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Moving to Melbourne from the US

Melbourne is one of the best places to live on earth. In the Economist Intelligence Unit’s global livability ranking, Melbourne takes away the top spot (again – for five consecutive years!) as the most livable city in the world. Indeed, both locals and foreigners who have settled into this city in the Land Down Under would agree.

There are many things that define Melbourne, the capital city of the state of Victoria: the colourful street art and laneways, the beach, the Yarra River, its music, the food, etc. All these come together into a perfect picture that is the City of Melbourne, Australia’s center for arts, culture, shopping and dining.

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Job Market

While the US may have one of the most powerful economies in the world, the Australian economy has fared pretty well over the past decades, as evidenced in the country’s low unemployment rate.

The key to finding a job in Australia is knowing whether your skills are in demand. You can check it out on Australia’s Skilled Occupations List. This applies to anywhere in the country, including Melbourne. The easiest way is to get hired and sponsored by your Australian employer, which then entitles you to a temporary skilled visa (valid for up to four years depending on your skill).

Other sites you can also check out are Next Step Australia, LiveHire, JobbyDoo, and Recruit.net. For younger workers whose professions are not on the skilled occupations list, an alternative is to apply for a working holiday visa. This gives you a year to live and work in Australia, although a work contract for an Australian employer is only good for a maximum of six months. If you’re going down this route, a handy tip is to ask if the company is also eligible for sponsorship so you can apply for the more long-term work visa.

Properties and Real Estate

Melbourne may offer some of the best amenities,culture, and nature sceneries, but a potential cause for headache is real estate. Prices of housing continue to spike along with the increase in demand as people - Australians and foreigners alike - flock to Melbourne.

A detached house in Melbourne costs a minimum of $650,000, for example. A house in middle-ring suburbs such as St. Albans, is typically priced at roughly $500,000, cheaper by at least $100,000. Apartment rental for a one-bedroom costs about $1,335 while a three-bedroom is $2,271.

Cost of Living

The fast growth of Australia’s major cities means that Melbourne is also slowly becoming one of the most expensive cities in the world, even more expensive than some of the cities in the US. A meal in a decent, inexpensive restaurant, for example, can set you back $12, while a burger-fries-drinks combo at a McDonalds’ can cost $8. A regular cappuccino is $3 and local beer is $6. Your monthly grocery can roughly cost you $250 – 300.

Getting around the city is convenient and easy with Melbourne’s public transport. The Myki smartcard can be used in the city’s trains, trams and buses, with routes in and around the city. The Night Network was also introduced as a late night public transport on weekends, that includes night trains, trams, buses and even a coach service to other regional centers.

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Education

If you’re scouting for a school for your children, use the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) results to guide your search. The VCE is a test that measures students’ performance against their cohort, and therefore is also reflective of a school’s quality of instruction and teaching. Among the consistent top performers in the VCE are Melbourne High School, Mac. Robertson Girls’ High School, and Balwyn High.

When it comes to higher education, Melbourne has some of the finest, prestigious universities in Australia and the world. In the QS World University Rankings, the University of Melbourne is one of the best in the country, next to the Australian National University, and ranks 42 in the world. It offers more than 300 undergraduate and graduates programs, and as one of the producers of top graduates, it’s placed 18th on the QS Ranking for employability of graduates.

Other notable, world-class universities in Melbourne are Monash University, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Deakin University, La Trobe University, Swinburne University of Technology and Victoria University.

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Out and About

Melbourne stands true to its reputation as the most livable city in the world in the array of options it offers for those seeking to have a good time. Right in the city center, on Swanston Street, you can already find plenty of places to eat, drink and be merry. But there are also other pockets of the city that offer an interesting array of nightlife entertainment.

For bars, head over to Brunswick Street, Fitzroy and Johnson Streets. Some of the top recommendations are Freddie Wimpoles if you want to sample its 13 craft beers; Charlie’s for some cocktails during happy hour, and Loop if you want to hang out with the hipster crowd. As for clubs, there’s Alumbra, Brown Alley and Seven, one of the city’s premier nightclubs. The ultimate entertainment venue is the Crown Casino just along the Yarra River. It has shopping, dining, nightclubs, bars and gambling (and a fireworks display at night, too!) in one place.

There aren’t a lot of street food options (no pizza stalls or burger and hot dog stands) in Melbourne and so getting a meal even in an averagely-priced restaurant can still appear quite expensive. For casual dining options, some of the popular ones are 8 Bit for the All-American fare (aka hamburgers, milkshakes, fries and hotdogs), 11 Inch Pizza and 90 Secondi for pizza, and Abla’s Restaurant’s, one of the city’s well-loved eating establishments.

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Culture and history

As the arts and culture center of Australia, Melbourne has pretty much a lot to offer, whether it’s for the older, sophisticated audience or the hipster crowd. A stroll in Melbourne’s laneways showcases one of the city’s sources of pride: its street art and murals. The Digital Harbour Port 1010 and the Melbourne Recital Centre are also excellent displays of modern Australian architecture design.

Likewise, music is an integral part of Melbourne’s culture and every year, the city offers a myriad of music festivals with performances from some of the country’s hottest musical acts. Catch the Falls Music and Arts Festival every New Year’s Eve and the St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival every Sunday in summer.

Sports

In addition to being one of the best cities to live in, Melbourne has also been dubbed as Australia’s sporting capital where football, cricket, soccer, and basketball are big hits. Many of these games are played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground or the Etihad Stadium. The Albert Park is also one of Melbourne’s popular parks and is the venue of the yearly Formula One Australian Grand Prix.