Moving to a new city to study can be pretty overwhelming, especially if it means leaving or being really far away from your family and community. But there’s an Indigenous student community and Murrup Barak staff here at The University of Melbourne to support you to make the move and have an awesome first year!

We’ve collected some tips from current Indigenous students on what to do before you get here, tips for your first year at Uni and strategies for managing homesickness.

Before you get here:

  • Figure out your accommodation early! Remember applications for colleges close in early October before offers are released. Here’s the application form.
  • We’ve also got a how-to guide.
  • Contact Murrup Barak if you need help with figuring out where to live.
  • Relocating can be tough, but it will be easier if you are prepared. Here’s a good checklist for packing:  Be aware that rooms in colleges and share houses can be quite small with limited storage.
  • Get familiar with the area you will be living in and The University. If you are travelling to Melbourne, you can book an appointment with a Murrup Barak student Outreach Officer to meet the staff here, have a tour of the Centre and the Campus.
  • Download some apps: Lost on Campus is a useful app to help work out your way around The University, and Tram Tracker can help you work out public transport in Melbourne.

When you start:

  • Attend the Murrup Barak Transition in Camp. Just before O-week at the University of Melbourne in February, all commencing Indigenous undergraduate students are invited to the three day Murrup Barak Transition in Camp. During the camp, you'll get to know the other commencing Indigenous students and the Murrup Barak staff. You'll also get to spend some time figuring out the campus and your classes. There's no need to apply for the camp, the Student Success Team will contact you after you've been offered a place at the University and let you know the details.
  • Apply for ITAS. All Indigenous students enrolled at the University of Melbourne can apply for the ITAS Academic Excellence Program. It’s a valuable resource, and you should use it! Apply.
  • Connect with the student community. Mururp Barak holds a weekly lunch for all Indigenous students and staff, and group events during the year. There are opportunities to become a Murrup Barak student ambassador, work on the Student Magazine Under Bunjil or attend social events hosted by the Student Union Indigenous department during the year.

Managing Homesickness

  • It’s normal to find it difficult being far away from home. We have students here from all over Australia at The University and homesickness is something a lot of students struggle with. These feelings can be particularly strong during cold Melbourne winters if you are from somewhere warmer. It’s important to find strategies that can help you manage homesickness.
  • Make an appointment with a Murrup Student Success Advisor to talk about ways to manage your homesickness.
  • Talk to other students who’ve moved away from home: chances are they’ve had similar experiences.
  • If you can go home during breaks, definitely do it. Especially in your first year, a whole semester is a long time to be away from home.
  • Make your room feel like comfortable: put up photos, posters or other things that remind you of home.
  • Apply for scholarships and bursaries.  All newly enrolled Indigenous students are automatically considered for Access Melbourne Scholarships. There are also scholarships and bursaries available at different times during the year.
  • Try to exercise or play a sport, it's important to stay healthy, and exercise is a good form of stress relief. Students are eligible for discounted gym memberships, and there are mixed lunchtime sports and National Indigenous Tertiary Education Student Games which are good ways to socialise and stay active.
  • Reach out and don't be afraid to ask questions or ask for help if you need it at any stage. The Murrup Barak Student Success Officers are here to support all Indigenous students to navigate The University. Remember it’s best to ask for help early before things get overwhelming!

Always remember that Indigenous students are also eligible for special entry into their chosen course, even if their ATAR falls below the clearly-in rank. Find out more about eligibility and other benefits such as scholarships, bursaries and guarantees on the Access Melbourne website.

Related Stories