Melbourne’s student spirit 

By Chelsea Cucinotta

Meet 22-year-old student Jane Lee, whose studies brought her all the way from Singapore to the Melbourne CBD back in 2015. 

Jane made the move when she was 19, and said “it was a no-brainer when the University of Melbourne accepted me for the Bachelor of Arts degree”.

Since studying history and criminology, Jane has made Melbourne her home-away-from-home, but said it did take her a while to adjust at first.

“I definitely missed my family, especially my puppy Cooper,” she said.

New friendships made the transition easier though, with university life offering Jane lots of opportunities to socialise.

“I’ve been really lucky to meet such friendly, generous people here and I think the friendships that I’ve made have helped me feel right at home,” she said.

Life in densely-populated Singapore was much more compact for Jane. But what her two homes have in common is their multiculturalism – something Jane values a lot.

“Culturally, Singapore’s diverse ethnic demographic mirrors Melbourne’s multicultural ethos and the embracing of different cultures is definitely something that is heart-warming to see,” she said.

“Tolerance and respect is what makes Melbourne such a great place to live and you can see that everywhere – from the protests on important topics (she was involved in climate change and same-sex marriage marches), to simple everyday interactions.”

Jane said what she loves most about living in the CBD however, was the convenience.

“Everything is literally at my doorstep, and I have access to fresh produce as I live minutes away from the Queen Victoria Market. I never have a boring weekend as there’s always something happening in the city, and there are so many options for public transport too,” Jane said. “Oh yes, and the amazing coffee culture cannot go unmentioned!”

When she is not studying or drinking coffee, Jane can be found reading. Since her move, she has joined several book clubs in Melbourne’s literary scene and was excited to attend her first Kurt Vonnegut book club meeting the other day, discussing Breakfast of Champions.

Jane plans to graduate from her studies in 2018 and hopes to then study honours.

“I dread thinking about the future – I think every undergraduate does. I guess we’ll see what else the future holds, but my partner is on his way to completing his PhD, so I’ll be staying in Melbourne for quite some time.”

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