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First weeks in Sydney as a study abraod​​ student

Updated: Apr 17, 2019

You arranged everything for your semester abroad, finished the exams in your home town and without even noticing you are already sitting on a plane. Destination: Sydney.

Arrival and accommodation

I was in this situation about two months ago, and my plane landed in the evening right before the sunset. Thinking that there would be free wifi in the airport everywhere, I didn’t prepare my bus/train routes which would lead me to my hostel. Huge mistake! Internet in Australia seems to be a rare commodity. So, what do you do in this situation? You ask the friendly man at the bus station how you can reach your destination. But wait, what? That guy is talking, and the words are coming out of his mouth kind of seem to be English but also kind of not. Yeah, that’s the Aussie slang combined with an Aussie accent I had to get used to in my first weeks, and I still don’t understand a lot. Anyway, after arriving at my hostel and relaxing the first day, I started to search for a room in Sydney. Fortunately, it turned out that it is quite easy to find a place through different Facebook pages and on day three I already moved to a shared house.


Prices and atmosphere

Released from the stress of finding an accommodation I finally had time to discover some parts of Sydney until the orientation weeks would start. Walking my way through Sydney, I had to realise that this city is a lot more expensive than from what I have been told and from what I have thought. I’m German, so I’ll put it this way: 1 litre of beer on one of the highest priced beer festivals in Germany (yes, the Oktoberfest) costs about 18$. My first mini-bottle of beer which was around 350ml cost me 11$ here. You see my frustration here? And on top of that, unfortunately, international students have to pay twice as much for public transportation compared to the local students. Thankfully this was the only impudence I encountered until now. But let’s not talk about money anymore. Although Sydney is a city with over 5 million inhabitants I never felt like being in an overcrowded place. This city somehow has a chilled atmosphere which you can experience especially when walking around Circular Quay in the evening, looking at the sea while listening to various street musicians. But also, when going to one of the extremely beautiful beaches like Cronulla, Maroubra or Malabar.

Drone shot of Cronulla Beach
One of the most beautiful beaches: Cronulla

Orientation week and O'day

After these few free days, the orientation weeks finally started. They consist of a lot of welcoming speeches, social-connecting events, small seminars, tours around the campus and the O’day. Personally speaking, the O’day was the most valuable event in these two weeks. The clubs were representing themselves, and you could also sign up for them. I signed up for a lot of clubs, and I want to mention four of them which I like the most and are worth it (order was chosen arbitrarily).

ESAC: A club for international students and local students who want to go abroad or just hang around with the internationals. These guys make you feel like home.

Poker Society: Nothing much to explain here. It’s a society which meets up every week and plays poker. Very much fun and very entertaining.

Robotics Society and Cyber Security Society: I put these two together because it only makes sense to join them if you are interested in the fields of Engineering. They have a lot to offer. At RoboSoc you can design, manufacture and code and at CyberSoc you are going to learn how to hack. For both of them, you don’t need any experience.


This pretty much sums up my first weeks in Sydney. I am glad that I chose this city and this university. I know that some things sounded negative, but fortunately, there are not a lot of them. And if there is something negative, the student clubs make up for it because they are just amazing.

Leon Renner

Course: Master of Mechanical Engineering

Country: Germany

University:Deggendorf Institute of Technology

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