Adapting to Life in Sydney

In general, I feel like the culture in Australia is relatively easy to adapt to because it is an extremely diverse city. There are people from various backgrounds and places around the world, so there are many different cultures represented.

Embarrassingly, the one lifestyle norm I have had difficulty adapting to is applying sunscreen every day, regardless of whether or not you are going to the beach. I have learned the hard way that daily application of sunscreen is very necessary because of the hole in the ozone layer right above Australia. In fact, most stores here do not even sell sunscreen lower than 50 SPF because the sun is so strong, especially in the middle of the summer.

In addition, Sydney is an expensive city despite the favorable exchange rate against the U.S. dollar. I buy a lot of groceries and make most of my meals myself to save money, but cooking more often is actually something I have really enjoyed doing since being here.

Using the public transportation system instead of driving has also taken some getting used to because sometimes you need to plan ahead and allow for more time to get to places. However, I have found that overall the transportation system in Sydney and throughout Australia is very efficient, so it has not been an issue, just an adjustment.

Finally, there are some smaller differences related to sustainability that I have had to keep in mind such as making sure to always have reusable bags on me to use at the store to avoid having to pay for plastic bags every time. I also try to use the reusable coffee cup we were given at the start of the program to save a small amount of money and cut down on my use of single-use coffee cups when I get coffee throughout the week. And lastly, it has taken some time for me to remember to turn on the outlet I want to use beforehand to make sure it is actually working and use my room card in order to turn on the lights and air conditioning in my apartment as well as remembering to take it with me when I leave. These are very small changes, but if they are practiced by everyone, they can make a difference in helping to protect the environment.

Overall, moving to Sydney for a few months has not been a difficult adjustment for me personally, but I am also not participating in an internship, so I am sure that would lead to many more noticeable differences in culture between Australia and the United States.