It has been a great opportunity to come to do a Global Exchange Programme (GEXP) in Melbourne, Australia. Having previously visiting Melbourne with my family on holiday, and hearing the many unique features this city has to offer from friends who had lived here to study, I had incredibly high hopes. I’m happy to say that Melbourne has met all of my expectations. Which is not to say Melbourne is perfect in any way, but it’s the flaws that also make this city the way that it is and gives me reason to appreciate Singapore from a different perspective.
We are all used to Singapore’s weather – a sudden 5 minutes of torrential rain, followed by just the most sunny day you can imagine, rinse and repeat for most of the 365.25 days in a year.
Here in Melbourne’s Summer, it is a couple days of temperate air-con weather, followed by 35-36 degree weather for the next few days. The temperate summer is definitely much appreciated by Singaporeans like me and my exchange mates, it’s the sunny days which really drains someone like me out really easily. That does not mean days like that aren’t enjoyed either, as me and my exchange mates would spend one of those days at St. Kilda beach, and perhaps more so, Brighton Beach with the famous bathhouses.
It is a common thing to say in Melbourne that you can experience “four seasons in a day”, however I would say the wild unpredictability of Melbourne’s weather is less tame than that of Singapore, especially the rain part, so much so that we normally don’t refer to weather forecasts anymore! In Melbourne, at least the weather forecast can be relied on to some degree, especially when it comes to knowing the temperature at the specific times you will be heading outdoors.
As Summer days waned into Autumn and Winter, I certainly notice the shorter days, which means less time to really appreciate the outdoors. Seeing leaves turn yellow and fall – these are thing you only see on TV and online, but experiencing the natural landscape change in front of your eyes gradually is something that a Singaporean like myself would bask in awe at.
Just a sidenote, but I had to mention that Victoria, the state that Melbourne is in, practices a 100-year-old tradition known as Daylight Savings which I got to experience first hand as 2:59am rolled back to 2:00am on the 2nd of April 2023 as we left Daylight Savings. It is honestly an extremely outdated thing to still do and all it does is confuse people in and out of Daylight Savings.
However, it seems that Melbourne does not experience snowfall at all, which is certainly a huge bummer. Melbourne does not get cold enough for snow to form – in fact there are only a few places in Australia where you can experience snow, and it is normally up in the mountains.
Despite Melbourne’s somewhat predictability of rain compared to Singapore, I bore the brunt of its unpredictability towards the end of my exchange program while exploring Yarra Bend Park. I started my walk at around 1pm with beautiful sunny skies with flowers in the grass. Not long at 2pm the sky started to darken substantially and I had to quickly rush for shelter, because I didn’t bring my umbrella, and the weather app did not report a high chance of rain anyway. I managed to briskly make my way to Victoria Park station before it started to rain cats and dogs.
Just when I thought my plans for the rest of the day are put to rest, the rain went away just as quickly as it came and by 3pm it was over! I was then treated the brightest and most vivid double rainbow I have seen! 🌈🌈
To conclude, after living in Melbourne for 4.5 months, it has been an overall positive experience with the weather and I would prefer this climate compared to Singapore’s heat and humidity any day.