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Study abroad in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, or Sydney?

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Study abroad in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, or Sydney?

1. Posted by bmexman (Budding Member 2 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

This is an "update" on a thread I posted a month ago. This year, there are more study abroad options that fit my preference.

Hi! I'm a 19-year-old male college student in the USA. I attend UC Riverside, and I plan to study abroad next year in Australia, barring any cost issues, during spring semester 2010 (fall in Australia: Feb-July). I will be studying abroad through the University of California's Education Abroad Program. The only decision I have to make at this point is where in Australia to study. All the universities are located in great locations in each city, and they are all excellent academically. Also, I've found each city has good public transit. I'm trying to decide whether to study in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, or Sydney.

I'm Hispanic, but racism is not a concern of mine.

The pros and cons I've found so far:

If I go to Brisbane, I'll be at the University of Queensland.
Pros: Subtropical climate, close to the Gold Coast, lots of recreational opportunities in Brisbane/Gold Coast, some cultural/ethnic diversity.
Cons: Humidity might get old (SoCal doesn't have much of it), not as ethnically diverse

If I go to Melbourne, I'll be at the University of Melbourne.
Pros: Culturally/ethnically diverse, tons of cultural attractions, best public transit system
Cons: Cold and rainy, no good beaches

If I go to Perth, I'll be at the University of Western Australia.
Pros: Beautiful city, familiar Mediterranean climate, lots of good beaches and parks, some good cultural attractions, some cultural/ethnic diversity
Cons: Isolated; I won't get to see much of the rest of the country, cross-country airfare adds significantly to expenses, not as diverse as Sydney/Melbourne

If I go to Sydney, I'll be at the University of New South Wales.
Pros: It's Sydney. Enough said....ok maybe not...Beautiful city, great beaches, dynamic big city, good enough climate, lots to do, lots of diversity.
Cons: I feel like if I go to Sydney, I'll be "missing out" on the rest of Australia. The EAP orientation is in Sydney, so I'll be there for a few days even if I go to Brisbane, Melbourne, or Perth.

The following are pluses for any Australian city:

Agreeable climate: I've lived in Southern California my whole life, so I need a good climate to adapt to. Highs should be between 65-90 degrees F. Nothing significantly higher/lower, especially for weeks/months at a time.
Big-city nightlife (clubs, bars) and culture (especially museums, zoos, concerts, comedy scene)
Cultural/ethnic diversity
Easily accessible outdoor activities (especially hiking, national parks)
Gay-friendly (I'm a gay man so this matters: not too much into the scene at this point but a scene is a plus)
Good public transit, especially to the city center, beaches, and shopping centers
Nice beaches and city parks
Tons of shopping

Any input is greatly appreciated, especially from people who live in these cities and/or attended these universities!

2. Posted by mojorob (Moderator 1047 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Quoting bmexman

This is an "update" on a thread I posted a month ago. This year, there are more study abroad options that fit my preference.

3. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5174 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Sydney for sure. Brisbane is an extremely boring city, the gold coast beaches aren't that accessible when you're staying in the city (Sydney's Coogee and Bondi beaches are right there, and if you want a more extensive beach, Manly by ferry is still easier than gold coast by train and bus), and the humidity during February and March is plain horrible. Everything I said about Perth and Melbourne before holds. I still really like Melbourne, and it's not that cold or rainy - but yeah, given the importance of beaches and climate, Sydney wins hands down.
Sydney also has much better nightlife and culture than either Perth or Brisbane.

Sydney also makes a better base to explore the rest of Australia than almost anywhere. More flights leave from and to Sydney than anywhere else, and you can reach either Melbourne or Brisbane in a day (or night) by train.

4. Posted by dr.pepper (Travel Guru 316 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Just to pipe in on behalf of Melbourne... You can expect hot weather (over 35C/100F) in February, and there's still some sunny days in March and April. But yes, after that, it does get cold and wet, and certainly not a great time to enjoy the beach.


5. Posted by nocturnes (Budding Member 2 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I'm currently studying in Melbourne.. I was like you as well previously.. unsure which city to pick.. Brissy is good but I don't like the tropical climate.. sydney is too crowded and boring for me.. nothing to do over there.. i fell in love with melbourne when i visited here for holidays.. listed down the pros of melbourne.. hope this helps..

4 weathers in a day.. on a typical day, you can get windy in the morning, sunny in the noon cloudy in the evening n rainy at night.. winter is depressing as it's cold and wet.. autumn and spring is extremely windy.. summer is dry and hot..

plenty of international students and melting pot of culture.. there are 1 million population in melbourne... plenty of good restaurants everywhere.. you can get greek, italian, thai, western, mexican, chinese etc easily right at your doorstep..

city & transport
you won't get lost in the city as it's a square area and the street names are easy to remember.. transportation wise, the metcard(travel card) can be used for trams, buses and trains..

shopping, beaches and nightlife
plenty of shopping outlets available ranging from high fashion like gucci to factory outlets.. easily accessible by public transport.. there are a few beaches in melbourne that is extremely popular - st kilda, port melbourne, williamstown and brighton which is only like 15 mins by tram from the city.. you can also visit great ocean road which is popular for it's surfing events.. it's about 3-4 hours drive from melbourne though.. as for bars and pubs, tonz of those everywhere around the city and suburbs.. there are various sporting event happening like every month in melbourne.. for example australia open (tennis) in january and formula 1 (car racing) in march and recently concluded melbourne cup (horse racing) last week.. there are also parks and river right in the heart of the city..

[ Edit: Edited on Nov 12, 2008, at 4:55 AM by nocturnes ]