Luna Park, Melbourne

After nearly a week in Sydney with my fellow TEAN-mates, I was thoroughly satisfied from all of the orientation activities we were lucky enough to take part in. Just to name a few, I can now proudly say that I pet kangaroos and a koala, successfully scaled the Sydney Harbor Bridge, ate a classy lunch with the Sydney Opera House in full view, and toasted to some new friendships on the final cruise in Sydney Harbor. Although bittersweet, when it came time for us to disperse to our respective cities, I was ready for my next adventure—Melbourne.

Sydney Harbour
Teams #1 and #2 from the TEAN Orientation Amazing Race – enjoying lunch by the Sydney Harbour – all in the name of friendly competition!

Cajun fries. Sushi. Nasi Lemak. Kebabs. Bubble Tea. Burgers. Snags? (That’s Aussie slag for hot dogs, by the way). You name it, and Melbourne’s definitely got it.

Korean food, Melbourne
This Korean dessert dish was called “Herbal Jelly” and I had to try it with pearls, red bean, and taro!

What immediately caught my eye once I got situated in this eclectic city was that Melbourne is filled with distinctly flavorful suburbs; there’s “Little Italy” Carlton, the high-fashion Central Business District in the heart of the city—think New York City or Los Angeles, “hipster-ville” Fitzroy, spacious bayside Docklands, and countless other sections of Melbourne that still leave room for exploration! Walking down Lygon Street smelling the freshly-cooked pizza and the aromas of boiled oyster linguini, I felt like I was almost in Italy just hearing the slaps on the backs or boisterous banter between shopkeepers and local patrons in Italian.

State Library
This is an aerial view of the Victoria State Library—free for public use. I can’t wait to start studying in this gorgeous place!

Another interesting observation was that no matter the suburb I happened to pass through, one moment I might be staring at a sleek silver skyscraper, but a couple steps later, an antique Gothic church-like building would come into view. Not only were the neighborhoods distinct, but the architecture and food were too?! Oh Melbourne, you keep me on my toes (and I like it!). One of my personal dares this semester is to grow exponentially in my last year of undergrad; I have already come to the conclusion that Melbourne, with its assortment of personalities and people, was the best pick for me.

Melbourne laneway
I forgot which alleyway this was in, there are just too many to keep track of, but when I took this picture, I was lucky enough to see a graffiti artist in action!

Just as humans crave an unfamiliar challenge (like studying abroad halfway around the world), we also seek the comforts of stability and pattern. As much as I enjoyed the refreshing discoveries that came with nighttime exploring the graffiti-laden alleys of the CBD or meeting a diverse bunch of RMIT’s incoming international students also here to study abroad, I am beyond thrilled to start the semester off right and to create closer connections through the people I cross paths with.

Jodi Huang is a student at the University of California, San Diego and a TEAN Featured Blogger. Jodi is currently studying abroad with TEAN in Melbourne, Australia.