Study Abroad - Australia

Australia: Looking Back

Posted on Wed, Aug 12, 2015 @ 02:51 PM

by Nicole Porras

Nicole_LIMWith about three weeks left in Australia, I can’t help but begin to reminisce. I am SO GLAD that I chose to come here. I have learned so much about myself and I have so much appreciation for Australia and the wonderful places I have visited.

I am grateful for the friends I came here with, and the new friends that I made while living here. If you are reading this and are thinking about studying in Australia, just know that this experience is what you make of it.

I have found so much happiness here and I truly believe that it is because I lived every day the way I wanted to. Remember that what makes YOU happy might not necessarily make someone else happy, but this adventure is about YOU, so do whatever it is your heart is set on doing.


The greatest thing that I will take with me from Australia is this easy-going attitude about life. Not to stress the little things and just enjoy every moment. To have fun and be in the moment. I liked that even people my age aren’t glued to their phones when going out. Australians care so much about being in the moment, and enjoying the company of friends.

Studying abroad in Australia has given me the opportunity to explore natural beauty, and be a bit more adventurous. I would also like to let everyone know that Australia is not full of sharks and deadly spiders. Well…it sort of is, but they’re not EVERYWHERE like people make it seem (or at least how people made it seem to me before I came).

Most of the really dangerous and big spiders are in the country or outback. I have not seen one spider throughout my entire time here in Australia (*knocks on wood*), and I have been in Melbourne, Sydney, Cairns and a small town called Corowa. I have also not encountered any sharks, but I have seen some dolphins (from a distance) and a couple of jellyfish (on the sand).

Australia has been absolutely amazing so far and as much as I miss my family and friends at home, it is going to be so hard to leave this beautiful place. I have truly had the time of my life, and all I can say is that I am grateful and incredibly happy. Australia will always have a special place in my heart.

Tags: study abroad, Australia, RMIT, Melbourne, LIM College student

Aussie Food Adventures

Posted on Wed, Aug 12, 2015 @ 02:15 PM

by Alyxis Flagg

To start off, I am a HUGE lover of food! I love to go out to eat and discover trendy restaurants. So, while studying abroad at RMIT I made sure to do just that.

Melbourne is a very diverse city and are restaurants with all different types of cuisines. There is a large population of Asian immigrants living in Australia, which is great because there are tons of Asian restaurants there! From ramen, dumplings, Japanese, Thai, to Chinese restaurants, they’ve got it all.

Australian_MexicanThey even have a Chinatown as well where you can get some great food that’s pretty cheap as well! My friends and I love to get dumplings after class at this place in Chinatown. Oh yeah…and the sushi here is amazing! It typically isn’t cut into individual rolls, so it is very easy to eat and walk!

Of course we had to find a place similar to Chipotle since my LIM friends were having withdrawal. We tried out a few fast food Mexican restaurants and settled on Mad Mex being the best! I highly recommend their nachos with shredded beef.

Staying on the subject of fast food, McDonald’s here is called Macca’s and Burger King is Hungry Jacks. The food and the quality is pretty much the same as America, so I try to avoid the two.

Belles_Hot_ChickSome of my recent food adventures includes Belle’s Hot Chick, which was amazing. It’s a fried chicken restaurant in Fitzroy, and it was very trendy. The food? Absolutely wonderful! (Let’s just say I’ve been there more than once!) 

8_bitAnother food trip was to Footscray to find 8Bit, which is also this really good burger restaurant. It was like shake shack but it’s not a chain. The bacon barbeque burger and beer-battered onion rings and loaded fries are to die for! Let’s just say that I’ve made that adventure to Footscray more than once as well.

Axel_Coffee_RoastersNow on to brunch! There are tons of cute coffee shops that have amazing brunches throughout the city. One restaurant in particular was Axel Coffee Roasters in Hawthorn. There I ordered a banana caramel waffle with popcorn on it! And yes, it was amazing!

There are so many good restaurants in Melbourne with so many different types of cuisines, I could literally go on for days about all my food adventures! Well, I hope I didn’t make you guys too hungry!

Tags: study abroad, restaurants, RMIT, Melbourne, LIM College student

Weekend in Sydney!

Posted on Wed, Aug 05, 2015 @ 03:04 PM

by Nicole Porras

Dusk_Sydney_Opera_House1While Melbourne with its art and culture is one of the coolest cities I have ever been to, there is something that felt so…RIGHT about Sydney.

It’s CBD (Central Business District), reminded me so much of NYC, and I instantly fell in love with its modernity and scenic oceanside views.

It actually turns out that I have family living there that I have never met before. My dad has a cousin who moved to Sydney a long time ago and I was never able to meet her. However, I was lucky enough to be in contact with her right before I visited Sydney and she invited me into her home. 

Her family showed me and my friends so many wonderful places like the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and so many beaches including Bondi, Manly, Bronte and more. There was so much to see in Sydney and I had so much fun exploring the city and getting to know family I had never met before. 


I think the thing that I was so shocked (and partially jealous) of, was that my cousin and her family had beautiful, thick Australian accents. It was amazing to hear about how they grew up feeding possums in Sydney parks (because they are as common as squirrels), watching footy games, and eating meat pies, and eventually as they got older finding their love for beer, travel, and adventure. They are total Aussie’s! 

I feel like Sydney is definitely a place that I have to visit again sometime in the future. This city quickly made me feel at home and I feel so lucky to get to know my family members who were so welcoming and kind to me and my friends. I could definitely see why my dad’s cousin chose to live in Sydney. It is a place full of modern sights, and although it is a little more fast-paced than Melbourne, it is still a very relaxed and an enjoyable place to live.

Alyxis came along with me on the trip. 

Tags: study abroad, RMIT, Sydney, Melbourne, LIM College student, Sydney Opera House

The Melbourne Fashion Scene!

Posted on Wed, Aug 05, 2015 @ 02:30 PM

by Alyxis Flagg


Studying at RMIT, sometimes I feel extremely out of place when it comes to the Melbourne fashion scene. 

I typically think it’s pretty cold outside and will have on sweater and a jacket and then people will be wearing shorts and sandals. 

Yes, Melbourne typically has four seasons in a day so that may the reason. Overall, it’s just pretty difficult to decide what to wear on a daily basis. It might be pouring and then five minutes later it’s warm and sunny outside.

Besides the weather confusion, at Uni, students tend to dress up. Nobody shows up to class in their pajamas or even in sweatpants. I suppose that it’s not socially acceptable, which I guess is pretty similar at LIM.


That being said, after being here for a while, of course, I wanted to enhance my wardrobe with some stylish Aussie clothes, but sadly I wasn’t so successful. Why? …Because CLOTHES ARE SO EXPENSIVE! The only stores that are relatively affordable are H&M and Uniqlo.

There are tons of trendy clothing stores, but the quality is not very good and the clothes are overpriced! In Fitzroy there are tons of great boutiques that have really cool unique brands, but I simply cannot afford them! There just aren’t any stores like Forever 21 where you don’t mind paying $10 or $20 for something that's trendy for only one season.

So, I tend to shop at “Op Shops,” along with the majority of other Uni students. “Op Shops” stand for Opportunity Shops, which are similar to thrift stores. They pretty much have everything there and are super cheap. One of my friends got a blazer for $4 the other day, and it looks really nice!

Don’t get me wrong. There are great stores, and tons of wonderful boutiques. But, personally, I would rather be able to afford food for the week!

Tags: study abroad, shopping, RMIT, Melbourne, LIM College student

My Roommate from Tassie

Posted on Thu, Jul 30, 2015 @ 12:50 PM

by Nicole Porras

Nicole_LaurenMy roommate, Lauren, is from the beautiful city of Hobart, Tasmania. (See photo below.) Although I have only seen her home on Google maps, I am looking forward to going to visit her home and explore Tasmania right after our final exams.

When I moved into RMIT Village I had an American roommate, also from New York. But lucky for me, I met Lauren, we quickly became friends and decided to move in together. I personally think that living with someone not from your home country is a great way to step out of your comfort zone and meet new people.

I highly recommend anyone staying at RMIT village in the future to request an Australian roommate because it is pretty common for them to pair study abroad and exchange students as roommates. But of course, if you're looking to make more American friends, that is fine too! It’s all about what you are comfortable with and what you want out of your Australian experience.

So… as I was saying, I am really excited about visiting Tasmania. We plan on going to scenic places such as Wineglass Bay, Russell Falls, the Bay of Fires and more. Tassie is filled with so much natural beauty and wilderness.

Nicole_Lauren_1Even more excitingly though, I am really looking forward to some of her families home cooked meals. She is always telling me how her dad grows his own herbs and vegetables in the garden, goes fishing for his own fish and even goes diving for his own clams for meals.

I find this so amazing. Who goes diving for their own clams?! I love that. I can only image how deliciously fresh and tasty their meals must be. I have seen some pictures of their dinners and it just makes my mouth water every time. I’m sure Tassie will be an adventure to remember!

And in more good news, Lauren is planning to study abroad in America next year and we are currently looking at schools for her to attend. A big, “YAY” to new friends, and exploring new places. (A photo of Hobart, Tasmania is below!)


Tags: study abroad, Australia, RMIT, LIM College student, roommate

Quick Trip to Sydney

Posted on Thu, Jul 30, 2015 @ 12:27 PM

by Alyxis Flaggs

Sydney_BeachThis weekend will be my first official trip outside of Victoria, aka the state. We got pretty cheap tickets to Sydney for the weekend so we are off to explore that lovely city.

Our flight left at the crack of dawn on Friday morning. I got back from Uni on Thursday and did some homework and then the next thing I knew it was already time to head to the airport. It was about an hour flight, but it felt forever…probably because I hadn’t slept the night before.

After we landed, we were off to Nicole’s cousin’s house. Her cousin, which she had never met, was gracious enough to allow four strangers stay in her house. She lived in Tempe, which was about 20 minutes outside of the city, which was great. We settled in and then we were off to explore.


Nicole’s cousin was kind enough to give us a tour of pretty much every beach. We went to Botany Bay, Marboura Cogee, Bronte and Bondi beach. It was absolutely breathtaking. We even saw a dolphin at Marboura. We definitely would not have been able to see all of those beaches without having a “tour guide”, which was completely free! I was super so excited to go to Bondi beach and take a picture with the famous lifeguards from the TV show. 

After all of that, we went to the Botanical Gardens to see the Opera House at sunset, which was absolutely magnificent. I of course had a photo-shoot there.

By now it was about time for dinner, so we headed back to Carmenia’s house (Nicole’s cousin), to have dinner on the table waiting for us! It was soooo nice to have a home cooked meal!


The next two days were jammed pack with exploring. We took a ferry to Manly Beach where we were able to get great views of the city from the water. We of course explored the city and walked around and we even went to Chinatown and saw and did tons more!

Although were there until Monday morning there was so much more I wanted to see. So I will definitely will be back to Sydney… especially since I prefer it to Melbourne, but don’t tell anyone!

Take a look at Nicole's blog post about our trip to Sydney.

Tags: study abroad, RMIT, Sydney, LIM College student

Visiting Kangaroos and Koalas

Posted on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 @ 01:34 PM

by Nicole Porras

Nicole_KangarooToday, we finally got to check off seeing kangaroos from our to-do list! Even better, we got to feed them!

We visited the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park and were able to get up close and personal with these beautiful creatures. As excited as we were to feed them, we were also very nervous to get close to them at first. We’ve all seen that YouTube video of a kangaroo boxing and kicking so we know how powerful they can be. However, these kangaroos were nice and gentle.

We had to walk into their habitat in the forest, hold our hands up with some food and hope that they wouldn't kick us. Luckily, none of us got kicked or hurt and it was a beautiful experience. There were some really large kangaroos and even some joeys and baby wallabies.


Australians have told us that kangaroos are as common as deer, and they have to be careful not to hit them while driving as they are known to run across the roads. They even have to shoo them away from their crops and farmland sometimes so that they don't mess them up. We don’t see any kangaroo’s running around where we live here in Melbourne, but that’s just because it’s very urban.

At the Moonlit Sanctuary we also saw some very adorable koala bears. Although we were allowed to touch their backs and feel their fur, we were not allowed to carry them. The woman who works at the sanctuary told us that it is a state law and that unfortunately, people are only allowed to carry koala’s in the state of Queensland. Although I wanted to give that cute koala a nice big hug, a picture was going to have to do for now.

Tags: study abroad, Australia, RMIT, LIM College student, kangaroos

Hangin' Loose

Posted on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 @ 01:07 PM

by Alyxis Flaggs

Hanging_LooseToday definitely was not an ordinary Friday! Surfing was on the agenda for this RMIT trip.

I was initially pretty calm but then everyone was asking if I was nervous. And of course then I became very nervous about drowning, sharks and embarrassing myself.

It was about a two hour drive to Angelsea Beach from Melbourne, which gave me plenty of time to relax before our adventurous day.

First, we went to a surf shop to meet the instructors and get our wet suits. Then we were off to the beach to catch some waves.

It was pretty weird how we had to change into our wet suits on the side of the road, but thank goodness it wasn’t a busy road. Now that we had on all of our gear we were one step closer into getting in the water.

We picked up our surfboards, which were surprisingly heavy and walked down the stairs to the beach. So now it was time to get ready to surf!

We started off by introducing ourselves to our three instructors, Lucas, Ry and Scott. Then it was on to the important stuff, like things we should avoid, such rip curls and rocks and what to do if there was an emergency. Now that we were aware of everything we should not do, we learned what we should do and how we should do it.

Surfing_ShotWe then did some yoga stretches to loosen up our muscles and were taught how to paddle and jump into a quick stance. We did this about three times and then we were finally into the water.

The tide was surprisingly strong that day, and it all seemed pretty difficult, especially for beginners. The instructors were really helpful and motivating, and it was so refreshing how they remembered everyone’s name!

After about 30 minutes I was exhausted but I was determined to catch a wave! After trying forever I finally stood up…but only for like five seconds, but it still counts!

My hair was completely ruined, and I’m pretty sure that I drank half of the ocean but it was completely worth it! To say that I learned how to surf in Australia is something worth bragging about!

Tags: study abroad, Australia, RMIT, LIM College student, Surfing

So you wanna live in Melbourne?

Posted on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 @ 03:06 PM

by Nicole Porras

Nicole_MelbourneMelbourne, Australia was named the world’s most livable city in the world and I can see why. I have already become so comfortable and familiar with this city and it has truly become my second home. But if you want to live in Melbourne there are some things you should know.

Melbourne main form of public transportation is a tram system. What’s important to know is that you need something called a “Myki” (similar to a Metrocard) to ride the tram if you are not in the free tram zone.

Unfortunately, RMIT Village is located one stop out of the free tram zone, so we villagers need a Myki to get into the city where our school is located, that is, if we don't feel like walking.

A Myki can be purchases at a local 7/11 store and, trust me, there is a 7/11 on almost every corner. However, even better advice is to wait until orientation when students are given transporation forms. Then, just pick up your concession (discounted) Myki from Melbourne's Central Station.

With a concession (discounted) Myki, not only does the card itself cost less, but each tram ride is also discounted. Melbourne also offers concession (discounted) prices at various places like zoos, museums and movie theaters.

Another important thing to know is that unless you have an international phone plan, you're going to have to buy a SIM card, or purchase a phone while you are here. I decided to get a SIM card to put into my iPhone. I simply popped into a Vodaphone shop, bought a SIM card, chose the amount of gigs that I wanted and just like that I had an Australian number. There are other carriers that my friends use such as Telstra or Yes, Optus.

I haven’t had any problems with my data or carrier so I think I made a good choice with Vodaphone. Another good thing to know is that if you choose to stay at RMIT Village and purchase the “Exchange Package” when choosing your room then you are given a certain amount of Wi-Fi that you can use each month. There is also free Wi-Fi in the study lounge here at RMIT Village. Oh, the glory of Free Wi-Fi!

Tags: study abroad, Australia, RMIT, Melbourne, LIM College student, public transportation

A Beach Day in Brighton

Posted on Thu, Jul 16, 2015 @ 03:52 PM

by Alyxis Flaggs

Brighton_BeachLately, I’ve been trying to “soak up all the sun” as possible these last few really hot days of summer before the weather changes. On Saturday we all decided to venture out to Brighton Beach to the iconic Bathing Boxes.

We woke up packed our lunch and had the esky (the Australian word for cooler) all packed with drinks and took the tram to the train station, and then took a train directly to the beach. It is so convenient how the trains go pretty much everywhere in Melbourne, which is great for exploring on the weekends.

When we get there I can smell the salt water and automatically think of summer vacations with my family. As we head over to the sand we find the perfect spot and set up for the day.

By that point it’s around 1:30 and it is blazing hot outside! (114 degrees to be exact.) I literally felt that I was melting, yet it was so beautiful. 


After laying out for a while and continuously going in the water attempting to cool down, we headed down the beach to go to the Bathing Boxes. 

The Bathing Boxes are like sheds on the beach but way fancier. There are 82 at Brighton and they are all pretty unique. Some people even rent them out and have lawn furniture in front of them and it is the perfect place to escape the sun for a few hours on a really hot day like today, or they are just used as decoration. Either way they’re pretty cool.

They're painted in all different colors and designs, and there was even one that resembled the Australian flag! Sadly, there were way too many people by that box I was not able to get a good picture, but it was really cool.

Tags: study abroad, Australia, Melbourne, Brighton Beach, LIM College student

Subscribe by Email