Rob with TEAN staff in Thailand
Rob with TEAN staff in Thailand

Tell us a little bit about what your role as the Resident Director for Melbourne. 

I’m the go to guy for Melbourne! My role involves looking after all the students who come through Melbourne, be that for semester programs, internships or our short terms programs. I arrange all their logistics but also help them engage in Melbourne culture by taking them to various events during their time here and making sure they sample plenty of Melbourne’s coffee!

What is your favorite part of the job?

Getting to show people the amazing city I live in and getting them excited about it. It’s not hard, what’s not to love about Melbourne right?!

Rob showing TEAN students his city
Rob showing TEAN students his city

What initially got you into this field?

I used to work in International Recruitment for a University and I was ready for a change. I love travel and have a big passion for the arts and music, and when I was approached about working for TEAN it seemed like the perfect fit for me. I could couple my experience in Education with my outgoing personality and passions.

What do you think makes Melbourne a great city for students to study abroad?

I think that no matter what you’re into, you can find it in Melbourne. It caters for the sports mad, the music lovers, the art aficionados, the film geeks, the theatre nerds, the foodies, the adventurous nature lovers, and of course those obsessed with coffee. People ask me where they can get the best coffee in Melbourne and I honestly cannot tell them. 99% of the cafes you go to will serve you a delicious brew – we’re spoilt for choice!

Hello Melbourne. Photo by TEAN Alum Amanda Cianci who studied abroad in Australia
Hello Melbourne. Photo by TEAN Alum Amanda Cianci who studied abroad in Australia

What experience do you recommend every study abroad student should have in Melbourne before returning home from their semester?

Go to the footy! Aussie Rules Football is unlikely anything you will ever see. It’s such a fast paced, dynamic, high scoring game and if you go to a match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (the MCG) you will have a great time. I’d also recommend going to a music festival, going to see some theatre (we have so much of it in Melbourne) and visiting Lygon Street, Melbourne’s Little Italy for some hearty italian food.

What is your favorite cultural event that you lead each semester?

Going to a music gig. Melbourne has a lot of live music venues and I love sharing my passion for local independent music with my students. I always take them one of Melbourne’s iconic music venues and make. sure they see an Australian or NZ artist. Some of the students have never been to a gig before so it’s really special

Photo by TEAN Melbourne Alum Stevie Baray - Forgét taken at a live music cultural event
Photo by TEAN Melbourne Alum Stevie Baray – Forgét taken at a live music cultural event

What local tips would you give to someone who visiting Melbourne for the first time?

Explore off the grid. Melbourne is a well planned city, the centre is a giant grid so you can’t get lost. But the downside to this as a tourist or someone new to the city, is that you may not veer off the grid – and that’s where Melbourne comes alive. Melbourne’s laneways and ally’s have some of the best cafes, bars and boutique stores that you would never discover if you stayed on the grid. Like I always tell my students, “If it’s not up a staircase or down a laneway, it’s not worth going to.”

You’ve been to every continent except Antarctica. What have been some of your travel highlights from those adventures?

Many years ago I did a big road trip around the US with a friend. We started in San Diego and all we knew is that we had to fly out from New York three months later. We opened a map and decided each day where we would head to next. It was spontaneous and exciting and I met some of the greatest people and saw parts of the US I would never have know about.  I recently went to Morocco with my two younger siblings. Travelling with family is something else! We had an amazing experience, it was a huge culture shock, much more than we anticipated but we had the best time. I’ll never forget the beautiful town of Chefchaouen, riding a camel through the Sahara Desert or drinking fresh juice from a stall in Marrakesh.