A place to work, to grow, to make friends & to have fun

Winter arrived to Melbourne, Australia, mornings are colder, people wear more layers of clothes over their bodies. Even when the sun shines brightly, you see women with their scarfs, gloves, boots and hats walking by the old streets from this city. Meanwhile some men could show their tolerance and trained bodies in this weather without hesitation while they are wearing short shorts while walking or running against the wind blow in the Royal Botanic Gardens. I went back to Flinders Street Hostel, which is located in 35 Elizabeth Street, to enjoy my free breakfast and discover more details from people who arrived to Australia from different countries like Germany, Sweden, United States of America, Poland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Bangladesh and United Kingdom.

Botanic Royal Gardens, Melbourne, Australia.
Botanic Royal Gardens, Melbourne, Australia.

Everyday young women and men from different cities come to one of the farthest places in the world. Some of them search for adventure, alcohol, party and everything the body needs while following Epicurean rules to have fun all the time. Meanwhile others are focused to use this period for developing independence from their parents, traditions, social rules, while growing and learning more to become adults. Most of them had finished high school or university and this trip is an opportunity to figure out what they are going to do with their lives. What is the best alternative? Packing a few things and leave home.

How I ended with a popular topic. I was planning to study a Master in France for something like 542 million years but the university rejected my application. After searching for different alternatives, I got a letter from University of Melbourne and this travel has been fulfilled with complicated emotions, confusing ideas; amazing, weird and disgusting experiences; interesting books; special essays, endless hours at library, walking in a ghost city while asking myself if I would pass the semester, among other things. Everybody talked about how travelling changed your ideas, increased your motivation, make you a little wiser. However, I was interested in listening these stories from people who open their lives to something like this for the first time. All of them plan to stay for at least six months in Australia while enjoying different experiences, their stories would let others discover more details to prepare their journeys.

If we want to know a little about the spicy details, it is important to listen more about hostels’ environment from one of his workers, James Christiansson, who is a new staff member in the hostel. It is not his first job in hospitality, he was working four months in a hostel in Sweden. When he came back to his country, he discovered that he was interested for working in this area.

He thought the hardest part was getting to work because he need at least one hour to get in his work, where he helped a number of 250 to 300 backpackers every night. Although in the long weekend, we had 400 to 450. When we talked about the most bizarre things he had seen, he reminded “people having sex in random places, I guess, I meant it is a hostel, a lot of things happened.”

“I love Melbourne, it is my favourite. Also I love Fraser Island and Byron Bay. It is not like big cities, everything is relax, nobody cares about stress.”

James speaks seven languages and he explained that the best part of his job is basically knowing people from different parts of the world. He is glad to speak English, Swedish, Cantones, Mandarin, Indonesian, Malayan, Thai and now I am learning Finish right now. Afterwards, this approach with his experience where he explained the difference he found while working with backpackers in Sweden. He just expressed they are less interested in becoming friends with strangers, they are nice for helping you but .

Meanwhile, we discussed some details about the best advises they could offer to people interested in living new experiences with some stories from citizens of Sweden, Germany and United Kingdom.

Expectations vs. Reality

While waiting in one of the tables in the reception’s living room, Paula Newport’s red skin was the main evidence of her holiday in the beach.“I came from Sidney, the best place in Australia, I like the people, the city, we do not have the skyscrapers and all that stuff in Germany. I think it was a good idea to come here, it is exciting and something new.” She could not hide her satisfaction in the tone of her voice while her words confirmed what she felt from staying nearby the sea.

With a soft voice she narrated the process for this trip. After searching information online to work and travel in Australia, she just took the opportunity to cross the ocean with one of her friends to visit this country. The experience has been relevant to let her grow. She is pretty sure about it because she believed that today is more open when she need to interact with different cultures. At the same time these months have helped her to improve her English-speaking skills.

Meanwhile, her partner in crime, Sina Struebe was just trying to express how relevant the travel has been for her. She believes how important is learning without your parents next to you. However, it does not mean the process was easy. Even when everyone warned her about the feelings of wishing coming back to home because she will miss her routines, like her favourite place to eat her preferred dessert or baking something, walking in her favourite place, among others activities. Sina confirmed with her soft voice that it is has been the most difficult aspect of living overseas.

The 19 year-old blond described what has been to stay far from home and missing her family and friends. One of the most important details while she was learning new skills, let her discover what means to her working with children. After using her time caring for them, she discovered that definitely, it is not her calling. When she reminded about her time in Sidney and she confessed “it feels like home”, one of the most exciting things for her is meeting so many people through this time and what she appreciated the most is people being kind.

Moving his noodles in a plate and before he could start to eat them, Joel Josefsson, 20 years-old, accepted to answer some questions about the good, the bad and the ugly situations of staying in hostels while traveling and working in wine meetings, some cleaning jobs or hospitality. He expressed he liked the culture, which he described in one word as warm.

The mos important aspect of this learning process has been knowing and staying in contact with different cultures. “I met friends, really nice people. Although, the hardest part has been the homesickness. I have never been alone, I made a lot of friends quickly but in the last month and half and started felling it.”

Even when he felt in this way, he is sure that he will not find friends to come here because it is a long trip. He has a job and he will stay in Flinders Street Hostel for three or four more months. His best advice for people who are interested in visiting Australia is living simple eating noodles or things like. It is important to stay in common areas and make friends.

After seeing Latin America for eight months while she learn about different cultures in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Brasil, Paraguay, Argentina and finally, Melbourne. She really enjoyed brazilian traditions while she was there she loves the weather because it is really hot.

Without hesitation she explained that the moment to find a job arrived for her so she would not be able to find a job in South America because her ability to manage Spanish are not so good enough to work there. Afterwards, getting a working-holiday Visa for visiting Australia would not be so difficult, she has just graduated and her professional experience was in Fundraising company.

“I am not able to talk so much about Australia because I have been here for two weeks, I want to stay here. I haven’t got a plan, once I have enough money it is possible that I started to travel to see more things. Also meeting people.”

After missing almost one hour trying to change her flight to go back to Germany, 20 year-old Eileen Tobeling was not succesful in her process to make it. She has been in Melbourne for two months and she did not feel ready to leave it after two weeks. She want to stay longer and meeting more people.


Sina Struebe


Joel Josefsson

The best advises…

  1. For example, homesickness appeared in the first months.
  2. Self-confidence, organizing things and manage the things on your own.
  3. Learn to be flexible, respect different cultures and people.
  4. Always searching what backpackers write on Internet about hostels and BOOK ON TIME!!
  5. Do not trust other backpackers too much and keep an eye on your stuff all the time.
  6. Live your life in the simplest way.
  7. Do not stay in one place too long.
  8. Be careful while you are driving…Kangaroos are crossing the road.




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Journalist. Student of Global Media Communication. Interested in Politics, Economy, Social Media, Technology. Feminist. Like walking, talking and swimming.

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