One goal I had for my time in Sydney was to learn to get around the city like a local. I wanted to know the ins and outs and shortcuts of my city. I wanted to be able to walk around confidently without a map (aka my phone and Google Maps – which is a LIFESAVER). And while I may not know the whole city yet, I do have my commute to work and school down.
Like I mentioned in my previous blog, the CAPA program center is only about 300 meters from the apartment complex where I’m staying so the commute is super quick. Across the street and I’m there. My walk to work on the other hand is a bit longer. During my first few weeks here I was scared that I would get lost on the public transportation and decided to walk the route every day. I work in The Rocks right by the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge and it’s pretty much an easy, straight shot through the Central Business District to get there. It’s not a confusing walk at all, but it’s a lot longer than it seems – about two and a quarter miles. At Pitt I walk almost everywhere so I figured it wouldn’t be bad, but our campus isn’t that big. I go about a mile to my furthest class but if I ever had to go further than that I would definitely take the bus or a car. I realized my trek to work was definitely further than that, the equivalent of being at school and going from the opposite edge of Oakland to Shadyside.
So eventually, after a few too many blisters, a few too many rainy days, and a few too many times needing some extra minutes of sleep, I decided to make use of my opal card and the public transportation. AND WOW AM I GLAD.
The trains are so great after you figure them out. And even though I still have to walk to Central Station, that’s a breeze compared to the walk to work and I love love love the train system here so the walk to Central is worth it. 2+ miles becomes a 10 minute, 3-stop ride. I get off at the Circular Quay station, right at the Sydney Harbour and get an incredible view of the water, bridge, (and plenty of tourists trying to find their way around). This is a point of view I wouldn’t have had if I didn’t try something new and get out of my comfort zone. My tip for other students who may travel toSydney is to not let a fear of being lost or trying different things stop you from trying new experiences, even if they’re as small as hopping on a train. Oh, and always have Google Maps around to save you in case you need it 🙂