Tips for Temporary Sydneysiders

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

So if you’re looking to study in Sydney next semester here’s a couple dos and don’ts.

  1. Do take Dr. Anna Westbrook’s Creative Writing class. It will be a calm and relaxing experience that by the end of the semester will have even the most cynical writer believing that they deserve to be published. Anna is an amazing professor and a lot like this online travel blog class, allows you to work through the range emotions one encounters when studying so far away from home in a written form.
  2. Do leave Urbanest, the NYU partner student housing accommodation in Sydney’s Chinatown district aka Haymarket. Urbanest provides residents with a measly 50GBS of internet each month, which for anyone who streams Netflix or spends hours on Youtube is nothing at all. Plus, like myself and many other NYU students, when you get out of Urbanest, you tend to find much cooler things than you would in Urbanest. ( I kid you not, during a fire drill we had to watch our step because there was human shit on the stairwell)
  3. Do check out Surry Hills. Surry Hills is by far my favorite neighborhood in Sydney. Literally a ten to fifteen minute walk from Urbanest in Haymarket, Surry Hills has many quaint cafes and cool vintage shops. I like to think of it as the emerging hippy Brooklyn of Sydney. Lots of diverse restaurants too. Rosie Campbell’s is a casual Jamaican restaurant/ bar that has live Reggae on the weekends. (Not the best or the most authentic Jamaican food, but the vibes are good).
  4. Do try to engage with local Australian people. Join a club at Sydney Uni or get a part-time job. Otherwise your chances of escaping the NYU Sydney American bubble are quite slim.
  5. Do get to know the NYU Sydney faculty and staff. They are cool people who will hook you up with things to see and do when you’re not in class.
  6. Do go to NYU Sydney sponsored events, there is often free food. Plus they take you to see all sorts of sporting events and have tickets to cool concerts.
  7. Do study at UTS. UTS is neighboring university in Haymarket that allows non-UTS students, basically you, to use their library ten times a year. You get a day pass, and free wifi, and while it’s not exactly Bobst, it is a great place to get your grind going.
  8. Do plan trips ahead. You’ll be surprised at how fast time flies by when your in Sydney. I’ve missed several great weekend trip opportunities because I didn’t plan ahead and look at upcoming public holidays and days off.
  9. Do create a cleaning schedule with your roommates. This might seem a little bit extra, but there was some drama this semester over crumbs on a kitchen countertop, so I would just be clean and courteous with your four or five suite mates.
  10. Do pay attention to the political climate in Sydney and Australia in general. From indigenous and non-indigenous issues, to coal versus renewables, it is very important to understand what’s happening around you in Australia. You get a better sense of a people if you can somewhat comprehend their problems.
  11. Don’t expect to develop an Australian accent in four months.
  12. Don’t be surprised at how expensive avocados are over here.
  13. Don’t even try looking for plantains.
  14. Don’t spend all your time on your phone. Limited GBs on phone plans are a problem as well.
  15. Don’t forget sunscreen. Even the most melanin blessed person will start to peel under the the unloving relentless Australian sun.
  16. Don’t eat kangaroo. Even Australian’s don’t eat kangaroos, they’re considered a pest and outside of the cities they shoot them.
  17. Don’t be surprised by the diversity in Sydney. 1 in 4 Australians are not born in Australia. Not everyone here looks like Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman.
  18. Don’t walk on George. There is so much construction, and congestion it’s just not worth your time. If you’re trying to get to Science House in the least amount of time, swap George for York around Town Hall.
  19. Don’t eat out all the time. Try cooking sometimes.
  20. Don’t expect to be able to see all of Australia. Four months is really a short period of time, and even native Australians to get to see as much of Australia.
  21. DO SEND POSTCARDS HOME! The art of postcard writing is a dying form. An international stamp is only $2.95 AUD and you can get many postcards for $1 or below. Postcards make great souvenirs to send to people back home! It’s a lot of fun too. Looking for postboxes is a great way to spend Sunday afternoons.

I realize that most of this is targeted to NYU Sydney study abroad students, but some of my tips are applicable to any of you who happen to be studying abroad in Australia but not with NYU. Sydney is a great city, and I would definitely visit again. You won’t regret your semester abroad here. Just be aware, it is an expensive city to live and study in.