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Study Abroad in Melbourne: The Graphic Design Student’s Complete Guide

Ever thought about studying graphic design abroad in Melbourne? Well you can do that with Shillington’s graphic design course. As Australia’s creative capital, Melbourne is an incredible place to study design—there’s loads of culture and some top design studios right on the doorstep. It’s also home to some of the best coffee in the world (more on that later) and a lively street culture—and is consistently voted one of the most liveable cities in the world.

Want to make your dreams a reality? Here’s our guide to learning graphic design in Melbourne. How to get here, where to live and how to get around, with some tips from local creatives thrown in for good measure.

Shillington Study Abroad in Melbourne, Australia 

Shillington’s Melbourne campus is located in the CBD, the centre of Melbourne—just across the river from the luscious Royal Botanic Gardens. The studio is also right next door to the iconic Flinders Street Railway Station, making it easily accessible from across the city and further afield. There’s also multiple tram stops a short hop away—so there’s nothing stopping you getting to campus. Nearby is also the infamous Flinders Lane area, where a good night out is always guaranteed.

What else is great is that the Shillington Melbourne fees are the same if you’re an international student as they are for domestic students—so it won’t cost you any extra to study with Shillington if you’re coming from abroad.

Australian Visa Information

Australia offers a free eVisitor (Subclass 651) Visa, which allows tourists of any age to live and study for up to 3 months.

If you’re between 18—30 years old (35 for Canadian and Irish citizens), there are two visas which allow you to live, work and study for up to a year. Perfect to graduate from our 3 month course, then work or travel for the remainder of your visa. Visit Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) and Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462) to check your home country’s eligibility.

Please note: Shillington is not CRICOS registered, which means students are not able to apply for international student visas. But you don’t need a student visa to study at Shillington! Research your eligibility for the tourist and work visas listed above, which allow up to 3 months of study—perfect for our full-time graphic design course.

What to do Around Our Melbourne Campus 


Melbourne is world famous for its coffee—even laying claim to be the city where flat whites were first served—so there’s no shortage of places to grab a cup near the Shillington campus. Our three tips are Dukes Coffee Roasters, staff favourite Tulip Coffee and Lune Croissanterie—the latter is also a cult place to grab a pastry if you want to make your breakfast complete.

Shillington’s Lead Online Teacher Annette Dennis, who’s based in Melbourne, also gave us her list of the must visit coffee shops in London: Market Lane, Seven Seeds, Patricia, St Ali, Everyday Coffee and Padre Coffee. These shops are dotted across Melbourne so why not embark on a tour to see which one makes the best flat white in the city?

Shillington Teacher Tina Victoria Afshar also suggests her favourite coffee shop in the CBD—Vacation Coffee, just down Flinders Street from the Shillington studio. She told us “not only do they roast the smoothest tasting coffee on earth, they also have an epic jalapeño chicken toasted sandwich that makes me want to cry with joy.”

Hot tip from Shillington’s Marketing Specialist Laura Carrick—7/11 coffee in Melbourne is both good and cheap so there’s no reason to pay out the nose for a good cup.


Looking for some inspiration on a lunch break? Many of Melbourne’s top museums are a quick walk from the Shillington Melbourne studio. You can easily get to the National Gallery of Victoria, the Melbourne Museum in the picturesque Carlton Gardens, the Australian Centre of Moving Image and the Ian Potter Centre from campus—so some world class art and design is never far away.

Shillington Melbourne Teacher Nathan Millard suggests crossing the Yarra River and heading to the Australian Centre for Contemporary Arts. ACCA offers exhibitions of the best contemporary art that Australia has to offer housed in an incredible, purpose-built building. It’s worth checking out just for the architecture alone. Nathan also suggests a trip to the Abbotsford Convent. Spread over 16 acres, Abbotsford is Australia’s largest multi-arts precinct, which is home to a vibrant creative community.

Tina recommends checking out Lamington Drive—the exhibition space of illustration agency The Jacky Winter Group. So expect exhibitions of work by your favourite illustrators, they’ve previously had shows with Gemma O’Brien, Marc Martin and more. Oh yeah, they actually serve the Aussie treat Lamingtons at their exhibitions too.

Melbourne is also a graphic design hub—with many brilliant design agencies calling the city home. Some global agencies can be found there, including DDB and McCann. Though the true power of Melbourne’s design scene lies in its independent agencies like Truly Deeply, The Company You Keep, Liquorice and Seesaw.

After Class

Melbourne is well known for its excellent nightlife—so there’s loads of places to head out after class with your classmates, whether you want to grab a drink, have some food or catch a gig.

Fancy a drink? There’s no shortage of bars near campus. Laura told us her favourite spots: Arbory Afloat, which is literally afloat—it’s a cocktail bar on the Yarra River, Hell’s Kitchen, a favourite of the city’s musicians, artists and associated misfits, Chuckle Park Bar, a caravan bar tucked down a leafy CBD laneway, and Section8, an outdoor bar perfect for the summer.

If dinner’s more your vibe then Melbourne has loads of amazing restaurants. Nathan gave us a run down of the best neighbourhoods to get your favourite cuisine. For Vietnamese food, head to Victoria Street in Richmond, for Ethiopian to Footscray and for Lebanese to Coburg/Brunswick. If Italian’s more your thing, then Lygon Street in Carlton is the place to go. Finally, Chinatown is the place to be for Chinese, Korean or Japanese food—it’s just also just round the corner from campus.

Melbourne is also a great city for live music so make sure you catch a band or two whilst you’re in town. Nathan’s top pick is iconic Melbourne institution The Tote, which is intrinsically linked with Australian rock’n’roll, punk and heavy metal. For a more eclectic mix, Nathan suggests heading to Howler, The Brunswick Ballroom or Colour Club, the latter of which is also one of the city’s best nightclubs if you want to continue your night into the early hours.

How to be a Melburnian

Where to Live in Melbourne

There are lots of cool places to live in Melbourne—so much that it’s a hot debate in the city of whether the North side or South side is the coolest. We recommend the neighbourhoods of North Melbourne: Carlton, Fitzroy and Collingwood. All three of these are under a 45 minute walk or a 30 minute tram ride into the Shillington Melbourne studio.

The latter two especially are full of amazing places to eat and lots of good bars and live music venues—so they could be perfect if that’s your thing.

You can also usually get some really good deals on student accommodation in central Melbourne and the CBD. Living centrally would also put you within walking distance of campus, ideal for those who enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city.

Where to Look for Accommodation

The best places to look for somewhere to live in Melbourne and any of the above neighbourhoods is on the dedicated websites Flatmates and Roommates, though the Facebook group Fairy Floss Real Estate is often a good best as well.

Subletting isn’t really a thing in Australia—so it’s worth hunting down some student accommodation or a long term AirBnb let.

How to Get Around

The Shillington Melbourne campus is well connected to the rest of the city through its network of trams, trains and buses. Melbourne’s tram network is the largest urban tram network in the world—with 1,763 tram stops across 160 miles of track. So, chances are, no matter where you are in the city, there will be a tram stop nearby. The trams combined with Melbourne’s extensive train and bus networks make it an easily navigable city—and easy to escape to the surrounding coast and countryside at the weekend.

The easiest way to pay for any of the trams, trains and buses is to pick up a myki card—your ticket to Melbourne. How much you pay to travel on trains, trams and buses depends on where and how you’re travelling but you can set your myki up to top up automatically when you drop below a certain amount. You can use CityMapper to plan your journeys or the PTV app is also useful.

Don’t fancy public transport? Melbourne prides itself on being a cycle friendly city. Lots of people own their own bikes which they use to get around. It’s also a great way to get to know your way around and the best spots in your local neighbourhood. Same goes for walking. Two wheels or two legs is the best way to get to know a new city.

Study Abroad Tips From Melbourne Locals 

Melbourne has loads to offer—especially if you’re heading over for our three month full-time course. So, we asked our teachers and staff at the Melbourne campus for their essential tips for temporary Melburnians.

Are books your bag? All our Teachers have their favourite bookshops. Laura recommends her favourite ever Metropolis Bookshop, a beautiful specialist shop in the CBD’s Curtin House that also boasts multiple restaurants and a sixth storey rooftop bar. She also recommends Sticky Institute, a shop entirely dedicated to zines which also puts on the annual zinefair the Festival of the Photocopier. Annette’s recommendation is Thornbury’s Perimeter Books, a small press and art bookshop with its own gallery space. Not a shop, but Nathan recommends the Melbourne Art Book Library where you can peruse and borrow a huge variety of amazing art and design books.

Melbourne is surrounded by some picturesque coast and countryside and Nathan strongly suggests escaping the city at the weekend. The Great Ocean Road is a 240km stretch of coastal road that showcases some of the best nature that Australia has to offer. Closer to the city, the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges offer some breathtaking landscapes and fantastic walking trails. Or for some nature within the city itself, the Merri Creek Trail takes you along the green spaces between Fitzroy and Coburg.

Whilst you’re in Melbourne, you’ll definitely want to head to the beach. Both Laura and Nathan advocate for the beautiful St Kilda Beach but if you want the full ocean swimming experience then Laura would head to Brighton or Half Moon Bay.

Finally, Laura says you’ve got to try some iconic Aussie treats whilst you’re there. Namely Vegemite, Cadbury Caramello Koalas, Lamingtons, Tim Tams and Arnott’s Shapes.

Benefits of Studying Abroad in Melbourne, Australia

Studying abroad in Melbourne is an unbeatable opportunity, with countless benefits to boot! If you choose to take the opportunity, you’ll be studying in one of the world’s coolest cities surrounded by some incredible culture and some equally incredible nature just outside the city limits—and let’s not forget to mention the coffee.

Melbourne is also home to some world class graphic designers and design studios. This means that there’s always something happening—events and other networking opportunities—to keep you creatively inspired.

But don’t just take our word for it, you’ll be following in the footsteps of other Shillington graduates who headed down under to study graphic design. You can read about their experiences, here:

Sounds too good to be true? It’s not—this could be you. Apply now and you could be living out your dreams of studying graphic design in Melbourne before you know it.

Artwork by Shillington’s Head New York, Cathy Sison.

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