I knew before university that I wanted to study abroad because I’ve always loved to travel and so the opportunity to live and learn in another part of the world was one that I didn’t want to miss. When I applied towards the end of first-year, I had little idea where I would end up. The University of Sydney was my third choice of five, mainly because it’s so far away and the flights alone make it an expensive option. But I still wanted to keep it in the running since I thought going there would be so much fun. When I found out that was where I was going, I practically burst with excitement.
The next few months were quite busy with admin, such as plane tickets, visa, health insurance, accommodation etc. I shopped around a lot and used student offers (such as STA) to try and keep costs down. I also opted to stay at one of the university halls of residence because I thought it would be easier to meet new people. Then, finally, I was on my first ever long-haul flight (and the 24-hour journey was LONG) on my way to Australia. The first challenge when I landed was adjusting to a completely different season and time zone. I went in mid-February and so left snow in England and arrived in 30˚C heat. Plus, by my first night in Sydney, I was surviving on 2 hours sleep within the previous 48 hours. But when I landed, I couldn’t sleep straight away because I was trying to fight the jet lag and, more importantly, I didn’t have any bedding or towels. Nevertheless, after some shopping, a shower and a good night’s sleep I was ready to explore.
Within a few weeks, I had met people from all over the world and made some really great friends. We explored lots of Sydney together, such as the Opera House, Botanic gardens, Darling Harbour, the Grounds of Alexandria, New Town and the Blue Mountains. Additionally, I managed to squeeze in a quick trip to New Zealand before I came back to the UK, which was a lot of fun. One of the best things about Sydney for me was the food. Due to the multicultural population, it has some of the best Asian food outside of Asia. Also, there are amazing vegan options, including a monthly vegan market. Another thing I loved was the beaches but be sure to smear yourself in sun-cream because they really aren’t joking about the strength of the Australian sun! Sydney’s proximity to the beach gives it a generally very chilled atmosphere, which was a nice change of pace from London. In addition, studying at an Australian university showed me a completely different perspective and gave me the opportunity to study things I wouldn’t have been able to at home.
Overall, I had an absolutely amazing experience. Although at times it was a challenge being so far away from home, I learnt so much and made memories that I’ll cherish for life.
If you want to read more about studying abroad, read about Lucy’s time in Washington DC.
Check out the King’s website for more information on the Study Abroad programme, with tips on how to apply.