Hey guys! Now that I’ve been in Sydney for a few weeks, I can definitely say that it feels like a home away from home – and that’s in part because I am so comfortable at the apartment that I’m staying at!
For the GBI Sydney program, students can either choose to live in a homestay with a host family or in an apartment with other students. I think the experience in a homestay would have been so amazing, but since I only knew a few other people coming here prior to the trip, I felt like it was better for me to live in student housing and meet other people.
The apartment complex that we stay at is called Urbanest Sydney Central. They have 6 other Urbanest properties in Sydney, but this location is so ideal. First, it’s a short walk to a critical interchange for the Sydney metro, Central Station. It’s also only a 2 minute walk from our academic building so I don’t have to go far out of my way to talk to the program supervisors or get to class (YAY for not waking up extra early). Finally, it’s right around the corner from the Broadway Shopping Centre which has restaurants, grocery stores, clothing, tech and phone supplies, home goods, a medical centre and a movie theatre! You name it, it’s there…all within 5 minutes of our accommodation.
Urbanest is also like a little community on it’s own with a gym, laundry, an outdoor courtyard and kitchen, and a huge social area with tv, computers, a pool table, etc. Each apartment has 4 rooms with 2 beds and a bathroom each, a shared kitchen and a shared living area.
I live with 4 girls that go to the University of Dayton (Brooke, Carolina, Sarah and Victoria) and Gianna, who goes to SUNY Farmingdale. Since none of the other girls in my apartment go to Pitt, and most of them actually aren’t even on the same program that I am, it has been really interesting hearing about their experiences abroad so far. I love coming home at the end of the day and listening to their stories about their internships/classes because they’re studying different areas so they’re all doing much different things than I do. Living with them has also been so nice because I was able to make more friendships aside from the people from my program that I see in classes and on excursions every week.
One challenge that I had when I first got here was setting some ground rules for the shared spaces, like who’s going to take the trash out, buy dish soap, vacuum, etc. Again, most of my housemates are on a different program, so we were on different schedules and I didn’t get to meet them immediately. I went a few days knowing that other people lived there, but not knowing who because we kept missing each other so that was definitely weird.
Other than that (and not knowing that you had to turn on the outlets and flip every single switch on to work the oven…) my stay has been great so far and I can’t wait to tell you more! Talk soon!