Sydney, Australia. When I heard those words all I could picture was greenery, kangaroos, and ‘surfer dudes’. Although these are all accurate depictions, the central hub of this major country is here to offer so much more.
I have only been here for 2 weeks now and I have already fallen in love with the place. From the vibrant colours of graffiti everywhere you turn, to the smell of the ocean within a surrounding of skyscrapers. This is just a taste of the privilege I feel in calling Sydney home for the next year.
My first instinct after hopping off that plane was the overwhelming urge to do as much as I can and not to waste a second of the day. However, after that initial honeymoon stage wears off and you remember that not only are you here to study and actually work towards your degree but you are also on the other side of the world with little to no contacts. To name just a few of the struggles that have arisen for me is: figuring out the exchange rate every time I buy a vegetable; trying to get an Australian phone number and bank account as soon as possible; and realising the dreaded truth that the 9 hour time difference with your loved ones is harder than it seems.
Nevertheless, those are the small prices to pay for a big reward of living in this beautiful atmosphere. Already, I have had the opportunity to explore up North to Port Stephens and Hunter’s Valley with the Extreme Adventures tour. This trip took place the day after I arrived and what an experience it was. I was able to meet people straight away and on top of that, we fed kangaroos (what an aussie experience), went whale watching and for the thrill seekers out there, we got to go sand boarding!
After that fantastic trip, I have spent my days exploring Sydney itself. I have so far attempted the classic sights by walking the breathtaking Bondi to Coogee walk and visiting the Sydney Opera House which, is exactly what you would expect: awe-inspiring. One thing has stood out for me though is Austalia’s respect for their aboriginal culture. Before every lecture, a speech is given to acknowledge the founders of the land. Furthermore, at the University of Sydney’s welcome talk, a handful of tribe members performed an array of aboriginal dances for the new students. It made me feel so special that I was able to watch this part of their culture and be apart of it. I would most definitely say it is one of my highlights so far.