It was 5 weeks ago today that I left Scotland. I’ll be honest, when I first arrived it was heaps surreal and I really didn’t feel like I was on the other side of the world. Having been here for a while and adjusting to the Aussie lifestyle, I have noticed a few differences between here and Scotland so thought I’d make a list of the 7 things I’ve observed upon arriving in Sydney:
1) Their winter is very much winter
I was warned that it would be cold, I had looked up the weather before going and I had packed a coat. Yet I hadn’t quite got rid of the “it’s always going to be hot, it’s Australia” thought. Trust the winter I arrive to be the coldest winter in 60 years. While everyone at home is still out enjoying the festival in daylight at 10pm, it gets dark here around 5pm and I legit needed to steal a radiator from my flatmate for the first week to stop myself shivering for the whole night.
It’s only when I facetimed home that I realised I may have acclimatised as I sat complaining how cold it had been on Coogee beach that day because it was only 16 degrees… while they were sitting in shorts and a t-shirt in the exact same temperature.
*lookout for my future blog where I complain about the heat in Summer (classic Scots weather chat)
2) They abbreviate everything
This is not exaggerated. Honestly, Aussie’s are the laziest when it comes to how long they speak for – in every sentence they’ll shorten at least one word. This didn’t make working in a busy café for the first few shifts easy: “How’re you going? I’ll have a reg, skim cap 2 sugars” ….right
My new Australian vocabulary…
- Duvet = Doona
- Flip Flops = Thongs
- McDonalds = Maccas
- Vest top = Singlet
- Chav/ned = Bogan
- Candy Floss = Fairy Floss
- Scots = Pommys
3) They have better traffic lights than us
Brits, we’re doing something wrong – we need to adopt this little tune to go with our traffic lights. Who knew crossing the road could be so entertaining.
(apparently you can’t upload videos straight onto this so I’ve been weird and made a youtube video of traffic lights)
4) Their lectures are too long
In Glasgow I found myself counting down the minutes until a 50 minute lecture was over because I couldn’t concentrate. Here, I have 3 hour long lectures. This means having two lectures back to back on a Tuesday makes me never want to leave my bed. Unfortunately, class sizes are a lot smaller here and a percentage of your mark is lecture participation so I just need to grin and bare 6 hours straight. They also have strange timings – on a Monday I start at 6pm and end at 9pm. Despite the length, I actually quite enjoy this way of learning – you have to prepare and do readings before the lectures so you actually understand what the lecturer is on about and the class size means they know you as a person rather than a mass class.
5) It’s expensive
If it wasn’t for the exchange rate (I feel like I get a 50% discount on everything) I think I would be very much broke. The Economist recently ranked Sydney as the 5th most expensive city in the world, and living here I can understand why. It’s not surprising to pay $7 for a loaf of bread and if I was looking to buy property I would be in trouble. To buy a house on Bondi Beach, you’d be forking out on average around $2,004,000.
Luckily, house prices don’t impact me but my pressing issue is the extortionate cost of alcohol. I’ve been in a club where a single vodka coke is $12!!! There is ways round this though – they don’t sell alcohol in supermarkets, you have to go to a bottle-o and I’ve found one that sells 5 litres of “goon” (boxed wine) for $10. That is crazy cheap… a pound for a litre of wine. Yes please.
6) They can’t do chocolate
Chocolate just isn’t the same here. It doesn’t melt in your mouth and it tastes too sweet and sugary. This was heart breaking to find out… packages filled with Galaxy and Cadburys are very much welcome.
7) But they can do sushi…
….and burritos, and McDonalds after nights out, and hot dogs in clubs, and sushi (there is sushi everywhere and it’s fab), and Tim Tams, and smoothies, and juices AND nutella ball milkshakes (OMG) … I am such a foodie and Sydney is the best place for this. Honestly, I am in food heaven and I’ve hardly crossed off any of my “Sydney Foodie Bucket List”
8) The birds are loud and ugly
I thought British pigeons/ seagulls were annoying – nope, not in comparison to these birds of death. Either, one of these terrifying dementor birds are walking beside you on campus or about 100 are up a tree trying to be the loudest. Like, they are so loud (I’ll try post a video next time).
Overall, it may be different and Sydney may have its quirky Australian ways but I still love it. I’ve adjusted to my lecture timetable and spending nights in the elib, balancing this with shifts at work and adventuring in the city and I have the most amazing Aussie family to share this with. Although I’m missing everyone back home a lot, the thought of this next year is still so exciting.
Again: Facebook or email (2074638M@student.gla.ac.uk) for more info about studying abroad