different halls; all vary in size and location, most of which located in an arc around the cricket oval at the northern edge of the campus, known as College Crescent. They are pretty much in the campus and generally are only 5-15 minutes of walking distance from classes depending on where your class takes place. The furthest college, Whitney College, is also only 15 minutes walking distance from Parkville campus.

Residential Colleges are the only type of accommodation in Melbourne that offers meal plan (catered). They offer three meals per day, with take-away lunch available if you are busy during lunchtime.

There are also tutors in each college that can offer academic help and guidance. Depending on the subjects you do, it may be possible to have tutorials running once every week that you have to attend if it is offered in your college, or optional if it is from other colleges.

College life is more structured and you are expected to participate in certain activities such as Halls (dinner which everyone has to wear gowns and eat together). There are also other activities and events such as balls, annul cruises, sports and intercollegiate events that happen throughout the year. As you are living with the others it is easy to make friends, enjoy different activities without worrying about other problems such as bills and food, as well as getting help for your study.

The only down side would be the price: residential colleges are probably the most expensive type of accommodation and can cost around AUD$552 to 712 (£312 to 402) per week, but most people genuinely enjoy college life and it is definitely a unique experience.

Tip: Take a careful look at the internet limit of the different college as it varies significantly. Although with the colleges that are located in the College Crescent it is possible to connect to the Unimelb wifi system but it is not guaranteed. I believe that Whitley College is the only college that offers unlimited access.

Further information on the residential colleges can be found online.

Private Halls and Housings

There are different types of accommodation and housing available in Melbourne. Most people stay in student apartments such as Unilodges and RMIT village, which provide accommodation in various locations within the city. It is also possible to find private housing and studios close to the university: studio apartments close to the Parkville campus generally cost around $270 (£150) per week, while sharing housing are generally cheaper than studios.

Most courses are based in the main campus (Parkville) and therefore it would be very convenient to live in the surrounding area. There are a lot of students living in Caltron and Parkville, which is close to the university, and also just a short walk or a short tram ride from the city. However, tram rides are quite expensive it might be worth it to get your own bike, which is a very popular option among students. As the campus is only just around 20-30 minutes’ walk from the city centre, many students also find it convenient to live in city centre, though the rent would be higher.

Further information on accommodation can be found online and you can book by following this link.

Tip: You can book a free airport pick-up upon your arrival to Melbourne from the university website, helpful when it is your first time in Melbourne with loads of luggage with you for the semester.

Tip: Although international students can not apply for a student myki (equivilent to our oyster card), Exchange students can actually apply for one; remember to do so as it saves you a lot of money on tram and train rides!

Important things to consider when choosing your accommodation:

  • Price range (residential colleges are quite expensive)
  •  Location
  •  Distance to the nearest tram stop
  •  Catered/self-catered
  • Internet (internet can be quite expensive in Melbourne)
  •  Your lifestyle (If you prefer spending time on your own or if you enjoy time hangout with others)



Modules are referred to as “subjects” in University of Melbourne. You will need to take four subjects each semester; students in University of Melbourne normally would need to choose three subjects in their own discipline and one “breath” subject, which is a subject that is outside of their course. As an exchange student this may not be necessarily but they do offer interesting subjects such as wines of the world and marine science. It allows you to learn things that are different from what you are studying, but it is important to consult with your study abroad advisor on your subject choices before you choose anything that is completely different.

Choosing subjects

Subjects are considered in “levels” while normally level one is equivalent to year one subjects and level two as year two. Although that means as a year two student we should take level two subjects, many of the subjects in UniMelb have prerequisites that you will have to meet, usually the level one core subject of the course which the level two subject is following up on. If you are staying in UniMelb for the whole year, it may be useful to take some core level one subjects in the first semester that leads to the level two subjects of your choice in the second semester. If you are studying here for one semester only, subject coordinators usually would be happy to include you in their subjects if you explain your situation to them.

Another problem you would face when choosing subjects is the time it is offered. As their academic year is different than ours, you may find some of the subjects you want to take in semester 2 (our first semester), require prerequisites subjects that are offered in semester 1. Many level core level one subjects are offered in both semesters. It is very important to structure your timetable carefully so that you can study the subjects you prefer. Short-term subjects are offered in February and July which is outside of the two official semester; it is therefore important to check the commence date of the subjects when choosing.

Each subject would normally consist of 2-3 hours of lectures and 2-3 hours of tutorials each week. With the large amount of contact hours clashes are inevitable; you can check the timetable of any subject on the handbook website. Recordings of each lecture are available online so that you will be able to listen to them online even if your lecture or tutorial time clashes. However, do not let this be your excuse to skip all the lectures! Students generally absorb knowledge quicker when they are physically there and lecturers in UniMelb are very friendly, which makes lectures to be great opportunities to interact with the lecturers.

Tip: Although lecture times are fixed most of the tutorials have time slots which you can choose from. Take note of when the date time slot selection is open so that you can choose the best time that suits you. It is possible to pack all the tutorials in a day or two and have a few days off every week! You can also sit in on any lectures and change your study plan easily on the first week to have a taste of the subject and find the ones you want to do.


Assessment is usually conducted by a combination of exams, practicals, or written assignments. Different subjects would have very different structure of assessment. Depending on the subject you are taking, you may get mid-semester exams, exams or no exams at all. Assessments can range from weekly online quizzes, to fieldwork report that is worth 70% of the subject. You can check the structure of assessment in the handbook website.

Tip: Hard copies are typically required for written assessments so make sure you know where the pigeon trays of the department are before the submission date to avoid any last minute panicking as the campus is quite big!

Academic help

At the University of Melbourne, lecturers are generally friendly and it is common to discuss your academics with your lecturer or tutor. There are no personal tutors; therefore you would typically discuss any academic matters relating to your courses with the relevant lecturer or tutor. Apart from their office hours, it is also common to communicate with the lecturers and tutors via emails, and they tend to reply quickly.

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