I can’t believe I have already been in Sydney, AUSTRALIA for a month now. It has been incredible, and I’m sad to say that it is going by fast. As February is ending soon and I am past the one month point, I think it is a good time to reflect a little bit.
Getting around: I was taking the train one stop and then walking to my internship, but I have started to just do the 25-minute walk from my room. I walk along Darling Harbor, which is an incredible view. I LOVE that classes are about two minutes away. I like being able to get to class in a short amount of time, and to go to the CAPA Center whenever I need WiFi. Oh, the limited amount of WiFi is such a PAIN. I get 50gb a month, which seems like a lot, but I use a lot FaceTiming my friends and family. I have already splurged and spent the extra $20 AUD on more WiFi when I ran out!
I would say that transportation is pretty similar to Pitt because of how most places I have been regularly going to (work, restaurants, grocery store, etc.) are a walking distance away. Additionally, if I wanted to go somewhere a little further, or deeper into the city, I can hop on a bus and get there. Similar to using my Pitt ID for bus transportation, I have an Opal card here that is paid for. The major difference is the use of the train, which definitely comes in handy. The closest station, Central, is about a mile away, which feels far every time I have to trek there, but it’s still a really quick method, especially when getting to the beach.
Tip: it’s going to be overwhelming trying to get around. My best advice is to just explore. I know that sounds obvious, but it took me about two weeks to realise that I need to just walk in order to feel more confident when traveling around.
In the beginning, I couldn’t walk to my internship without using Google maps. Now, I can walk there with no confusion and sometimes even pick to go different ways intentionally. I have been doing more walks alone, and with friends, to get to know the areas near me. This has given me a chance to map out where everything is and orient myself with my surroundings. Also, the train and bus give me about a two-mile radius in all directions. I am slowly starting to explore more, and that is adding to growing more comfortable in this big city.
Expectations: Academically: yes, this is what I expected. My classes can be challenging at times, but they are manageable. I was worried about professors being very strict, but they understand that we are studying abroad about 9,500 miles away. Professionally: yes, if anything, it’s more laid back than I thought– which I am not complaining about! I can also dress pretty casually, which is really nice.
I think the biggest gap with expectation versus reality is personally: it was a little hard adjusting. Nothing extreme, but there were definitely times that I got overwhelmed with the size of this country/continent! The time difference also makes it difficult to keep in touch with my family.
One month in, and I am for sure this time, settled in.
P.S. My featured image is me from Surf Camp (which I talked about in my last post). They uploaded pictures today on their Facebook, and I felt inclined to let you guys see my new surfing skills!