Geelong is only an hour down the road, but mature-age student Lizzie Black has found Melbourne’s CBD different in so many ways.
Half-way through a diploma of community services at RMIT, Ms Black has thrived in her new environment.
Culture shock has been felt at many different levels, since the former stay-at-home mum extended herself by returning to study.
Being 30 years older than some of her fellow students was always going to be interesting. But Lizzie has been most thrilled by the ethnic diversity of her classmates.
“We’ve got people from all manner of places,” she said. “We’ve got Sudanese, Burmese, Pakistanis, people from Turkey and two from South America.”
Ms Black had imagined not having a lot of contact with her classmates. However, the opposite turned out to be true.
“We’re together all day for classes so we all have lunch together and really enjoy each other’s company,” she said.
“It’s been a great experience because I would not have otherwise met these people.”
“My experience has been expanded and enriched and I have been exposed to ideas and concepts that I’ve never thought about before.”
Ms Black is a trained nurse but did not want to return to nursing.
“I started the course because I had time on my hands and also wanted to use my brain,” she said.
“Once I got into it I thought ‘why didn’t I do this years ago?’,” she said.
She has no doubt that some of the new friendships she has made will endure long after the diploma has been completed.