This semester, students traveling on the Sydney GBI trip live in the Oaks Goldsbrough apartments located in Darling Harbour. Our accommodations are apartment style flats with four students staying in each apartment. I share a room with a friend who also goes to Pitt, but we live in our flat with two other girls from Clarke University in Iowa. Living in a space with students from another university in America is a great way to make friends within the program and gain a different perspective on what college life is like in other areas of the country!
In the apartment we have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a common living space, and a fully equipped kitchen, all of which are spread out across two floors. Having a fairly large kitchen is a great opportunity to experiment with local ingredients as well as save money by cooking at home in place of eating meals out! Most of the students from CAPA live on the penthouse level of the building and are mixed in amongst permanent Sydney residents who also live in Oaks. These locals have been a great resource for recommendations for fun things to do both within Sydney and Australia as a whole, which has been extremely helpful.
The Oaks building is a quick 15 minute walk from Sydney’s CBD (Central Business District) and is centrally located from anything students could need while abroad. The CAPA center, grocery store, local shops, and cafes in the area are all within walking distance of the apartments. Larger shopping malls and a wider variety of restaurants can be reached by crossing the Pyrmont Bridge just over Cockle Bay. This walking bridge connects Darling Harbour with Sydney’s CBD and provides easy access for many students, including myself, to get to their internships in the city. Any place that is not within walking distance from the apartments can be navigated through Sydney’s public transport system. CAPA provides students with an Opal Card that acts as a universal entry pass for all buses, trains, ferries, and light rails in the city. The system is incredibly easy to use and quite reliable for planning out trips and commutes ahead of time.
Oaks Goldsbrough have been very accommodating to the CAPA students thus far and it is quite enjoyable to live here! However, a common challenge that Americans face both within this building specifically and the country as whole is the speed of Wi-Fi. Australia is notorious for its slow internet speed, and it can be difficult at times to download files and stream videos that would easily be accessed in the US. This takes a bit of getting used to, although the beautiful surroundings of Australia as well as bountiful activities the city has to offer make it easy to forget about being online.