Get to know Melbourne like a local when you’re studying abroad
Melbourne has a youthful, creative spirit, and is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. The city is bursting with energy and fun, with streets painted in art, festivals filling the summer calendar, and people hanging out in cool coffee shops sipping their flat white. Get to know Melbourne’s local culture for yourself when you’re in the city as a student at RMIT University.
Melbourne is the coffee capital of Australia, and you don’t have to go far to find a cool, independent coffee bar. In fact, Melbourne has more cafés per person than any other city in the world.
Coffee shops here take their coffee seriously, with baristas becoming local celebrities, and brewing methods being a hot topic of conversation. There’s pour-over, cold brew, espresso- based, and plenty of milk types covering every dietary need and taste preference.
Sustainability and ethically sourced beans are also a priority for many coffee shops in the city. A short walk from the RMIT campus is Seven Seeds on Berkeley Street. It prides itself on its transparency, telling customers how and where the coffee comes from and how much producers are paid. The coffee shop is a large, cool warehouse with plenty of space to hang out with friends.
Melbourne has a worldwide reputation for its vibrant and often political street art murals, stencils and graffiti. Since the 1990s, the city’s laneways and alleyways have been an ever-changing canvas for artists who create their works, with the permission of the building owners and local government.
Take a walk down Hosier Lane to see its brightly painted street furniture. AC/DC Lane is full of images of rock musicians, and Blender Lane has unique large art pieces and a regular outdoor art market in the summer. A Melbourne street art tour is a great way to see the current artworks, and there are plenty of coffee shops in the vicinity where you can grab a window seat view.
While most cities, like Sydney, dismantled their tram network to make way for the automobile, Melbourne kept its trams, and they’ve remained an important part of city life for Melburnians. In fact, Melbourne has a 155-mile tram network, making it the largest in the world. Plus, rides downtown are free!
They’ve become a symbol of the city, with colorful art trams, slick E-Class trams, and a few of the rattly heritage W trams. Become a regular tram rider when you’re a student in the city and if you want to find out more about the history, visit the Melbourne Tram Museum at the former Hawthorn Tram Depot.
Melbourne is a sports-mad city. There’s the annual Australian Open tennis competition, over a thousand local cricket clubs, Australian Rules Football (AFL), the Melbourne Cup and the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park. It's worth watching an AFL game at least once when you’re in the city. You may not understand all the rules, but it’s definitely a very Melbourne thing to do.
RMIT University has loads of sports clubs and state-of-the-art facilities for students of all abilities too.