One advice I had gotten before arranging housing in Melbourne was that it was easier to wait and arrange that after arriving in Australia. I felt quite nervous about waiting, but I arranged a spot at a hostel to begin with and started hunting for housing as soon as I had arrived. Since most landlords wanted quick and easy arrangements of meetings, I would say that the advice I got about waiting is one that I would pass on. It is also quite risky to decide on a certain housing long before you can see it, since the standards are varying to say the least. After having looked at several different housing options I got the opportunity to come look at an apartment for me and the two other people I were staying with. The apartment was available through a site called Unilodge, which have many apartment buildings throughout the whole city. They were also recommended as trustworthy housing by the university, which felt better than renting by someone we did not know anything about. It took us around two and a half weeks to arrange our housing, and from what I heard that is quite the standard time you will be able to find some place to live in. Prepare for expensive rent though, the average rent was about 250 AUD per week per person if you share housing, which translates to roughly 6500 SEK per person per month. You can definitely find both cheaper and more expensive options, and my housing landed around 6000 SEK per month when sharing a two-bedroom apartment with two other people. The apartment we got was also really nice in standard comparing to most others, which I would say was also a positive side to renting through Unilodge.
Speaking about the rent being expensive, the living costs over all was quite the same as in Sweden. Most things, such as food, events, clothing and such was very similar to the pricing I was used to from home.
Of course, a big part of going on exchange is the personal development. Many parts of going is challenging, but that is also what makes them so rewarding. I have gained so incredibly much from my time away, in several different aspects. To begin with, my language skills are better than ever, which feels like such an asset in itself. The university was also fantastic. I feel like I have gained knowledge I would not have had access to at all in Sweden, and I think this knowledge gained will be of big importance for the rest of my program and also for studies and careers to come. This academic experience is truly invaluable to me. Besides the studies, I have grown so much as a person. And as much as I think anyone who has been on exchange would tell you that, there lies so much truth in saying that exchange really does something to you. I am so very grateful for this whole experience; for the joy it has brought me, the sadness in moments of feeling alone, the feeling of strength when achieving something on my own, the beautiful trips around in the extraordinary nature, the friendships made and the reassurance of knowing how I am capable of achieving something like this, and doing so in a great manner.