*Disclaimer: Fair warning that this post is going to contain a ridiculous amount of puns & cheesy humor
1. Would I recommend Sydney? “Aussieloutely Mate!”
No, but seriously…. study abroad here if you can. While you may think that Australia is very similar to the U.S., it’s actually a completely different culture once you immerse yourself in it. Sydney has all the makings for a perfect city for young students. It has the laid back beach culture, the business chic fashion, the hipster coffee shops, and the lively night life. Plus Australia has a very intriguing Aboriginal past and socially controversial present. All of this and more with delicious and diverse food (which is what’s truly important when deciding a study abroad site obviously).
2. It shines & rains in Australia!
Although Sydney is known for its incredible beach culture (which you will definitely find yourself participating in after a casual day of class), the coastal city is often moody about its weather. If you’re studying abroad in Sydney during the Fall semester in the U.S. (which is really the Spring in Sydney), make sure to bring a raincoat and an umbrella. It gets pretty wet here before the sun comes out to offer any tanning time!
3. Explore Sydney’s many diverse neighborhoods!
Each of Sydney’s mini towns has its own vibe and nuances to be appreciated. For example, Newtown is a funky part of Sydney full of thrift shops and hipster coffee bars, while Darling Harbour is the tourist-chic area with lively restaurants and bars right on the water.
4. Don’t wait until the last minute to plan Fall Break!
This of course goes for any vacation plans, but definitely for planning your week long fall break (if you’re studying in Fall semester of course). Know your budget and do your research on potential destinations ahead of time. Any savvy traveler knows that flight prices sky rocket the longer you procrastinate.
5. Don’t be afraid to get involved locally!
As I’ve mentioned in my past blog posts, I interned this semester with a local legal center for refugees. This not only complemented my academic major, but also gave me invaluable experience for my future career. Getting involved in a local organization or club is a great way to make your experience in Sydney even more memorable while meeting great people.
6. Visit the tourist beaches, but become a regular at the local ones too!
It’s obviously a must to visit the famous tourist beaches such as Bondi, Manly, & Coogee. Once you’ve marveled at their splendor however, leave the crowded shores to relax in a much quieter local beach. My personal favorites are Palm Beach (hour bus from Sydney), Lady Jane Beach (fair warning it is a nudist beach), and Gordon’s Bay (hidden alcove to the left of Coogee). If you’ve done Sydney right, by the end you’ll have endless memories of splashing in pristine blue waters.
7. Prepare yourself for the swearing!
If you yourself have a pretty bad “potty mouth” then you’ll probably love it here! If you don’t, however, it is best to prepare yourself for the Australian staple of an incredible amount of humorous cursing. Take it lightly, don’t get offended, and maybe even throw a few swear words right back. 🙂
8. If you’re not a fan of big bugs (like me), mentally prepare yourself!
Okay so luckily enough the bug problem isn’t such a big issue within the city (we only really had to face cockroaches in our housing). However, if you step out into the “Bush” of Australia, get ready to see bigger bugs than you’ve ever seen before. I’m talking about spiders-who-make-their-webs-between – two-trees big. But really people exaggerate, not everything is going to try to kill you (maybe only 75% of things).
9. Don’t let the college sleep schedule get in your way!
I know we all succumb to the college routine of sleeping in at one point or another (I’m guilty of it myself). But don’t let your love of sleep get in the way of your love of other fun activities around Sydney. Wake up early one day and go watch the sunset next to the Opera House while you can. Or go meet a pal for breakfast at that cool bakery you’ve been dying to try. As the wise have always said “you can sleep when you’re dead”, which is definitely a phrase that will do you well in Sydney.
10. Don’t stress!
One of Australia’s favorite catchphrases is the popular response of “No worries, mate”. This can be a reply to almost any question or comment, so don’t be confused when the barista says “no worries” when you wish him a good day. This saying really evokes the laid back vibe of Australia, which is an aspect that I believe anyone visiting should fully embrace. Of course I’m not telling you to drop out of school or stop brushing your teeth, but definitely try to embrace this “stress free” culture so that you can have the best time while abroad.