Meet Janna at the University of Melbourne!
Name: Janna Cinta Dingle
Nationality: Indonesian Australian
University: The University of Melbourne
Degree: Arts Degree – Double Majoring in Psychology and Media Communications
Current Year of Study: About to start 3rd and final year
How did you choose your university destination and course of study?
I was expected to study in Melbourne, as my Australian family was situated there. However, when I was first deciding on the exact university, I had my heart set on the University of Melbourne—after all, it’s not only the most prestigious university in Australia but also has an outstanding global reputation. The fact that it also had marvellously taught majors—such as Psychology—and post-grad programs—like their Juris doctorate—was a huge plus.
For example, I’ve been impressed by my professors’ and tutors’ diverse academic backgrounds, as the majority are master’s and/or PhD holders who bring a plethora of diverse experiences to their classes. Additionally, the breadth of electives within my courses, such as my media communications major, allows me to choose between focusing on journalism-related subjects to marketing communications ones.
What have been the highlights of your academic programme so far?
I can now honestly say that even though coming here was definitely a challenging transition for me, there are many things about the University of Melbourne that make it really special and deserve its title as one of the best universities in Australia—and the world. This includes their aforementioned enriching education to their diverse student population which consists not only of domestic students like myself but also international students who are from all over the world. Furthermore, the university is filled with various extracurricular opportunities, such as its Student Union which not only provides various activities but also multiple clubs to participate in. So far, my personal favorites have been the Melbourne University’s Psychological Association (MUPA) and CastOn Charity group (I love their work!).
What do you enjoy most about living in Melbourne?
Melbourne is an incredibly vibrant city, as you can feel the energy of its people as soon as you arrive. The arts, in particular, are an integral aspect of Melbourne, and you can enjoy them on numerous levels. There are plenty of galleries to visit—including one at Federation Square—and smaller, more niche collections that can be found in different places around the city—such as the Rose Markets, where local artists showcase work of various talents and styles.
Similarly, Her Queen’s Majesty Theatre and Arts Centre are great places to see musical performances in Australia. There’s always something going on in Melbourne, so if you’re looking for a city that never sleeps and always has something exciting happening, particularly regarding the arts, this is your place.
How supportive is your university to international students?
If you are an international student, the University of Melbourne provides a plethora of helpful resources for you, from tutoring, cultural programs, visa services to student clubs where you can meet others from the same backgrounds (e.g. when I first arrived I joined the Indonesian club). However, the fees for international students are often higher than those of domestic students and are thus more difficult to fund. Fortunately, there are scholarships available to international students—but they’re competitive and hard to get!
What have been 3 of the main challenges you have faced during your time at university?
After deciding that I wanted to pursue my undergraduate degree at the University of Melbourne, I had no idea what would await me when I arrived here. After all, this was a completely new environment for me. Not only has it been a challenge to adjust and get used to my surroundings here in the city of Melbourne, but it has also been difficult to adapt to the academic environment as well. This is because I had to switch from a small but highly intimate high school teaching cohort—where we were personally guided by our teachers—to completely independent studying in a class full of hundreds of students.
Furthermore, navigating student requirements for our degrees with the lack of direct support in the process brought much frustration in the beginning. However, these complications eased after getting more adjusted to this style of learning and I have come to actually enjoy my time here at the University of Melbourne.
What activities are you involved in outside of your academic programme?
There are various activities that I am involved in outside my academic programme. One includes my external Marketing Communications Internship with the University of Melbourne, which was an enriching experience that has allowed me to apply what I’ve learned during my studies and gain more real-life experience at the same time.
Additionally, when I’m not busy with work, I volunteer as a student magazine contributor. I have designed content for Farrago and Omnisci Magazine, and even held a graphics editorial position on one of the student council’s (UMSU) magazines titled ‘Myriad’.
I’m not a stranger to extracurricular activities and have been involved in several clubs and societies the University has to offer (e.g. MUPA, PPIA).
How easy is it to find accommodation? Can you describe your living arrangements?
For me, finding a place to live was rather easy. I live in an apartment with my family, so I didn’t need to worry about finding a place all by myself. But even if you’re not living with your family and are on your own, you still can find a place to rent. A good tip is to find a roommate who you get along with. This will make renting a much better experience since you won’t have to worry about doing everything alone and someone else can help out. Plus, it’s cheaper too!
Do you think your university experience is preparing you well for the working world and do they offer support with finding jobs and internships?
While my university might offer support with finding jobs and internships, you mainly have to find them yourself—but they have good resources available! Especially when you’re an arts student. The art internship electives are a great place to start—you can take the time to explore different career options and get a feel for what kinds of jobs are out there.
Meanwhile, your degree program’s career advisor can help with more general questions about what to do next and how to apply for jobs. If you’re interested in more specific careers, like marketing or politics, there are opportunities to explore these paths through the University’s careers website, which can connect you with alumni or various career workshops of interest.
What opportunities have you had to travel and explore during weekends and vacations?
The challenge of keeping up with schoolwork and a job was a lot easier when I was able to take advantage of my weekends and vacations. I usually go to events that are happening in the city with friends-like going to bookstores, arcades, art events, and exploring the parks. I especially love going to the arcade because they have games that I have never played before, and it’s great fun to play against your buddies to see who wins! I also love going to art events because we get to see new kinds of art, listen to music, or watch dance performances.
What are the top 3 pieces of advice you would offer an international student thinking of coming to Melbourne and Australia to study?
It can be hard moving so far away from home for the first time, but remember that most of the other students in your program are probably in the same boat as you, and most likely feeling pretty homesick at times. So try joining some clubs or student groups where you can meet and connect with people, as it really does help you feel less alone on this journey, and you might even meet some lifelong friends.
Additionally, planning ahead in your degree can save you from a lot of headaches down the road, so get as much information as possible about what you’re getting into (e.g. course credit requirements)—the resources available to you are usually more plentiful than you think.
Finally, make sure to figure out whether the teaching style of the University of Melbourne and the education it provides suits you, so navigate their website and its detailed information on courses to unit requirements. Furthermore, there are plenty of people willing to share their experiences if needed, so reach out if you need help.