Study Melbourne partnered with Melbourne Writers Festival 2018 to host a storytelling competition for international students. ‘Me in Melbourne’ by Haley Zilberberg from the USA was shortlisted in the Higher Education category.

Me in Melbourne

I walked off the stage
university degree in hand
and in the year that followed
I devised a plan

to go on a grand adventure,
learn and see new things,
widen my narrow perspective
and see what change brings.

I did not know
all that I did not know
but I had places to see
and room to grow.

Of all the places
I wanted to see
The city of Melbourne
called to me.

I did my research
about the country and city
and fell in love with the idea
of going to Melbourne for university.

I packed up my bags
for a three week return flight.
My suitcase was heavy
by I felt so light.

As we made our descent
I watched in great awe,
mountains and ocean
part of the landscape I saw.

I recall the sun pouring down
and heat breezing by
a summer so beautiful
and unfamiliarly dry.

I travelled the city
by foot, tram, and train,
soaking in the scenery
like grass loves the rain.

In museums and libraries
I expanded my mind
and in the city expanded
my palate with foods of all kinds.

They say the most learning happens
when you’re just a child
but compared to being in Melbourne
all that learning was mild.

A city or country is not shaped
just by the things that it holds
but the people who live there
and the stories they’ve told.

With stunning nature
just kilometres away
I travelled through Victoria
watching wildlife at play.

With mountains nearby
and the Great Ocean Road close
I saw the breathtaking landscapes
that Victoria boasts.

At the end of three weeks
I went home on a flight
heading to Florida
but it didn’t feel right.

After a holiday in Melbourne
I realized three weeks wasn’t enough,
I wanted to study in Melbourne—
the decision wasn’t tough.

When I got off the flight
that was so very long
I realized that Melbourne
was where I did belong.

In the months that passed
I waited to see
if I would be admitted
to Melbourne University.

When I got word of decision
and saw that I as accepted to study
I knew that in my future
I had so much ahead of me.

Life isn’t just about
success and money
but finding a place in the world
where you can be happy.

In the city of Melbourne
I felt that very spark
and on this new chapter of my life
I was ready to embark.

I packed my bags,
this time for a much longer stay
and went alone on a journey
very far away

from family and friends
and a country I knew well
to take a risk, go on an adventure
and make stories to tell.

I recall stepping off the plane
to the feeling of crisp, cool air
and being comforted by the sound
of rainbow lorikeets chirping everywhere.

I am grateful that for two years
in this city I will roam
because Melbourne is starting
to feel a lot like home.

Amidst the kitschy cafés
bustling alleyways
endless opportunities
and incredible diversity

I found me in Melbourne.