Melbourne: a different, special and unique city – parting words from Brazil’s Rafael Barty Dextro.

Being an international student is not easy because there are many things to consider before starting such a brave journey. Some of the considerations are; where will I go? For how long? What course should I do? At which university?

In my case, I was not sure of my answers to these questions and being honest, Australia was not my first choice! I always wanted to go to Europe because their universities are centuries old and it would be lovely to visit all those different countries. However, destiny intervened and I changed my mind in the end, coming to Melbourne.

Now, 18 months after my arrival, I can positively say that it was the best decision I have ever made in my whole life.

Melbourne is the most liveable city in the world and once you are here you can easily understand why. It embraces many cultures in harmony, creating a friendly and respectful atmosphere for everyone. I have learned a lot with friends from countries that I would only dream to know. In addition, the education institutions across all of Victoria (of which Melbourne is the capital city) are ready to support their students both academically and professionally. I have further developed many skills related to my studying area with classes and an internship, which also contributed to enhancing my English skills.

If I could talk to myself when I first arrived I would say two things:

1. Do not be afraid to get involved with the local community

It is a natural instinct to avoid exposing ourselves to challenging situations, but these are the best! It is okay to have friends that talk your own language, but avoid them once in a while.  Talking with locals, attending sport events and volunteering helped me to develop my communication techniques in a way that no classroom would do. I only wish I could have started earlier, almost as soon as I arrived!


2. Take your time to explore.

Victoria has many wonderful places like the Great Ocean Road, the Grampians and Wilsons Promontory National Parks, Phillip Island and Mount Buller, just to name a few. With good planning a student can see them all without interrupting their academic responsibilities.


The time has come for me to return home, leaving Melbourne behind. However, I have just realized that I will never really leave it. I have made very good friends in here, learned a lot and lived some of the most extraordinary experiences of my life in here.

That is why Melbourne will always be in my mind and heart, because it is part of me now and I believe that this magical city do this to everybody: it gives us a little piece of itself that we can carry home with us, making us different, special and unique.

 Rafael Barty Dextro was part of the Science Without Borders program at Monash University.

Discussion — One Response

  • JTC @ Wholesale Cleaning Products 24 February, 2015 on 1:14 am

    Nice piece. I would even suggest watching local media, that’s how I’ve first picked up english (although now I often get told I sound American). Gathering friends in Melbourne is all about finding your niche, my circle of friends has grown massively when I started going to meet-ups with metal heads and all sorts of nerds that share a lot of similar interests 🙂