Adventures in Sydney (and beyond!)

Hi everyone!

If you know me, you know I have a hard time sitting still, so my trip has been jam packed with adventures, both with my program and independently. I can’t believe how fast time is flying, but I have spent every spare moment immersing myself in all that Sydney has to offer. A key thing I’ve learned about the people here from my internship, my professors, and just from people I’ve met, is that Australians have a great work-life balance. They work to live, and not the other way around! We’ve also tried to find that balance in our spare time (:

One beautiful Saturday, our CAPA program took us all on a field trip to the Blue Mountains and Featherdale Wildlife Park. This was by far one of my favorite parts of the program, and it was awesome to see the scenic mountains and new side of New South Wales, as compared to the beaches it’s known for. It also gave us another opportunity to spend time with our peers outside the classroom. Our trip took us about 2 ours outside of the city,  but NSW’s public transportation is extensive, meaning we could even travel back here with our transit cards if we wanted!

We started our day at 8 am, and took an our bus ride to Featherdale Wildlife Park. This was my first zoo experience in Sydney and I was beyond excited to interact with all of the animals. I was NOT prepared for just how much I would actually interact with the wildlife! As compared to American zoos, this park allowed us to enter the enclosures to encounter the kangaroos, wallabies, birds, and more. I had a blast feeding the kangaroos, and spotting the animals I had only seen in pictures. I couldn’t resist reciting “a dingo ate my baby!” when I actually saw a dingo in person.

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Up close and personal with this cute kangaroo!

Then, we hopped back on the bus to Blue Mountains. I grew up hiking, biking, and camping in the mountains with my family, so getting to explore Sydney’s most beautiful mountain range was incredible (and also made me really miss my fam). The whole way, we had a tour guide fill us in on it’s history, tell us myths about rock structures, point out the hole of the worlds deadliest spider (no thanks!), and overall enhance our experience.

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Can you tell why they call them the Blue Mountains?

The following week, I got to see more of the cultural elements of Sydney in a tour of Chinatown with my Intercultural Communications class. It was led by a lovely Chinese Australian named George who was probably the best part of the whole trip. He took us into several shops, pointed out key structures and cultural hotspots, and ended with a yum cha lunch on Chinatown’s main street. Several of my classes have had field trips, which have given us opportunities to tie our studies in to the city we’re studying in! Trips like this one bring our studies to life, and put our newfound education into practice. In my global Finance course, we even took a trip to the Federal Reserve Bank of Australia!

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Kimber Lane in Chinatown: this art installation is called ‘In Between Two Worlds’ and at night, these hanging spirits glow! 

One nice thing about my schedule is my completely free Fridays, so we always plan our own independent adventures to take advantage of these days! One of my favorite Fridays this semester so far was the Bondi to Coogee walk. This hike is set along Sydney’s coastline and takes you through Sydney’s most iconic beaches and beautiful cliffs set into the coast. The pictures don’t even come close to doing this place justice, and the views are going to be the hardest part about leaving at the end of the semester.

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Cliff diving, anyone?
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My friends and I about halfway along the walk!

It’s no wonder everyone in this city is so active and loves adventures; there are endless things to do. This is just a few of the countless adventures my friends and I have been on so far, and there’s still so much on my list. Can’t wait to share the rest of them with you!

Cheers!

Alyssa

P.S. Stay tuned for details on our trip to Bali, Indonesia!