City Discovery: Melbourne, Australia – The Sporting Capital of Oz

Updated on February 09, 2016

Melbourne (pronounced Mel-bin in Australia) is often considered the sporting capital of the country. It’s the only city on earth with five, international-standard sporting facilities near its central business district: the Melbourne Cricket Ground (Cricket), Docklands Stadium (Australia Rules Football), Rod Laver Arena (tennis), Hisense Arena (track cycling) and Olympic Park in Melbourne Park (multi-use/athletics).

Melbourne is also consistently ranked as one of the world’s most livable cities, claiming top honors for the past four years and has been in the top three for the past 12 years.



Intercultural experiences highlight exposure with the local culture, promoting a multilateral exchange of ideas, language and opinions.

Just a couple blocks east of Melbourne city center lies the ‘G’ (the Melbourne Cricket Ground), one of the world’s great sporting venues. This magnificent monolith should be at the top of the bucket list for any sports enthusiast visiting Melbourne -it is the 10th-largest stadium in the world, the largest in Australia, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, the largest cricket ground by capacity, and has the tallest light towers of any sporting venue!  ISA students will have the chance to immerse themselves in the local sporting culture with 100,000 of their newest friends at the ‘G’. Hosting cricket matches in the summer, Australia Football League “Footy” games during the winter, and a variety of other sporting and cultural events in between, for many Australians the ‘G’ is considered hallowed ground. Enjoying a match at the ‘G’ is a true Australian experience not to be missed!

One of the best ways for ISA students to really get to know and love Melbourne is for them to get intentionally lost exploring Melbourne’s many laneways. Over the past decade Melbourne’s laneways have gone from shortcut passages in the main city grid to proud canvasses for some of the world’s best street art. Here you will find an incredible mishmash of colorful murals by well-known local artists (names you will become more familiar with such as Be Free and Ha-Ha) as well as contributions from visiting artists. Start at Hosier Lane (opposite Federation Square) and follow the web of alleys heading north from there. A day meandering through this free outdoor museum is sure to be a day well spent!



ISA excursions and cultural activities highlight historical parts of the local culture to help students better understand their new environment.

Situated in downtown Melbourne’s Federation Square, the Koorie Heritage Trust represents the dedication to promote, support and celebrate the continuing journey of the Aboriginal people of South Eastern Australia and the desire to live in a society where Aboriginal culture and history are a fundamental part of Victorian life.  Established in the early 1980’s as a means of preserving Aboriginal culture and history, the Koorie Heritage Trust is a respected and valued part of Australian life that continues to advocate for the rights of the Aboriginal community. The Koorie Heritage Trust is the ideal place for ISA students to visit if they wish to gain a better understanding of the world’s oldest living culture.

Students looking for a bit of a faster paced historical experience can venture over to Luna Park, Melbourne’s historic amusement park.  Boasting the largest and most elaborate carousel in the Southern Hemisphere and the world’s oldest continuously operating wooden coaster, Scenic Railway Roller Coaster, Luna Park has been one of Melbourne’s most unique and thrilling destinations since Mr. Moon opened his month over 100 years ago.



Sociopolitical discovery highlights social and political activities or experiences.

Located in Melbourne’s center city, Government House, one of the oldest and grandest houses in Australia, is the largest government house in the former British Empire and is the office and official residence of the Governor of Victoria. All ISA Melbourne students should be sure to check out this iconic building, however Government Housing may be of particular interest to Political Science, International Studies, and Architecture majors, give its political importance and awe-inspiring design and grounds.

During one of their cultural activities, ISA Melbourne students will have the opportunity to visit one of the most important war memorials in Australia. The Shrine of Remembrance was initially created to meet the needs of a grieving community after the extensive loss of lives in the First World War, however has evolved to become a place where Australians can grieve as individuals, as families or as a community and where they can honor and preserve the memories of those they have lost. This significant landmark will help students understand a bit about Australia’s military past and gain a better understanding of how this helps shape Australian culture.



Professional experiences provide exposure to professional development opportunities during an ISA program.

There are numerous volunteer opportunities that students can participate in while studying abroad. ISA’s on-site staff can work with each student to find local opportunities suited to each individual’s interests. Volunteer opportunities of particular interest include the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary and the Peer Support program at the University of Melbourne.

ISA students seeking relevant career experience during their study abroad program should consider joining one of the amazing clubs or societies on campus. Student’s interested in community development work would thrive in the Amnesty International, OxFam International, or Habitat for Humanity clubs, while international studies or business students would benefit from the International Relations Association or the Freedom Society, respectively.  Each club and society hosts many social, academic, and career events throughout the semester, allowing students to network, learn, and grow professionally.



Environmental experiences expose students to different environmental aspects of the host country.

During one of their excursions, ISA students will spend the weekend exploring Dandenong Ranges and Phillip Island.  Whether students want to trek through the wilderness of the Dandenongs Ranges National Park, smell the roses at National Rhodendon Gardens, cuddle with the koalas and kangaroos at the Nobbies Centre, or march with the penguins in Phillip Island, this excursion is sure to be a favorite stop for everyone!

Students also have the opportunity to go on a number of different optional excursions. Choosing from such amazing locations as Ayer’s Rock, Thailand, New Zealand, Fiji, and the East Coast of Australia, ISA students are able to explore some of the world’s most unique and beautiful environments, all while discovering a new culture and bonding with their new friends!

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The City Discovery Series highlights the five parts of the Discovery Compass: Intercultural, Historical, Sociopolitical, Professional and Environmental. The Discovery Compass aims to help students have the best possible study abroad experience by helping them to gain a better understanding of the local environment, customs and people through a variety of experiences.

Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.