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Living the Dream Down Under

Sydney, Australia – a city that combines stunning natural beauty, vibrant city life and an awesome vibe. For many international students, Sydney represents the ultimate dream destination. With its iconic landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, as well as its laid-back lifestyle, life in Sydney is as great as it sounds. Let’s dive into what it's like to be a student living in the heart of Sydney.


Preparation

Preparing for my semester abroad in Sydney involved in-depth research, securing necessary documents, and packing essentials. Submitting all needed documents, finding suitable modules and checking that I completed all necessary steps, kept me occupied for a few weeks. I also familiarized myself with Australian culture, transportation, and academic expectations, ensuring a smooth transition for this exciting adventure.


UTS

When first visiting UTS I was impressed due to its modern buildings containing new technologies. Multiple cafes, food court, great social life and activities are provided on campus. The social events and programs are especially outstanding compared to other Universities. My favorite series of events were the Discovery Sydney events, which anyone could attend for low or no cost to learn more about the city. Through this program, I got to see the Opera House from inside, walk across the Harbour Bridge and visit the famous Taronga Zoo. Furthermore, student associations and regular social gatherings (network café, bingo nights, …) make finding new friends from all over the world easy!


Figure 1: Sydney Opera House


Accommodation

When deciding for UTS I simultaneously decided to apply for UTS student housing Yura Mudang. After receiving a decline like most exchange students, the reality hit. The rent costs in Sydney increased insanely after the pandemic. There is a shortage of student housing, resulting in high costs. Luckily, I could secure a room at Scape Accommodation, which was over my budget and could move to a cheaper one within a month. Nonetheless, when coming to Sydney, it is important to stay up to date with the rent rates as many fellow students had trouble finding a somehow affordable place at all.


People

Sydney is a city that unites people from diverse countries and cultures. The multicultural community it is made of was one of the most memorable things I noticed when arriving here. It is beautiful to see how each culture brings its own aspect to Sydney. As a young woman, Sydney feels like the safest city I have ever been in, and the people are kind and open-minded. Especially living in a part of Sydney surrounded by universities, it is easy to connect with people.


Nature

Sydney has millions of inhabitants but still shows impressive natural beauty. The parks located in different parts of the city are cared for very well. Famously, the beaches of Sydney are beautiful. I strongly recommend exploring Sydney’s nature by using the coastal walks as they provide a beautiful view on Sydney’s landscape and skyline. One of my favorite parts of Sydney’s closeby nature is its nearby Royal National Park south of the city.


Figure 2: Figure Eight Pools at Royal National Park


Conclusion

As I reflect on the end of my semester in Sydney, I'm overwhelmed by the richness of the experiences I've had. It's incredible how this vibrant city has become a second home to me in just a few months. From navigating through the diverse culture and making friends from around the world to excelling in my academic pursuits, this journey has been nothing short of transformative. I've been awe-inspired by the natural beauty of Sydney, from its picturesque beaches to its lush parks and vibrant wildlife. The memories of late-night discussions, beach sunsets, and new culinary delights will forever hold a special place in my heart. This semester abroad has not only broadened my horizons but also deepened my understanding of the world and myself. Sydney, you've been an incredible chapter in my life's story. Thank you!


Tina Marie Birkhold

Spring 2023 Exchange student from Hochschule Aalen, Germany

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