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Magic of Melbourne

In a first for Singapore Polytechnic, 35 students took part in a Creative Writing Study Tour to Melbourne from 8 to 15 September 2013. The programme proved to be an eye-opener in more ways than one.

Students from the Diploma in Creative Writing for Television and New
Media attended classes at the University of Melbourne

I am not exaggerating when I say that the one week I spent in Melbourne was one of the best times of my life. My course-mates and I took part in a Creative Writing Study Tour to the Australian city. It was part of an effort by our lecturers to expose us to university life and the experience of studying overseas, as well as to celebrate writing as a way of life.

A taste of life as an undergraduate
For five days in that week, we joined the undergraduates at the University of Melbourne in lectures on media-related topics such as ‘Media, Identity & Everyday Life’ and ‘Media Futures and New Technologies’. We also had master-classes and workshops on Creative Writing, specially organised for our group.

DTVM students received certificates for attending lectures on Media
and master-classes on Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne

I really want to be a writer
My eyes were opened to not just many hot guys and pretty girls, but also to a whole new learning experience. I discovered so many things, especially during the Creative Writing lessons. For example, as writers, we were encouraged to hone our observation skills and challenge ourselves to see the details that others would normally ignore. These details may be just what we need for our next big story. We also learnt how we can create our own characters or even invent a whole new world, so long as we introduce characters that are easy for the reader to identify with.

I remember the words of one of the Creative Writing lecturers, who is also a poet and an author. He said, “Follow your passion no matter what, because if you don’t, there will always be that little emptiness in your heart as you walk through life”.

Celebrating books, reading and writing
Besides the workshops and lessons, we also went on tours and visits which gave us an even deeper insight into the art of writing. For example, we learnt to see a city as a living character during a Paper Trail.

The majestic La Trobe Reading Room inside the State Library of Victoria

For me, one of the most memorable places was the Victoria State Library. It felt like the place was part museum, part library. The reading room was simply majestic. Apart from the many shelves of books and resource materials, there were galleries, complete with statues and paintings, to showcase the history of Melbourne. There was also an exhibition entitled ‘Mirror of the World: Books and Ideas’, about books that made a big impact on how we think. We also visited the National Gallery of Victoria which had a large variety of artefacts from different parts of the world. Another stop was the Australian Centre for the Moving Image that had an amazing interactive exhibition about film, television and games.

City life
Apart from the many interesting institutions, we also got to sample awesome food! The standard of the multi-cultural cuisine in Melbourne surpassed all my expectations. The portions were so huge and each dish was so authentic.

Many of my friends also loved the cool weather, the very friendly people, the efficient tram system, the buskers and the many cool bookstores. It was easy to move around Melbourne and we had time to explore the city on our own. We also hung out as a group when we got back to our hotel and that really helped me get to know my course-mates better, especially my seniors.

Colin (second from left) and Joanne (fifth from left, in black
spectacles) at the café in the University of Melbourne called Lab39

End of trip, beginning of journey
The journey introduced me to a lot of new things and also made me reflect on the Singapore way of life and what I would like to do after I graduate from SP. I may not have all the answers but the learning was truly enjoyable. It’s something you can only get when you go on such a trip and since we only live once, I think everyone should grab the opportunity if given the chance.

Written by Joanne Chim
Year 2, Diploma in Creative Writing for Television and New Media

Photos by Colin Huang
Year 3, Diploma in Creative Writing for Television and New Media