Sydney is so unlike any other city I’ve been too; it has the hustle of a busy city with the skyscrapers and
high rises, but 30 minutes away, it has the lull and chill of a beach community. Where I live in Randwick (one of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs) Coogee Beach is 10 minutes in one direction and the University of New South Wales is 10 minutes in the other direction. It is a whole new way of life and I love it.
But when I first got here it was pretty daunting, having never even been to Australia before. The first challenge was getting through the longest flight I’d ever been on by myself. It started off fun, with movies and the food wasn’t too bad, but 14 hours is a long time to be in one seat and it was definitely getting to me by the end! Once I had actually arrived, the next issue was finding somewhere to live in a city where I knew no one. I didn’t manage to get university accommodation as UNSW has hundreds of exchange students and I was coming into their second semester. It took time, a lot of patience and seeing some truly horrible rooms – one didn’t actually have four walls and a door, but 3 walls and a curtain. All in all it was a good experience because I’d never looked for somewhere to live by myself. I ended up finding an amazing shared house with other exchange students. The energy in the house is perfect; everyone is on exchange and wants to experience
as much of Australia as possible. I’ve made some really great friends there too. Moral of it is even if you don’t get university accommodation don’t panic – like I did.
Uni life here is quite different from home. For starters, the uni has a lot of outdoor space to study and chill because it’s actually warm enough for that! The modules are set up quite different from UoS. For me, I have found the majority of modules back home to be one piece of 30-40% coursework and a final exam. Here, however, the modules are a lot more coursework based, with smaller and many bits of coursework and a final exam that has a smaller weighting.
UNSW is very well set up for international students, with offers for discounts on activities and such. One I had to do was Surf Camp Australia. It was an incredible weekend; surfing, eating, surfing, drinking and more surfing! The camp was a really good opportunity to meet people and you can’t go to Australia for a year and not surf. Everyone was a beginner and we had a lot of fun.
Apart from uni life, Sydney has been amazing. One thing that’s really stood out to me here is the food. There’s such a large variety due to the high level of migration from different countries to the city. The
Asian food here is especially insane. But my favourite place so far has to be Bar Luca, my friend took me there and I was sceptical when he said it would be a 45 minute wait for a table but still worth it, but it was definitely worth it. If you like sweet potato fries (the best food ever) then you’ll love this place. It’s a burger restaurant in the heart of the CBD with the best menu ever, and as a veggie, I can definitely saythey’ve got everything covered.
Another thing I had to tick of the list was seeing Australia play Rugby. Luckily, I got the opportunity to see a Wallabies vs All Blacks game and I can say for certain the Hakka was insane to watch.
My favourite view in Sydney so far has to be near Mrs Macquarie’s Chair in the Royal Botanical Gardens. The view of the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House can’t be beaten. At low tide, you can walk down onto the rocks, there’s a lot of sea glass and shells and the sunset from there is magical.
But my favourite place in Sydney is called Gordon’s Bay. It’s on the infamous Bondi-Coogee walk and it one of the most stunning places. The snorkelling there is amazing. You can walk the rocks around the edges. It is one of the least busy beaches along that stretch of coast, but there are always people there, sunbathing, swimming or fishing.