Living Life the ‘Melbourne Style’
If there is one thing about Melbourne that you are sure to get hooked on, it’s the lifestyle. Melbourne is an explorer’s dream! There are hidden gems in every nook and cranny of the city – cafes, vintage stores, beautiful parks, bars, street art and probably most importantly to Melbournians, great coffee! As an overseas student, you may be quick to learn that it’s all about the brunches here in Melbourne.
There is a new brunch place to try almost every week. And if I know anything about Indonesians, it’s that we love to eat! Your Instagram feed is sure to be filled with pictures of your meals and hash tags such as #foodie #foodporn.
You will also find that Melbournians have great style (in my opinion anyway). Your can finally dress for 4 seasons, not just wear a jumper for air-conditioned rooms – yes we have winters and autumns here. I must point out though, that the weather in Melbourne is famous for being unpredictable, and it is not unusual to experience 4 seasons in the one day. Six months here, and you’re likely to have become an expert at layering.
Although the stark difference between Melbourne and Indonesia can cause you to feel homesick at first, the fact that Melbournians are really friendly may make you feel more at home faster. I personally have traveled to a lot of places around the world, and I think that Australians are among the nicest people there are. In most Western countries, stepping into an elevator with a stranger inside is likely to warrant a small smile to show common courtesy. However, in Melbourne, you will find that the common courtesy with strangers in elevators often includes small talk, generally about the weather.
It may take a little getting used to, but once you learn to embrace the open and friendly nature of (most) Melbournians, you will fall in love with the city. In university / TAFE/ college, making friends will be easier if you dare to break out of your comfort zone – I can understand how intimidating it may feel to speak English to natural English speakers.
I know it is unusual in our Indonesian culture to be outspoken about our opinions, but don’t take it the wrong way if Australians are. That’s simply our culture – to confidently embrace who we are as individuals, and what we believe is right, and speak out when we feel those beliefs are being threatened. We simply say what we think and feel! You will see this at university / TAFE / college, you will see this even in their varied style sense.
If you treat the next couple of years as an adventure; as an opportunity to immerse yourself in a different culture, and experience a laid back (perhaps sometime even too relaxed) lifestyle made exciting by Melbourne’s rich selection of great food, coffee and art, you may find that although your values are still rooted in the Indonesian culture, the way you do life is ‘Melbourne style’, like me.
Photo provided by author.
Ruth was born in Jakarta, but her parents migrated to Australia when she was only 8 months old. Growing up, although Ruth was exposed to the Australian culture at school, her upbringing at home was still based on the Indonesian culture. Today, Ruth works with international student networks in Melbourne to assist overseas students in adjusting to the Australian culture.