After living in Sydney now for almost six months, I felt it was probably time to write my second monthly blog post – only four months late (oops). This being a semi-professional blog, I have opted for the least gimmicky, most original style I could think of – the How To Guide. Hopefully this and my clever rhyming title will entice a few more than the three people who read my last blog (hi fam), but I rather doubt it. Anyway, since you presumably clicked this heavily publicised link because you expected an insight into my life in Sydney, rather than self-pitying estimates of my readership, here goes.
You would have thought after such a long time Down Under I would have acclimatised somewhat to the heat. You’d be wrong. At 40°C, it seems I’m pretty incapable of anything more strenuous than turning up my fan. You learn to hop from one air conditioned building to another, and not leave unless you really really have to. It amazes me how Australians have such a reputation for sports considering how I manage to work up a sweat without even moving. I miss the cold.
Another survival tip regards the various deadly flora and fauna Australia is famed for. I can exclusively reveal that this is all fake news. Probably thought up by the same people who tell you the earth is round or that humanity landed on the moon. In the six months I’ve been here, throughout the four states and many beaches I have visited, I have seen not a single spider, shark, snake or croc to send me running. My Australian friends have all assured me that they are out there somewhere, lurking out of sight. I’m not so sure.
Undoubtedly the best thing about Sydney is the number of different people there are. Sounds obvious and oh-so-gap-yah, but I really have made friends from across the globe, from East Asia to South America, Lithuania to South Africa. The cultural comparisons and contrasts have already changed my outlook on myriad ideas, from styles of teaching to the food I’m eating. Having said that, there are a LOT of Brits here. You’d think Australia was once British or something…
As this is being posted on a University blog, I suppose I ought to mention my actual uni experience here – otherwise you might start thinking I don’t go to lectures or something. The style here is quite different to my experience of British unis. More work, but more independence. Last semester I took four courses and did only one exam, which was worth all of 30%. Much less pressure than home, where exams can ruin a student – particularly one who is as unwilling to revise as I am.
As seems obvious in a country like Australia, water sports are the real way to combat the heat. And what more iconic Australian water sport is there than surfing? Since going to a surf camp early in September, I’ve fallen totally in love with the sport. There’s something so strange and exhilarating about riding a wave that you just don’t get from team ball-based sports. Add the fact that falling in is actually refreshing, and surfing becomes in my opinion one of the greatest sports in the world (save for the aforementioned, obviously fake threat of shark attacks).
Another big aspect of Sydney life for me has been the travelling. Studying abroad has felt like one big holiday – with a ton of mini holidays scattered throughout. In the past six months I’ve visited Tasmania, Perth and the West Coast, and road tripped to Canberra and Melbourne. I’m currently writing this post halfway through a massive six-week trip to New Zealand. If you’re still willing to read my blog after this (that’s if you’ve even got this far), you can expect New Zealand to be the topic of my next monthly post – if not, you’ll probably see it sailing through your newsfeed in about six months time.
Hopefully this rather haphazard guide has answered that burning question you didn’t know you wanted answering – how to Survive, Thrive and Feel Alive in Sydney. Tough luck if it doesn’t – once I set my mind on having a rhyming title, this (and the resultant post I’ve somehow spun out to over 700 words) was unfortunately the best I could come up with.