Walking to class is not too bad when there are seven coffee shops along the way and the sun is shining. I live in the Oaks Goldsbrough Apartments which are about a 15-minute walk from the CAPA building where I have my classes. On long class days, I always make sure to leave extra time in my commute to stop at my favorite coffee shop – which is conveniently just a minute away from the class building.
With the weather being so nice in Sydney, most students walk to class on a daily basis. We are provided with an Opal Card that allows us to take any bus, train, ferry, or light rail. A bus stop is located very close to the apartment building that can take you about one block away from the school. If the weather is too rainy or too hot, the bus is always an option.
All CAPA students live in a suburb that neighbors Sydney CBD (Central Business District). The way public transport operates here is very similar to being at Pitt. Since South Oakland is a neighborhood outside of downtown Pittsburgh, I am able to draw some similarities. Almost everything I need is in walking distance which makes everyday life easy. One of the many great aspects of Sydney is the bus system – which is way more accurate than the Port Authority buses in Pittsburgh. You simply tap-on and tap-off of any bus and can get to class in 5 minutes or the beach in 50 minutes. The grocery store is about a 10-minute walk away and when you are hungry, you can find just about any cuisine within a 15-minute radius.
One of my favorite parts about my school commute is having multiple different routes available to get to class. I can choose to walk along Harris Street, which has a ton of cafes and eateries, but a lot of traffic and crosswalks. I could also skip the traffic by walking on the one-way street that is one block past Harris Street. This route gets me to the CAPA building faster and is shaded by trees. There are a lot of ways to get to class so most students just choose the path that gets the green walk sign first. Obeying the walk signs is very important in Sydney, since the crosswalk is only green for a short amount of time. Another tip is to always press the crosswalk button, or else you will be waiting to cross the street until someone else pushes it, which is not how it works in Pittsburgh. Most Pitt students know exactly when to cross the street by keep an eye on the stop lights, so it took some getting used to when crossing the streets here.
To anyone that plans to study abroad in Sydney, I would always suggest taking the walking route. However, when you need to get to places farther away, especially the beach, you need to know how to effectively use public transport. After being in Sydney for about a month, I have discovered that walking places allows you to understand the city more. Sometimes you come across something that you do not expect, like a conveyor belt sushi restaurant. Without exploring the city by foot, you may never come across the hidden gems of Sydney.