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Imme during her time in Melbourne

Abroad Internships’ own Imme studied in England for a year in 2014/2015 and met The Friends Of Her Life there. It’s her goal to visit them all in their home countries. At this moment, she’s in Australia.

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Imme in Melbourne: “There’s no vacationy atmosphere around here.”

I could probably write down a hundred stories about Australia, and maybe I will. Today, I’ll start with one. It’s an ode to one of my favourite places: Melbourne.

Melbourne

I don’t know whether I love Melbourne so much because I just do well in this city, or because my favourite human lives here, or both. Melbourne is the cultural centre of Australia – the place that’s most like Europe, but includes screaming cockatoos and an indescribable scent that makes me think of summer. You could just step into any café and get the most fantastic lunch of your life. Like you’re in the Masterchef kitchen: flowers on your food.

What I like about Melbourne, is that’s is a pretty outstretched city – nothing we’re used to in the Netherlands. It consists of suburbs, which all have their own size and character. Real city centres, like we have ‘em in the Netherlands, don’t exist here. There’s the Central Business District (CBD), but if you want to feel the true Melbourne vibe you’d do better to explore a suburb. There, you’ll find endless parks with plants you’ve never seen before, pale coloured shops and cafés, hidden murals and heaps of cool buildings and strange architecture. I long for an Australian house with a lil patio that has a kitten sleeping on it!

Why I’m here

When I studied in the UK, I had two roomies: one from Canada and one from Australia. The three of us, we were like a little family: we cooked together and watched series. Bought each other chocolate when someone was feeling homesick. An ugly, brightly coloured old house with the most beautiful view on Bath. My Aussie girl and I often drank coffee on our balcony, in the sun, and looked out over the city. Pondering about our future plans.

And then, all of a sudden, The Future was there. My brother studied in Australia for a semester, so I thought: why not, and bought a ticket. My prejudices about the country were big. There’d probably only live super tan, sporty people who wouldn’t understand my Dutch sarcasm. And what would I do with all that beach? Australia proved to be heaven, and Melbourne, where my friend lives, my second home.

Now she’s getting married – and I’m back. Being in the city for the second time makes everything different. Where, last time I was here, I didn’t completely how the immense Melbourne worked, I now easily take the train and tram on my own. I recognize streets and names and parks and even have my favourite areas already (the north). There’s negative sides to it too: two months in Australia are terrifying for your wallet. Those beautiful lunches I can suddenly no longer eat on a daily basis and going for a breakfast that’s cheaper than 10 euros is not really a thing here.

A city to live in

Still, I find it incredible that I’m living the daily life of my friend here. Living in another city gives a person so many insights, and I think, after a period of living abroad, you become super adaptable. I might not feel at home a 100% in the Netherlands, but I do in many, extra places in the world!

When it comes to Australia, people often think about a big adventure, and sure, that could be true, but Melbourne is a place to live in. The city doesn’t easily surrender itself to newcomers and you’ll have to work hard to get to know her. There’s no vacationy atmosphere here. It’s not like in London, for example, where there’s a high amount of things and events happening in an incredibly fast pace and where you sometimes walk the streets with hundreds. Nah, Melbourne is chill. There are many, many things to do, the temperature is pleasant, people are lovely and hip, the coffee is to die for and there’s no real hurry.

I’ll be good here. No worries.