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Moving to Melbourne during the COVID-19 pandemic


Amy wearing a facemask in Melbourne.

Moving states can be a stressful and hard time for anyone, but doing it during a global pandemic has been a very interesting experience.


In early 2019, I planned to move to Melbourne at the beginning of 2020. Moving from Western Australia to Melbourne was already daunting, as Melbourne’s CBD makes Perth look like a small, rural town.


The day after my twentieth birthday, I said cheerio to my friends, packed my bags, and hopped on a plane to Melbourne so I made it to my uni orientation in time.


This was the best decision I made as my program orientation proved to be essential for my survival of isolation. Without the group of friends I made that day, I wouldn’t have been able to cope with online learning and general wellbeing.


Just under a month after I moved to Victoria, the state went into lockdown. I’d only had three weeks of in-person uni classes and barely any time to explore my new home. Being isolated in a foreign place wasn’t easy. I didn’t know what was outside and I wasn’t familiar with anything around me.


Fortunately, in only three weeks, I was able to build a solid group of friends from my course. This made online learning easier as I could always ask someone for help and I also had new people to connect with.


Because the entire country was in lockdown, I didn’t have major FOMO of my friends from back home, as they weren’t allowed to leave their houses either. I must admit, this made moving easier.


What was really hard, though, was when Western Australian restrictions started to ease on April 27. Suddenly, everyone I knew back home was out and about, flooding their Instagram stories with picnics and hangouts, all while I was still stuck at home, only allowed go out for exercise or if I needed groceries.


I was stuck in a foreign city with my brother and a couple of UNO cards to keep me company, so it was hard to watch my old life move on without me.


But, while my WA friends were having a social distanced wine night, I was hosting an online Kahoot over zoom with my new friends from RMIT. Our friendship grew stronger online.


As someone who struggles with mental health, having this interaction, albeit virtually, made isolation so much easier. This, as well as online classes, were what kept me occupied and helped me adjust to being isolated in a new place.


Moving amidst the pandemic has affected me financially. Like many other Australians, I’ve struggled to find a job with barely any businesses looking to hire more employees.


As someone who is addicted to UberEats, there is a lot more money leaving my bank account than there is going in. I wasn’t eligible for JobKeeper or JobSeeker, so I was left in a grey area of no governmental support as I searched for work.


Moving during this pandemic has been challenging, but it has given me time to research and plan ways I can explore this beautiful state once lockdown is lifted.


With restrictions easing, I’m looking forward to travelling to Mount Buller, Bendigo and Torquay. I’m so excited to finally live in a state that has ski mountains and I can’t wait to explore the countryside in the future.


 

Article & Photo: Amy Ross

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