Guide to surviving Australia if the snakes, spiders, and sharks don’t get you first

In The Art of Travel Spring 2017, 14. Tips, Sydney by KD Harbeck

Well… umm… Tips? The semester is wrapping up and I have no idea but that is okay. I went to Australia completely unprepared (disregarding all of New York University’s pre-semester abroad tips. Whoops, Sorry) but have had a great time and anyone who has the opportunity should go for it!

I guess one piece of advice would actually contradict with what NYU suggests. In all of the pre-semester abroad meetings, emails, etc it is stressed do NOT plan anything before going to all your classes and getting the syllabus. I would suggest plan things prior. The reason it is suggested (highly suggested) to not plan any weekend trips before attending class is because some classes have field trips and Australia does have different national holidays. For example, Easter Monday is a national holiday in which EVERYTHING (Grocery store, Gym, etc) is closed, so any class on Monday is then that Friday. However, it is easy enough to look up the national holidays and classes that do have field trips will say so on Albert when you register. I waited until I got to Australia and even a week or two into school before actually thinking about where I wanted to go. This was a mistake. While, I got to see Melbourne, Cairns, and other great places around Australia if I planned it out earlier I would have probably seen and done more. I would have also saved money on plane tickets. At least map everything out prior to then right after you go to all your classes book everything that weekend. It will save a lot of money and you’ll do everything you set off on doing. One thing that I wish I listened to that NYU suggested was bring multiple pants. While yes I have only worn pants three times since arriving it does get colder here as the semester progresses (for Spring semester) and shorts are not always optimal.

In Sydney, there is only one housing choice: Urbanest. Urbanest is a company that specializes in student housing and NYU partners with them to support this location’s housing. It is pretty nice, all rooms are singles with their own bathroom. The only drawbacks are the fire alarms and wifi! The fire alarms are much more temperamental than the ones in NYC dorms and if they go off the suite is charged $2000 dollars. Also, the wifi is limited here! Limited! While Science House (the academic building) has unlimited wifi it is only open Monday to Friday and until 8 PM. It is also a 30-minute speed walk away so a little out of the way if you do not have a class that day. At Urbanest, you get 50GB a month and from there you can buy more. 50 GB seems like a lot but it is not! I think that is something everyone discovered real quick. If you are going to watch Netflix, Youtube, video chat, do anything basically 50GB is nothing. If you are like some of the rare 1/100 who do not buy extra data and somehow survive on 50GB than good for you, but if you are like everyone else I would suggest buy a lot at once. The bigger package you buy is cheaper per GB and what you do not use rolls over.

I think one of the best places I like here that just reminds me of New York is The Choc Pot. It is just like Spot Dessert Bar in St. Marks. It is a dessert restaurant that is busy all the time. They have their own drinks and their menu changes constantly. The go to would, of course, be The Choc Pot (a molten lava cake) but I think the crepes are pretty good too.

I think a general tip I would have for not only Sydney but just traveling or life, in general, would remember this is a once in a life experience and while $200 dollars might seem like a lot right now it is not in the bigger picture. I know some people who think a trip to Melbourne is too expensive but go out to get avocado toast every morning. Look at your budget and see where you are spending and ask if that is really what you want to be doing.

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