Hi there, Gilman Blog! It’s hard to believe that as I write this, my time studying in Sydney is more than halfway over. The past 2.5 months have flown by, and it’s strange to think that in another 2 months time I’ll be home. This semester in Australia is actually my third time studying abroad. The first two times, I did a structured program with Northeastern (my home university). This semester has challenged me in completely different ways, as I am more on my own than ever before. Over the past 2.5 months, I’ve had the chance to learn more about myself and grow as both a student and an adult (scary stuff!!). In celebration of this experience so far, I wanted to share some of my top 10 highlights from my time in Sydney (so far!)
Society and Club Fair
My first glance at The University of Sydney, I was really excited about this fair because student involvement is a huge deal to me. I loved getting to see all of the unique clubs and societies offered at USyd, and to meet some of the students that are so passionately involved. Definitely a great first impression of the Uni! (especially because of the free food)
USU Market Day
An event put on by USU, or The University of Sydney Union, every month, Market Day is a chance for local vendors to come to Eastern Ave on USyds campus. I loved getting to look through all the booths down the avenue and getting a taste of the local culture here in Sydney. I also loved checking out all the local restaurants in their food trucks. Yum!
Yet another event put on by USU (they sure are busy!), this festival celebrated cultures and food from around the world. I was really excited to taste some new dishes (are you sensing a trend here?) and to see the performances by student groups. My favorite performance was definitely by the student k-pop dance cover group. It made me nostalgic for South Korea, where I spent my last semester abroad!
This is a Sydney classic. Strangely enough, while this is usually what visitors will go visit first, it took me a few weeks before I made my way up to the harbor. The first day I visited was pretty windy, but it was still so great to finally see this Sydney icon in person!
The Blue Mountains
Organized as a day trip through USyd, I was excited to get out of the city to see a bit of the Australian landscape. On the way, we stopped at Featherdale Wildlife Park and I saw koalas and got to feed kangaroos (they’re really soft!) At the actual Blue Mountains, the Three Sisters Rock formation was really cool and I enjoyed our hike.
Cherry Blossom Festival
I actually went to this festival by myself one Sunday, which was a big deal to me as it meant I was gaining the confidence to do things on my own. While it was incredibly crowded, the cherry blossom trees were still beautiful. There was also live music and a ton of food stalls to enjoy. I couldn’t help myself but get the lightbulb cup bubble tea. Worth every cent!
Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk
If there’s something Sydney is known for, it’s its beaches. I did this coastal walk one Sunday morning, and the views along the way were incredible! In total, the walk took about 2 hours, and it was crazy to look down the coast and see how far we had come.
Bondi Kite Festival
This was right at the end of our Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk, but it was really special by itself so I wanted to give it its own item on this list. The sky was literally filled with kites, some so far out that they were no more than a speck in the sky. The organizers were also trying to fly a huge whale kite, but let’s just say they were less than successful. There was such a great atmosphere at this event, as so many families had come out to enjoy the weather and try their hand at flying a kite. I loved this taste of local Sydney culture and the start of better and warmer weather here in Australia!
Yet another festival organized by USU, this was a celebration of all things pop culture. In addition to market stalls and installations, there were also activities to participate in. It was so much fun to see other people really getting into it. I even got to see He Who Must Not Be Named roaming around campus with his followers.
Finally, my most recent adventure was over Mid-semester Break, as I took a trip to New Zealand. Coming all the way to Australia, I knew I wanted to see New Zealand while I was on this side of the world. The trip was amazing, and New Zealand proved itself to be just as beautiful as I imagined. It was definitely a trip of a lifetime, and I’ll never forget it!
So, that’s what I have for you about my time in Sydney so far. It’s so strange how it feels like I’ve done so much, and so little at the same time. I’ve loved all of the new experiences I’ve had over the past few months, and I’m looking forward to what else I can discover while I am here. There is still so much to see and learn, and I’m really grateful that I get to have this opportunity and experience. Have a great day guys, I’ll see you next time!