The Student Survival Guide to Melbourne

No doubt you will quickly settle into Melbourne life but to make it even easier for students balancing work and study on a tight budget, we’ve put together this handy survival guide.

Melbourne was named the World’s Most Liveable City for seven consecutive years and was just recently voted the third best student city in the world. It is the City of Literature within UNESCO’s Create Cities Network. It’s the home of Australia’s very first espresso machine, which is why the city’s café culture is so exceptional. Melbourne is also home to world-class universities, innovative galleries and eye-catching street art, restaurants and cocktail bars on every corner, and trams you can ride for free around the city all night.

Making the most of student life.

When it comes to great study spaces, you’re spoiled for choice in Melbourne. You can choose a quiet desk in the library on campus or a spot in a bustling public space where the Wi-Fi is free and coffee is always at hand. Or you can make the most of the many communal study spaces available at Scape with more reliable, superfast and unlimited Wi-Fi. But for an atmosphere that truly inspires studiousness, you can’t go past the State Library of Victoria’s La Trobe Reading Room with its grand octagonal dome.

Universities across Australia have an excellent program set up that allows students to borrow from each other’s libraries. By signing up for a CAVAL card, you can access resources from all the participating libraries, including RMIT, The University of Melbourne and Monash University.

Have a browse through your university’s website to discover a world of resources outside academia – careers and job-hunting tips, social clubs where you can discover a new hobby and make new friends, sporting facilities to keep you active in between study sessions, art shows, prayer rooms, health and counselling services…the list goes on!

For even more handy resources, check out StudyMelbourne. It’s jam-packed with information to help international students settle into life in Melbourne.

Cutting back on costs.

Always carry your student card around town because savings can be found in unexpected places. If you’re unsure just flash your best smile and ask, “Do you offer student discounts?”

UNiDAYS is an excellent resource for discounts on everything from food to cosmetics to electronics, while Student Edge is filled with tips and insights for student finances. Applying for an International Student Identity Card is a great idea too because it will help you save all around the world!

Trawling through Student VIP and second-hand bookshops can save you a lot of money when it’s time to buy textbooks, while stores like Deans Art offer discounts for otherwise pricey art and design supplies.

With its thriving foodie culture, Melbourne is a great place to eat, drink and be merry – and thankfully it’s pretty easy to do that on a budget! Check out The Happiest Hour to discover food and drink specials across the city. Lentil as Anything offers delicious food at pay-as-you-feel rates while Crossways will feed you as much as you can fit in for less than ten bucks! You can save even more by stocking up on ingredients at one of Melbourne’s fresh food markets so you can cook up a storm in one of Scape’s communal kitchens or prepare a quick meal in your private kitchenette.

While you’re exploring the city or rushing from one class to another, look after the planet and your own pocket by using a reusable coffee cup (many cafes will charge you less if you bring your own cup) and water bottle (there are refilling stations all over the city so you have no excuse to keep buying plastic). It’s also a good idea to invest in a nifty lunchbox so you can resist buying unhealthy takeaways all the time.

Exploring all the city has to offer.

Make time between lectures, tutorials and study sessions to explore the rich cultural landscape of Melbourne. There’s always something going on here!

Scape is conveniently located in the heart of the city in the Free Tram Zone so you can get around easily at no cost! But to explore the rest of Melbourne using public transport, invest in a MyKi. You can travel much cheaper by applying for a student MyKi or an iUSEpass.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a good time in Melbourne. You can still pack your calendar with events on a frugal student budget. The Melbourne MuseumNational Gallery of VictoriaImmigration MuseumWheeler Centre and State Library of Victoria are all located within walking distance from Scape Swanston and offer free cultural events, while the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra puts on beautiful concerts for free at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl every summer.

On sunny afternoons there’s nothing better than exploring the Abbotsford Convent or enjoying a lazy picnic at the Carlton Gardens as ducklings waddle past and possums scuttle about. But on a cold winter night, get cosy in one of Scape’s cinema rooms or enjoy super cheap tickets at Cinema Nova every Monday night.