I arrived in Sydney in July in 2017 for my first out of two semesters at UTS. I traveled with a close friend of mine who is doing the same course as me, which is a relief when travelling for more than 30 hours to the other side of the world!
The day we moved into housing started with meeting up at the Yura office to receive our housing cards and getting an introduction to how things work around here. We then went together with some of the other students moving into our residence, Geegal. We didn’t have many expectations as we had seen quite few pictures beforehand, but were pleasantly surprised with the size of our flats and rooms. We met the people we were going to live with for the semester, and all the people in my flat came from different countries. One Swede, one Indian, one Swiss, one German, one Australian and me, Norwegian. Living with people from other countries is such a good experience for everyone, you learn a lot more about other countries and cultures and get new friends from all over the world!
After seeing our rooms and figuring out what we needed to buy, we headed to Broadway shopping center. Broadway has everything you need as a new student, but unfortunately all new students tend to go here so they are also normally sold out of the standard products.
At K-mart and Target you can get sheets, pillows, quilts, as well as anything else you’d like for your room such as a lamp or hangers. K-mart is the cheapest, while target might have a bit better selection. Remember to check the sheet size you need for your bed! Normally it is a king single, so make sure you get the right size when buying bedding. All you’ll need for the kitchen should be there when you move in, but if not you’ll find everything at either of the previously mentioned stores.
Our first week in Sydney included getting to know the people we lived with, going to introduction events and having our first lectures. There is a lot of information to take in the first week, which might not be the easiest when you move to a new country with unfamiliar surroundings. So remember to take your time settling in, and don’t stress too much. Bring something small from home to have in your room and make your room your own; by decorating and creating a more personal feel, you’ll much easier feel at home in your new room.
Getting around in Sydney is quite easy, as you only need one card for all forms of public transport: The Opal card. You can buy it at 7-eleven and other shops, and simply fill it up with your desired amount. You simply tap on and of buses and trains to get wherever
you want in New South Wales. And remember to take advantage of Sunday fares! You can travel wherever you want in the state the entire day for only $2.60, which is a great opportunity if you wish to explore Blue Mountains national park or meet wild kangaroos in Morisset park.
There are three grocery store chains you’ll find around Sydney: Woolworths, Coles and Aldi. Coles has the best selection (at least from my point of view), Aldi has cheaper products and Woolies is a bit more, pricey but everything you’ll need. There’s a Woolies across from the library, and one in on Central Park Mall (across from building one). You’ll find an Aldi and a Coles store in Broadway Shopping Center, as well as Liquorland if you want to buy alcohol.
Moving to a new country is a big step, but an exiting one to say the least. Remember that there are thousands of new students going through the same transition as you, so never be afraid to ask if there's anything you're wondering. And enjoy your time in the land down under!