Loyola University Maryland

International Programs

Melbourne: Information for Parents

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Program Director

Jessica Wassel
Office of International Programs
Phone: 410-617-2920

Thank you for your interest in our study abroad programs! The goal of this page is to help you better understand the Melbourne semester study abroad program and highlight distinguishing features and components that will interest you as a parent. More detailed and updated information are given to your son or daughter in information sessions, academic reviews, workshops, and predeparture orientations. Once you read this information, we strongly encourage you to discuss this with your son/daughter first. Please know all information is given to the students, and we ask students to share all of this with you. 

Sending students abroad is a partnership that includes students, parents, university personnel, and our overseas partners. We realize that you will have questions, and if our website or your son/daughter cannot answer those questions, we will be happy to discuss the study abroad process and program information with you. Please keep in mind that due to the FERPA federal regulation (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act), we will not be able to discuss specific information regarding your son/daughter; however, if your son/daughter is willing to sign a waiver form indicating the specific information to be shared with you, we will be more than happy to discuss specific matters regarding your son/daughter.

We hope you find this information helpful in assisting your son/daughter to accomplish his or her goal of learning, living, and serving abroad. We look forward to working with you and your son/daughter.

Criteria for Acceptance and Application Requirements

For the Melbourne program, students must have (and maintain) a minimum of 3.0 CQPA. They should apply to Loyola’s Office of International Programs by December 4 of their sophomore year, in order to be considered for fall or spring semester spots in their junior year. Disciplinary records from Loyola’s Office of Student Life are taken into consideration when reviewing applications. Students should mark down second and third choices in the event that we cannot offer them a spot in the Melbourne Program. There are 30 available spots each semester. 

Backround Information

Loyola’s program in Melbourne, Australia is offered for either the fall or spring semester and the university usually sends about thirty students a semester. Because academic semesters are on a different schedule in Australia, students studying abroad in the fall semester will depart in early July and return in mid-November; and students studying abroad in the spring will depart in February and remain until June. 

Melbourne is a large, vibrant city located on the south coast of Australia, and is the capital city of the southeastern state of Victoria.  At a population of roughly 3.7 million inhabitants, Melbourne is one of the largest cities in Australia, second only to Sydney. With a variety of world-class attractions and events hosted year-round, Melbourne is consistently ranked as one of the most "livable" cities in the world. Cheap and accessible public transportation makes it easy to get around, and there are countless activities available to suit any interest.

Students attend Monash University, which is one of the largest university in Australia, as well as one of the most highly renowned. Students will live and take courses at the Clayton campus, which is home to more than 20,000 students.

Travel/Arriving to Australia

Students should follow the baggage restrictions set by Air New Zealand. Please keep in mind that there are several legs of this trip, but Air New Zealand is the ticketing airline and therefore their rules and restrictions apply. While preparing and packing your child, please be checking the airline website periodically to make sure that you are complying with their baggage weight and number of bags restrictions. 

Transport from the airport to Monash’s campus is taken care of by the university. Students are met at the airport by a representative of Monash and brought to campus by bus. Upon arrival, students will find out which residence hall they are living in and given a chance to move in. Starting that first night, students go right into international students orientation week. There are many social events as well as workshops and events to help students get accustomed to Monash and Melbourne.

On-Site Support

Our students are supported by an onsite international student’s office. Judi Cowie is the person in charge of American students and is our direct contact. Loyola is the school that sends the most students over as a group, and Judi is their main point of contact for any questions, concerns, illnesses or other issues all day, every day. Judi is supported by Rachna Chandra, who our students will interact with quite frequently. Rachna helps students with any administrative issues they might encounter.

For academic concerns, each student is assigned a Monash academic advisor within their major’s department, and this advisor is a resource during class registration, issues with classes and exam prep.

In case of illness or any medical emergency, students have full access to the Monash "HUB," which is a center on campus for overall wellness. Students can see doctors or nurse practitioners, and they do not even have to leave campus.

Lastly, for housing issues, the Monash Residence Services is where our students should start when they have questions, problems or concerns with their dorm or rooms. There is a full-time staff that works with all students on anything related to housing.


Unlike Loyola, students at Monash take four 4.0 credit courses. In order to receive credit for a fifth course on the degree audit, students must have at least one free elective available. One credit will be pulled from three courses taken abroad (for a total of 3.0 credits), and will be combined to count as one free elective.

There are enough courses offered that this program can accommodate nearly all majors, making it a very popular destination. Most students studying abroad will take the majority of their Upper Core classes, but Monash students are lucky as they offer a large amount of courses in the majors of psychology, business, political science, global studies, sociology, biology, communications and many more.

All students traveling to Melbourne are required to take a course entitled "Australian Idol" during their semester abroad. This course can count as either an upper-level history core, a social science core, a non-western history credit for history and education concentrations, or as an elective. The course is designed for international students, and provides an overview of history and society in Australia. Each semester, the professor escorts the students on a multi-day trip into the Australian Outback. Loyola students rave about this course! 

Because Monash University is so large, the focus is much more oriented on independent learning. Lectures can have as many as 200 people, and there is little to no interaction. These are supplemented with small group sessions called tutorials, which are dialogue-based. The grades for most courses are based largely on a midterm and a final exam. Students are expected to read and study independently, so there are not many forms of assessment. Between semester classes ending and the beginning of final exams is a period of about a week that Monash calls Swat Vac. We strongly encourage students to choose a small portion (if any) of this time to travel, and use the time to study for their finals as their Australian counterparts will be doing.

For more information, please check out Monash’s International Student website.

Grade Conversion Scale

Below is the conversion scale that Loyola will use once Monash transcripts are received. It is important to realize that all grades will transfer back (as opposed to the Pass/Fail system).

Monash transcripts usually arrive to Loyola midway through the next semester. Due to this delay, students are often not able to be considered for dean’s list that semester.

  • 75 - 100% = A
  • 70 - 74% = A-
  • 65 - 69% = B+
  • 60 - 64% = B
  • 55 – 59=C+
  • 52 – 54= C
  • 51% = C-
  • 50%   = D
  • 0- 49% = F


Students live among other international and some Australian students in Monash University housing. There are five different dorm buildings to choose from, each having different attributes. The five buildings are all within walking distance of each other. Students have the ability to partake in each hall’s social events, and students have the ability to meet and become close with students from all over the world.  

Students all live in single rooms, with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities on each floor. Each building has a common area as well. Students will have a phone extension and can connect to the Internet from their rooms. There are also computer labs situated around campus for email and printing. There is a shuttle service provided, and free access to laundry facilities. For more information on residence halls and housing, please visit the website.

Each semester, the Loyola students that are at Monash contact the Loyola students that are just about go and offer their "packages," which is anything the students bought while over there for living and residence hall life. The packages vary in what they consist of as well as cost. Please tell your students to be looking for these emails if this is something they are interested in purchasing.

Student may receive mail at their residence halls. Packages/letters should be addressed as follows:

Name of Student
Name of Hall
Monash University 
Clayton, VIC 3800

Campus and the City  

Monash has a large campus with an equally sizable student center. The student center includes a bookstore, gift shop, on-site restaurants, cafeterias, bank, travel agency, hairdresser, and cell-phone and appliance shops. There is also a small shopping center about half a mile from campus where students can get food and supplies once in Melbourne. Because it is such a large university, there are a multitude of student groups and activities to become involved in. In fact, students fill out an "Interests and Activities" form when they arrive so Monash can make sure students are made aware of activities or clubs that would interest them. Clubs or student groups are based on majors, sports, volunteer opportunities, and hobbies. Most students spend their weeks on campus, attending class and spending time with friends, and then venture to the city on weekends.

Monash’s International Student's office is located in the center of campus and is very accessible to students. In the same building as the International Student's office is what is called the "HUB." This office is responsible for the physical and mental well being of the students.

Monash’s campus is located about 40 minutes outside of central Melbourne. Students take a bus from campus to a nearby train station, and then a train into the heart of the city. All public transportation fees are covered for the group during the semester. Melbourne is an incredibly pleasant city, with a hip, urban "big city" feel. Although it does get cool in the winter (mid-40s at night) the region stays fairly temperate for most of the year. Melbourne is home to picturesque sites, shopping, food, and entertainment, and is on the coast for fairly accessible beaches, piers, and waterfront avenues. Below are some images of the beautiful city center.

Health Insurance

Loyola students going to Monash will receive OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover) through Worldcare Assist as part of their program benefits. Once the students arrive in Australia, they will receive their insurance ID number for OSHC.  OSHC will cover all medical treatment in Australia, with the exception of treatment for preexisting conditions.

Loyola has also arranged emergency travel assistance/evacuation and repatriation coverage for each student through Chartis. However, it is required that students have an active domestic health care policy because OSHC does not cover medical expenses outside of Australia. Each student should check with their current health care provider to ensure they will provide coverage while abroad - most will do so on a reimbursement basis. We keep proof of this in the student’s file just in case. The proof usually is a letter from the insurance company or a printout of the international policy description from one’s policy.


Because this is a Loyola program, all financial aid remains the same except for federal work-study. Students pay Loyola tuition, the average cost for a room on campus for juniors, a $500 program fee, and a $125 reduced comprehensive fee.

Not included in the program are the following:

  • Personal travel/excursions;
  • Books;
  • Food (there are no meal plans); and
  • Living expenses.

Students' expenses in Australia will vary greatly depending on how much they travel, shop and go out at night. The range for how much students spent in the past semesters is between $3,500-$10,000. It is a very large range, but again, will depend on how much your student travels, drinks, and eats in a restaurant.

Students must keep in mind that Australia is not a cheap place to live. Clothing, alcohol, and eating in restaurants are especially expensive. To help keep costs down, many students go grocery shopping and take advantage of the common kitchen and refrigerator space in their dorms. This also creates a social atmosphere with people in their dorms.

Money/Banking in Australia

You and your family will soon become experts at international banking transactions. You will want quick access to your funds, and you will also want to protect your money against loss. Here are some money options:

Australian Currency

The Australian unit of currency is the Australian dollar, which we abbreviate as $AUD. The current exchange rate is approximately USD $1 = $AUD 0.96. You can check today's rate by visiting this exchange rate currency calculator.

Cash (ATMs)

The easiest way to handle your money is with an American ATM card. The advantage to using your card is that you will be assessed the wholesale exchange rate that applies to large foreign currency transactions. You should check with the issuer to make sure your numerical PIN number will work abroad. You can only draw from a primary (usually checking) account. Be sure to check with your bank to make sure your ATM card can be used in Australia. Australian banks currently do not charge a fee for the use of their ATMs, but check with your home bank to see what fees will be assessed by them.

It is also imperative that your bank knows that you are going to be abroad in Australia. For your protection, they will block your credit card for any charge that seems out of the ordinary.

Opening an Australian Bank Accounts

Westpac Bank and Commonwealth Bank both have branch locations on campus. Most students bank with Westpac while in Australia. To open an account, you will need:

  • Your passport;
  • Driver's license; and
  • Australian student ID (will receive at Monash).

You will be able to deposit traveler’s checks or personal checks into this account. We advise that you bring traveler's checks because personal checks could take up to four weeks to clear. The banks on Monash’s campus can accept wire transfers for a nominal fee (you should verify this upon arrival).

Travelers Checks

In addition to your ATM card, bring some of your funds in traveler's checks. This is a more convenient way to carry your money. With traveler’s checks, you have immediate access to your money and checks can be used to open a local bank account.

You decide in which currency to purchase your checks. If you buy Australian dollar denominated checks, the exchange rate is fixed at the time of your purchase. U.S. dollar checks have a variable exchange rate based on when you change them. Most banks charge a fee for this service.

Be sure your checks are from an internationally recognized source such as Visa, American Express, MasterCard, or Cooks. If you are a member of AAA, you can obtain free American Express traveler's checks at your local AAA office. (AAA will accept a personal check in payment if you have an American Express card.)

Credit Cards

You can use credit cards in Australia for everything from drawing cash to buying dinner to taking a cab. While Visa and MasterCard are more widely accepted than American Express for purchases, American Express offers its card holders some very useful financial services. Check with each company before you depart.

American Express

With an AmEx card and your passport, you can go into any American Express office and write a personal check in U.S. funds using your checkbook from your checking account back home. You will receive a portion of your funds in local currency and can purchase traveler's checks with the rest. This is the simplest way for your family to transfer money to you in Australia. Remember to leave deposit slips with your family so they can deposit additional funds in your account if necessary. And don't forget to pack your checkbook. Your family can also cable money to you through American Express or Western Union.

Visa and MasterCard

Both cards are widely accepted at shops throughout Australia. You may also draw cash at participating banks; be aware, however, that interest accrues from the first day. Check with your issuing bank for further information.

Drawbacks to Plastic

Even with careful planning and strict adherence to a budget, it is frighteningly easy to overspend. Finance charges can add up quickly if you extend payment on goods or take out cash advances. It is a good idea to establish an online banking account with your bank at home, so that you can monitor your spending in U.S. dollars.

Obtaining a Major Credit Card

The card you present overseas must be in your own name as given on your passport. At a card holder's request (your family), most major lenders will issue a dependent's card.

**Please keep in mind that study abroad information, dates, benefits, and fees are subject to change without notification. You are encouraged to contact the Office of International Programs directly for the most up-to-date information regarding any study abroad programs offered at Loyola