Nothing ever really goes to plan does it?
Many people as well as myself have experienced the woes of a faltering plan. It might sound dramatic but the events that occurred were just that. Only a few people know of the real struggle that went into finding a place to live in Melbourne. I guess you could say we were unprepared and naive to think we could find accommodation so quickly, we assumed, since exactly that happened when we moved to Madrid last year. We spoke no Spanish, yet still found a beautiful apartment within 3 days. This was certainly not the case for Melbourne.
I was so excited to start my 5 month journey in Melbourne. I never thought I would have the chance to go to Australia, let alone to live and study there. Don’t get me wrong the first few days were amazing! The weather was beautiful, I loved being in a new environment, and I was right in the heart of the city. Not long after, we realised the differences in the house hunting process. From my experiences in the UK and Madrid, I am used to estate agents showing you around different places that you are interested in, as well as ones they think suit your criteria. But in Melbourne (CBD), they work on a first come first serve basis for housing applications, so even if you like a place and apply, you need to be quick because it could be taken just like that. They also have a couple of set days in the week where anyone can turn up for an inspection. With the housing market being so competitive, it meant that many inspections would have so many people turning up and would often clash with other companies, which meant you would miss out on a potential place to live. This happened a few times for us, even when we split up to look for places, the timings would overlap and when we sent in our (many) applications, we were told they had already been leased.
We spent our first month in Melbourne running around the city and its surrounding suburbs in the sweltering heat on a frantic house hunt. We viewed places from having a bedroom in the living room/kitchen with a shower curtain to separate the rooms, to top of the range, classy apartments. We saw everything. It was such a crazy time because it was the start of semester at University, and we were still on the hunt. We tried everything. Literally. The amount of times someone suggested we try ‘Gumtree’ became a joke. Even the University couldn’t suggest anything more than what we had already tried.
I started to lose faith and believed that we weren’t going to find anywhere to live. But little did we know that on the 11th March, everything would change. We got a phone call from an estate agent and they offered us an apartment! A couple of hours later, we got a call from someone saying that they also had an apartment available. I couldn’t believe it. All this time and money spent on house hunting and finally, a break through! After seeking housing advice we made our decision and moved into an apartment the next day.
Overall it took us a month (which felt like forever) to find a suitable place to live. We stayed in several temporary accommodations, which you can imagine the cost! I truly thank God for my amazing parents’ and the few lovely friends that knew the full extent of things. Your support meant a lot during that stressful time. I wasn’t going to post this experience but I feel like many times in life people think that ‘life is over’ when something doesn’t go to plan. But that is life. We can’t predict what may or may not happen and it’s how we deal with these things that show us how strong we really are. I could have easily quit, but I decided to stick it out and eventually things started to fall into place.
I believe that everything happens for a reason and one bad experience shouldn’t stop you from enjoying what you have right in front of you. Life is what you make it. Melbourne is a beautiful city with so much to offer. It was just unfortunate that my experience got off to a bad start. I am going to make the most of the time I have left here. Too much went into this trip just to throw it all away by giving up and staying miserable.
As the saying goes, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”…