G’day, I’m a 3rd year Marine Biology student on exchange at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, I’m coming towards the tail end of my semester here so now seems a good time to reflect on my time.

Arriving in Sydney

After 25 hours of cramped seats and plane food I finally arrived in the land down under and made it to my temporary accommodation in the Eastern Suburb of Coogee. In terms of longer-term accommodation there were two options; stay in the rather pricey UNSW village or one of the UNSW colleges, or rent a room in a share house, which is more familiar way of living, and by far cheaper. Needless to say, I decided to save my pennies and found myself a room just opposite the University. The house, rather predictably, has a BBQ, is close to pubs and is only a 20-minute walk from Coogee beach, which has proved to be a wonderful distraction from revising this exam period.

View from Tamarma point, with me in the way.

Studying at UNSW

UNSW has recently implemented a trimester system, which means there are three shorter trimesters (as opposed two semesters), with students studying three modules per trimester, unfortunately this system appears to be universally unpopular with students as it has resulted in courses being condensed and more intense for students.

This system also means that exchange students have to begin our studies four weeks earlier in a ‘tailored term 3’ meaning that we end up studying for up to 19 weeks straight. The modules I have completed are; ‘The Sydney Environment’, ‘Coastal Resource Management’, ‘Principles of Molecular Biology (Adv)’ and ‘Astrobiology’ (an online module). These choices have allowed be to approach my studies in a different way and also prepare me for my studies and my dissertation when I return to Southampton.

The UNSW Mall (left)

Activities and experiences in and around Sydney

There is a smorgasbord of things to do in Sydney, from visiting the world-famous Opera house or Harbour bridge to the countless beaches that litter Sydney’s coastline. You also don’t have to go far to experience something completely different, the Blue Mountains lie to the west of Sydney and provide breath-taking views and is a habitat for native wildlife. The Hunter Valley to the North of Sydney plays host to one of the most prestigious wine regions in the world, with tours running daily from Sydney, some being run by the UNSW Student Union.

The view from the aptly named ‘sublime point’ – Blue Mountains

There is also a Surf Camp, which offers a discounted rate for exchange students. The camp takes you South of Sydney to seven-mile beach (it’s really 9 miles long) national park to learn how to surf and drink lots of beer, it’s a great way to dive head-first into Australian culture. More to that point, Australia is one of our few countries that share our attitude to drinking, which has helped the transition from Wessex to down under.

Me having a go at surfing

Studying and living in Sydney has been an incredible experience thus far, and I look forward to exploring the rest of Australia, namely Tasmania, Queensland and Victoria.

The view from the public ferry from Circular Quay to Manly
Studying Down Under: Sydney

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2 thoughts on “Studying Down Under: Sydney

  1. Great read, glad all is well. Send my love to Helena and the kids and hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year.

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