Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sydney, Australia, *Lauren Krensky

Where did you study abroad?
Sydney, Australia (lived just outside at Coogee Beach)

For how long? 
One semester, Spring semester my Junior year

Which program?

Predeparture Preparations?
Minimal. I did open a Bank of America bank account. They have a partnership with the bank Westpac which is prominent in Australia. Whenever I took money out from Westpac banks with my Bank of America card I was not charged the $5 service fee that many other banks charged.
Beginning experiences and feelings upon arrival?
Moving in was scary since I was all of a sudden around the world with no one I knew. But, seeing the beach and moving into my apartment two blocks away assuaged many of my concerns. Also IFSA-Butler had an orientation for everyone involved in their program so I felt more comfortable being in a foreign city after I had met a few other people in my same situation. The program also showed us around the city a bit in the first days - we visited the Sydney zoo, did double decker bus tours, etc. Those sorts of activities made me feel less overwhelmed since I had a remote understanding of the city after.

Best part
My favorite part of my semester in Sydney was my location. Living at Coogee Beach made me feel like I had an actual home, rather than just living in an apartment in the city. The area of Coogee is very cute with lots of little shops and restaurants and is fun to walk around. It didn't hurt that the breathtaking beach was only two blocks from my apartment. It was also ideal because I had the community feeling at home and could go into the city to explore via a short bus ride.
I was also there for the World Cup. Sydney was involved in the World Cup's Fan Fest and had giant screens up in the harbour that played all the games throughout the night. Some of my best memories abroad are sitting outside watching the US play on the screens in the harbour at 4:30 in the morning.

Any difficulties? (cultural, language, etc)
Although I loved living in Coogee, some people may view living there as difficult. The abroad kids joke about Coogee being "Little America." Many of the study abroad programs in Sydney have their students live in Coogee so there are tons of American students located there. This fact makes it easy to find American friends, but living so close to Americans can also act as a crutch. It gets difficult to leave "Little America" to meet Australians unless you really want to.

Information about Sydney (best places to go, watch out for, etc..)
The American dollar is not as strong as it used to be. Food in general is reasonably expensive so I often cooked at home. Alcohol is incredibly expensive in Australia (!!!!) and most Americans only drink box wine (called goon). The beer there tastes slightly different but is good (I liked Pure Blonde).

Favorite places in the city: 
Bars: I loved going out around Darling Harbour - my favorite bar there was Cargo Bar (right on the water). George Street is also a popular place to go out - The Ivy is a really swanky bar that you have to stop by at least once to see (no cover on Fridays, but dress up!). The Rocks is another fun area but a little nicer - The Argyle is a nice bar there.
Restaurants: The Australian Hotel in the Rocks is awesome. Must try their kangaroo pizza, although all are great. Pancakes on the Rocks is a 24 hour restaurant that has all kinds of food but it's fun to go in the wee hours of the morning to have pizza. People eat meat pies (Harry's is the most famous place for those) and kebabs for every meal. Also, if you're ever in Coogee - A Fish Called Coogee is my favorite restaurant. All fresh seafood that you pick out on the spot and they cook for you. Amazing.
Beaches: Coogee, Bondi, Maroubra
Must dos: Sydney Zoo; Sydney Fish Market; boat trip across to Manly beach; Beach walk from Coogee to Bondi (!!); Visit the Opera House and Botanical Gardens; Paddy's Market
Places worth visiting: Great Barrier Reef area (stay in Cairns or Port Douglas); Byron Bay; Melbourne. Also if you get the opportunity, I highly recommend visiting New Zealand -- breathtaking.


  1. When I get to study abroad in australia, I would love to visit Byron Bay too.

  2. Over 2.5 million people have gone to Australia as international students, and many of them have gone out to make a difference in the world. If you want to study something, you will be able to find it in Australia. Some of the most popular fields to study are the natural sciences (biology, zoology, chemistry, etc), mathematics, engineering, social sciences (sociology, anthropology, archaeology, psychology, etc), and medical fields (even MD’s and PhD’s). If you want to study it, it’s likely that you can find a university in Australia that offers a program in it. Check about study abroad programs in Australia at:

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