Today marks two week since I moved to Sydney. I haven’t written the second blogged I promise last time, I’ve only just set up a bank account and literally just enrolled in a subject that starts in an hour…
I can finally say that my life is feeling less upside down.
Nothing can prepare you for moving 10,476 miles away from home by yourself for a year. Moving from the middle of summer into the middle of the Sydney’s coldest winter in 60 years. Living 9 hours ahead of everyone back home. Starting in the middle of an academic year while everyone at home still has 2 months of holiday. Not to mention jetlag preventing you from sleeping longer than 2 hours at a time, most of the time falling asleep after 5am… It has not been an easy move. And yet, I am in love. I have the biggest adventure of my life ahead of me and if the past 2 weeks are anything to go by it’s going to be incredible. I’ve totally made myself at home and I don’t even know where to begin describing my new life. My first tip would be: do not drop your phone down the toilet. As they say, you only miss something once it’s gone. Sorry family, friends and boyfriend… I missed my phone. I will explain my woes of phone-less life, but first let me show off/sell my choice of Study Abroad University:
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
I’m in an 8 bedroom self-catered apartment style flat in UNSW village and so naturally was expecting it to be similar to the large flats in Murano in Freshers’ week: full of people and parties. Therefore it was a surprise when I arrived to nobody. I was literally the only person in my flat and genuinely thought I was living by myself for the next year. Walking around campus the next day and similarly it was a bit of a ghost town, which was when I realised that their “winter holiday” was still underway. Fortunately, I arrived just a few days before everyone else returned from the break and I’ve been able to explore campus in its prime since then. I’m sorry Glasgow, but UNSW has converted me to campus lifestyle. I am extremely lazy and having everything in one place is amazing. Being less than a 3-minute walk from restaurants, bars, laundry, the library and all of my lecture theatres is enough of a selling point for me. The rest of campus has a very American feel to it and I’ve never felt like I was in a film more than walking about with everyone wearing University branded clothes around me as I fumbled about with my hand drawn maps (I’ll explain…) trying to find a bank/supermarket.
The campus is actually really big and it’s easy to become absorbed in uni life and forget that you are living in SYDNEY!! The university itself is in the suburb Kensington which is a 15-minute bus from CBD (the centre of Sydney) and a 20 minute walk from Coogee Beach which is beautiful even in winter so the whole city is easily accessible. I’ve tried to do a lot of touristy things before I take the city for granted: having a drink in the Opera Bar with a view of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge; exploring the clubs (my favourite being Ivy which has a swimming pool!) and walking the coastal route from Coogee to Bondi Beach. I’ve also got my RSA (license needed to work with alcohol) and a job at Café Randwick so I have been incredibly busy and lectures haven’t even started yet!
I think I have gushed enough about my new city and university, so I’ll leave you with a list I complied of why not having a phone in a new city is actually a good thing.
- You are forced to explore without being directed by a machine: I gained the new skill of map drawing (see picture below…) I’d have to draw an old school map to attempt to follow because I couldn’t rely on Google maps to guide me. I may have looked like the ultimate tourist constantly pulling out a notepad and trying to find street signs but I honestly feel like I know the area a lot better than I would have done otherwise. There’s also something enjoyable about taking a wrong turn and finding somewhere new.
- You are more sociable: there is the slight downside of not being able to add someone on Facebook etc when you meet them which is especially bad when you have the memory of a goldfish; but you do become a lot more keen. You can’t just make spur of the moment plans which encouraged me to make more lunch dates/beach visits etc
- You can’t rely on social media: this helped me feel a lot more settled. I’m not going to lie and say I hate social media – I am the worst for a long snapchat story or a stream of facebook pictures documenting my adventures but too much is definitely a bad thing. Not being able to stalk my friends and family back home 24/7 helped me feel less homesick and I felt the need to do things I would enjoy rather than things that were “instagram-worthy”.
I am not advising you to break your phone. After a week only being contactable if I brought my laptop everywhere and pulled it out in random public places with wifi, I gave in and spent all my wages on a new phone. (If you are looking to buy anything apple, come to Sydney: they are SO CHEAP!) Anyways, I’m going on a windsurfing trip to Jervis Bay on Friday to adventure further down the coast so will let you know how that goes next time! Again, Facebook or email me anything.