In order to review a study abroad experience, I believe it is best to review both the NYU experience at the location, and then the actual physical location in itself. In nearly all metrics that a study abroad site could be measured by, NYU Sydney met my highest expectations. To begin, the staff are absolutely incredible; they were willing to meet any requests and or accommodations that our cohort made and encouraged an extremely comfortable and diverse learning environment. They truly did exceed my expectations, as they are all incredibly nice, and eager to recommend tips and interesting locations. The NYU Sydney facilities are also fascinating, as we are fortunate enough to learn in a historic building in the oldest area of Sydney. The faculty and learning experience at NYU Sydney have been stimulating and definitely comparable to that of the New York Campus.
As a global and vibrant multicultural city, Sydney truly has a lot to offer. In fact, Sydney offers some of the best in arts, sport, nature, and adventure. In terms of art, besides the customary trips to the Opera House, there are entire neighborhoods with galleries and art exhibits (Surry Hills for example), and also terrific museums of all kind scattered throughout the city. As for sport, Sydney’s parks and recreation centers are worth the minimal entry fee that is required upon each visit; the facilities are up to date and are frequented by many of the city’s residents and visitors. Within 5 minutes of the NYU Sydney academic building is King George Arena, which houses clean and up to date gym equipment, two full sized indoor basketball courts, an outdoor futsal field, and an outdoor basketball field. In terms of professional sports, Sydney has several rugby league teams, one of which NYU Sydney has an event for, and a basketball and soccer team. The abundance of nature in and just outside of Sydney is my favorite thing about the city and part of the reason I decided to come here. The beaches are the best I have ever seen; trips along and on the harbor are complete with incredible views of the skyline, and the beautiful suburbs which line the coast. As for adventure, Sydney, but also Australia in general, has a thriving adventure tourism industry. Without looking far at all, there is ample opportunity to skydive, go on reef cruises, helicopter rides, bungie jumps, rafting trips and more.
With respect to the above mentioned comments, I would absolutely recommend NYU Sydney and the city of Sydney to nearly all students considering studying abroad. Looking back, there isn’t anything that I wish I knew in hindsight; Sydney is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world for a reason, and it has certainly lived up to the stereotypes and most famous qualities (arts, sport, nature, adventure) that it is praised for. Although many people told me, I will say it again: make every minute count, from the very beginning of the semester until the end. For many people, the opportunity to spend an extended period of time on the other side of the globe isn’t available or even possible until much later in life.
Personally, in terms of tips about preparing for the weeks and months ahead of studying abroad, I would recommend scheduling traveling plans as far ahead as possible. Although it may be impossible to know the exact dates of exams and essays due, planning travels will ensure that you actually do them (it can be difficult to commit once the school year takes off) and that you get to go to places that interest you and that you have researched. As for places and events that are musts within Sydney, my recommendation can again be broken down into arts, sport, nature and adventure. For art and history, I would recommend The Customs House, The Police Museum and all of Surry Hills. For sport, besides the NYU Sydney rugby event, if you are a fan of soccer, Sydney FC is a great team with a loyal fan base. In terms of nature, Royal National Park, complete with the famous figure 8 pools, is a definite must; in addition, Gordon’s Bay, which sits just north of Coogee beach, is my favorite spot along the water. For adventure, there are dozens of cruises that leave from the harbor, and many advanced hiking trails also within the confines of the city boundaries.
If I could re-pick my study abroad location, I would absolutely choose Sydney again. One thing to note is that the cohort is comprised of 60 students in the fall, and around 150 in the spring. If you are a fan of larger groups, than the spring may be a much better option; it seems as if some students may have preferred additional options for making friends and getting to know a larger number of NYU students.