Cash cows or community members?

99% of the tenants of those purpose-built student apartment high-rises around Melbourne University are international students. Those apartments/bedrooms/bedsets/units/studios – whatever you called them – are pathetically small and expensive. Apart from the economic damage (mainly to international students), it is depriving the opportunities of local students living close to the campus and socially dividing Melbourne.

Today’s Age has a special coverage on this matter:

  • Foreign students living on edge of society
  • Foreign students live a sadly separate life
  • There’s small and then there’s small, says tenant
  • In addition, City of Melbourne is holding a Melbourne Conversation at the Melbourne Town Hall on 10th May 2007. I strongly recommend that you attend this event as the situation is becoming more imminent, it could affect any Melburnians.

    The Place of Students in Central Melbourne: Cash Cows or Community Members?
    Date: 10th May 2007
    Time: 6pm-8pm
    Venue: Supper Room, Melbourne Town Hall, Swanston St, Melbourne
    Free Entry: No Bookings necessary
    Refreshments will be served at conclusion of the event

    NB. By the way I am on The Age and I will be sharing in the Melbourne Conversation. I guarantee that you will absolutely be rewarded if you show up in the Melbourne Conversation – as you will see me!

    10 Comments so far

    1. xlynx (unregistered) on May 6th, 2007 @ 1:16 am

      I’m a little confused – who is forcing students to stay in inner city apartments?

      Move to a northern suburb, where $160 pw can fetch you a decent single bedroom flat (less if you rent privately or share) about 20 mins from Trinity / Unimelb.
      Transport will cost $13.30 pw if you’re eligible for concession.


    2. Janice (unregistered) on May 6th, 2007 @ 1:32 am

      hey spot on xlynx!

      no one forces us to live in the student apartments in the inner city. but the agent and trinity do not offer much choice on the ‘accommodation list’ and they always tend to recommend you some options over the others. and mind you, many students who enroll in trinity are under 18 which means they can’t rent their own apartment or share an apartment with anyone under 21. (i can’t remember the restrictions as i was older than 18, but they are pretty much the gists.)

      and while public transport will only cost 13.3 per week at concession fare, international students are not eligible!

      off the top of my head, there are so many more reasons why international students would choose these student apartment to stay when they first arrive. i could make another 3 A4-page-long post, but i don’t have time!


    3. dissembly (unregistered) on May 7th, 2007 @ 3:01 pm

      Re: “Move to a northern suburb, where $160 pw can fetch you a decent single bedroom flat (less if you rent privately or share) about 20 mins from Trinity / Unimelb.”

      Why would the average international student know such a thing?

      I mean, can you tell me the optimal place to rent in Vladivostok? And would you even bother researching it when you’re being guided by people you believe to be professional local experts?


    4. adrock2xander (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 2:07 am

      As Editor of RMIT student magazine Catalyst, I’ve been addressing the International Students plight using humour and spiced with witty desperation and rude intolerance for Australia’s treatment of ‘cash cows’.

      What really sickens me is how the media glorifies East Asian students to be the standard for all International Students who can’t speak English, struggle to make friends and are bullied by the uni staff. Bull fucking shit.

      I’m so there Janice. See you Thursday.


    5. Rachel (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 4:49 am

      I am a student from Canada who is thinking about coming to Melbourne University and I def want to experience Australian culture and meet Australian people. I have been looking for apts close to the school because public transportation is expensive and international students do not qualify for discounts. I was thinking of living off campus in Carlton or N. Melbourne but I do not want to be segregated with international students, as I want to experience an Aussie lifestyle while I am in Australia. Do you guys have any suggestions on where to stay that is somewhat authentic?


    6. Neil (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 5:14 pm

      Stay away from Unilodge, College Square, Arrow etc. Check out Melb University’s housing site. I believe you need a uni id to access it. Look for a shared house/apt. You CAN still be part of “evil international housing” and mix in with locals.


    7. Brett (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 7:25 pm

      North Melbourne would be fine (that’s where I am, about 20 mins walk from the uni), it’s a fairly diverse mix of people. Any suburb really would be just as “authentic” though, I think it’s just what Neil says — avoid the big student high-rises and instead share a flat or a house with some other students.


    8. Janice (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 10:07 pm

      @Rach, when you arrive Melbourne, you can go have a look at the accommodation board up in union house at Melbourne University. Lots of people advertised to share accommodation there. Another option is actually residential college where you can meet tons of students, both local and international. But it is very expensive. Location-wise some good suburbs would be Fitzroy, Parkville, Brunswick (depends on your ability to ride a bike or walk) since public transport is not an option to you either!

      @John, promise me you won’t bash me! I am just a poor student :P


    9. Rachel (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 3:26 am

      Thanks for the help everyone. I am moving with my boyfriend and I think we would like our own apt and we will be doing teacher’s college so I don’t think that I will do the res thing but the suburbs sound great. Thanks again!


    10. xlynx (unregistered) on May 14th, 2007 @ 4:40 am

      @Janice:
      I wasn’t aware international students aren’t elligable for transport concession, but $27 extra in transport compared to $200 extra in rent – point stands.

      @Neil:
      I dunno about North Melbourne – it seems to have an expensive side and a violent side – is there any sweet spot?
      I was thinking more like Brunswick.

      @Dissembly:
      Perhaps I live in a different world to you, because I never soley trust people who stand to commercially gain from giving me advice regardless of the outcome.
      Come to think of it, I never really do anything based on one single source of information.



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