Karly L., Australia- Physics Program University of Sydney (Sociology)

In the summer of 2019, I studied abroad in Sydney, Australia for the Physics program at the University of Sydney for two months.

ACADEMICS

  1. What types of classes did you take abroad and how did they compare to UCSB?
    • At the University of Sydney, I took the the Physics 3-series. Compared to classes at UCSB, the program was more interactive. Unlike my usual lectures, classes consisted of group work revolving around solving problems after lecture.
  2. What was your favorite class abroad? 
    • N/A
  3. Did you intern, volunteer, or conduct fieldwork or research abroad?  If so, tell us about your experience.
    • N/A

HOST INSTITUTION

  1. How would you describe your host institution?
    • The University of Sydney was very welcoming to all of the UC students. They held many events on campus to integrate us into life on campus, such as barbecues, trivia events, campus bar events, and pizza days. Many resources were available for students in need of help regarding course curriculum or those seeking personal guidance while away from home.
    • The University of Sydney has a beautiful campus. There are an endless amount of delicious and cheap cafes and coffee shops to eat at. There are also several libraries on campus to study at if you prefer to study on campus.
  2. Are there student clubs/organizations that UC students can join?
    • N/A

HOUSING

  1. Describe your housing situation.
    • All of the UCEAP students lived at the Oaks Goldsbrough apartments. There were four students to an apartment and each apartment had two double bedrooms. The two bathrooms and bedrooms were located at the bottom level of the apartment. Upstairs, there was a full kitchen, living room with a TV, and washing machine/drier. The apartments felt very spacious and the staff members were accommodating. All students had access to the gym, pool, hot tub, and sauna in the lobby level of the apartments.
    • My favorite part about the Oaks Goldsbrough apartments was the location. They were located right next to the Darling Harbour, one of the most visited spots in Sydney. The apartments are in close proximity to a load of great restaurants, a mall, the zoo, an aquarium, and is a short walk to popular shopping areas.

FOOD

  1. Where did you eat most of your meals?
    • I ate most of my meals in the apartments. There were no meal plans provided, so students were expected to shop and prepare their own meals. However, many students opted to eat on campus during classes. There are many options for food on campus, such as pizza, sandwiches, pasta, baked goods, various asian foods, and pre-packaged meals. During the weekends, I often ate out; there are hundreds of amazing restaurants all over Sydney.
  1. How much was an average meal?  Do you have any budgeting tips for future students?
    • An average meal would cost about $12. Depending on the restaurant, the prices could range closer to $20. I would suggest to eat at home as much as possible and save your money for the weekend, so you can enjoy eating out without the stress. If you do need to buy a meal during the week, there are plenty of casual restaurants, more suited for takeout, that are reasonably priced.
  2. Would it be difficult for vegetarians/vegans and others with strict dietary restrictions to find meals?
    • It would not be difficult for those with strict dietary restrictions to find meals. Sydney is a very health conscious area, geared towards providing organic, meatless, dairy-free, or gluten-free options, regardless of the restaurant. I am a health conscious eater and never experienced issues at any restaurant. All restaurants, for the most part, provided options such as vegan meat, vegan cheese, or gluten-free bread or wraps.
  3. Describe your most memorable dining experience abroad.
    • My most memorable dining experience abroad was during Bastille Day. In Sydney, there was a weekend-long Bastille celebration. There was a giant street fair spanning over a mile of the city. There were booths selling many trinkets, but the majority of the booths sold food. I was able to eat assorted cheeses and Raclette paired with bread.
  4. What local food or drink do you miss most now that you are back?
    • Now that I am back in America, I miss how Sydney had many Parisian inspired cafes/bakeries on every street corner. The coffee in Sydney amazing, regardless of the price or location of the coffee.


HOST CITY

  1. Describe your host city.
    • Sydney is an urban area. The area I was staying in contained many skyscrapers and no residential, suburban areas. Unlike many urban areas in the United States, Sydney was not as hectic and crowded. The streets were very clean with hardly any litter.
  2. Was it easy to get around?
    • It was relatively easy to get around. In order to get to campus, students had to walk or take the bus. The walk to campus is approximately 20 minutes. If I needed to get to further locations, buses were available. At the beginning of the program, every student was given a $50 Opal card, which is the transportation system in Sydney. Personally, I rarely used public transportation and used Uber instead.
  1. Did you feel safe in your host city? Do you have any safety tips for future students?
    • I felt very safe in Sydney. I cannot recall being in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation while there. Regardless, I would recommend those studying abroad in Sydney to still be cautious and always travel with a buddy, especially at night.
  2. What were some interesting/fun things that you did in your host city?
    • While in Australia, I was able to go on several excursions. Other students and I flew to Cairns, where we snorkeled at the Great Barrier Reef and went river rafting. Another weekend, I went to Port Stephens where we were able to go sand-boarding. These dunes are the largest sand dunes in the southern hemisphere. Other than traveling to different parts of Australia, I enjoyed exploring Sydney the most. My favorite things to do in Sydney were eating out, going to the Opera House, Bondi Beach, Many Beach, and nightlife.


HOST CULTURE

  1. Describe any cultural differences you experienced while abroad.
    • As compared to other countries available to study abroad at, I believe Australia is the easiest transition for students in regards to culture shock. Australians are similar to those from California, given the exception that Australian humor is slightly different: their humor is more aggressive, so don’t take any jokes to heart. Do not tip while in Australia because it is considered rude. Also, make sure to walk on the left side of the sidewalk. The outlets have switches to turn the electricity on and off, similar to an extension strip.
  2. How did you handle culture shock?
    • Because the culture shock was not significant, no adjustments were necessary.
  3. What is your favorite aspect of your host culture?
    • I love how friendly Australians are. Most went out of their way to welcome us to their country.


TRAVEL

  1. Tell us your favorite travel story from your time abroad.
    • As mentioned earlier, over a weekend while traveling abroad, friends are I traveled to Port Stephens. We all pitched in to rent an Airbnb for a couple of nights. While in Port Stephens, we went to the sand dunes and sand-boarded. Sand boarding involves steep hills of sand and a board to slide down the hill. Other than sand-boarding, we explored the small town.


REFLECTION

  1. What was your biggest fear about studying abroad that turned out to be no big deal?
    • Before studying abroad, I was worried that I would get homesick, especially considering that I would be away from two months. However, being surrounded by so many fellow students in the same position as you is comforting. Everyone makes an effort to get to know each other and have an amazing time. In hindsight, two months seemed like a long time, but my time is Australia went by far more quickly than expected.
  1. What was your biggest challenge abroad?
    • My biggest challenge abroad was managing my money. Things can get quite expensive in Australia, especially in the excitement of studying abroad, I felt more inclined and less guilty about losing track of my budget. It was hard to resist buying things unnecessarily.
  2. How have you changed as a result of your time abroad?
    • After studying abroad, I feel I am more independent and responsible. Having to rely only on yourself forces you to learn to take care of yourself. Studying in Australia exposed me to a very different environment, which I believe, after a couple of years studying at the same school, motivated me to be more responsible with schoolwork by giving me an insight into what life after college could be like if I continue to apply myself.
  3. What is your advice to prospective UCSB EAP students?
    • For future UCSB EAP students, I advise them to branch out while abroad. In order to fully experience a new country, one should try to go outside their comfort zone. In addition, make sure to manage your time wisely between schoolwork and vacation. Lastly, plan where you would like to go and what you want to do before arriving at your host country.

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