Transitioning to Australian Life

Hello everyone!

It’s Andres back again with another blog post in Sydney Australia. It saddens me to say that I am now a little past halfway through this amazing program before I must return home (mom if you see this can I stay longer?). Having to assimilate to life here I have noticed that there are still some things I am still struggling with when adapting to this area. Surprisingly one thing that I still struggle with at times is the language, although Australians speak English as well there are differences in vocabulary, slang, and pronunciation that have been challenging to understand. An example is learning that Australians love to shorten words so arvo is short for afternoon and devo is short for devastated. What also contributes to this longer adjustment is living in Sydney, a city where 40% of its population is not originally from Australia, so people I am interacting with could have completely different lifestyles and experiences to a typical Australian. What I try to do to resolve this is to keep everything with an open mind and try to look through their viewpoints and lean more toward learning about the environment around me instead of talking more about my environment in the US. Another aspect that I am still adapting to is meal prepping and buying groceries. Before arriving in Australia if I was ever hungry I would go to the Eatery where I can swipe my Pitt ID card and just have food prepared and ready to eat. Now I have to buy groceries, and learn how to cook and prepare meals for the days that I am packed with activities or classes. I have learned that Sydney is an expensive city to live in as I can easily spend $40-50 AUD a day alone on food. But what initially felt like a headless chicken roaming around in the grocery store has turned into meal plans for the week that cut my cost on food from $40-50 a day to under $5. Another has been trying to find time to connect with friends and family back home as there is a 15-hour time difference. Meaning during the times I am most available is usually when my friends and family are asleep and vice versa. But what I have found the most helpful is setting up a set schedule to make calls and video chats as with practice I start to instinctively know the time back home. What I have also improved on is navigating the city as I have taken advantage of the warm weather and spent weekends at the beach or hiking in nearby national parks. Through this passion to explore I also discovered a newfound appreciation for Australian cuisines, such as meat pies and Vegemite, and enjoyed trying new foods at local markets and restaurants. Overall, my time so far in Sydney has been a challenging but rewarding process taking me on adventures that I would never experience without Pitt and all of its study-abroad staff. Until next time!


Andres Vasquez