After 36 hours of traveling, the beaches and city of Sydney appeared beneath us, a picturesque welcome to the city I will call home for the next four months. While the 16 hour time difference did not prove to be too big of a challenge to overcome, there were many different cultural differences that would become clear throughout my first week in Sydney.
At Australian Universities, a residential college is different from a typical dorm in the States in that it provides a much stronger sense of community and pride. The rooftop terrace of Basser College, my home on campus, provides views of the city and coasts surrounding the University of New South Wales, as well as this sunset from my first night.
After spending so much time traveling from frigid New York, it was time to trade snow for sand and hit the beach on our first full day in Australia. Coogee Beach is just a short 2.5k walk or bus from campus, and walking along the coast in either direction will lead to countless beaches of all sizes. With temperatures in the mid 80s (around 30 C) and a thinned ozone layer over Australia, the sun in Australia is relentless and very different from a typical sunny day anywhere else in the world, as several classmates quickly learned.
Not only is the coast of Australia prime for surfing and sunbathing, but also running. As a runner, my favorite way to get to know a new city or location is by exploring on one of my daily runs, often getting lost on the streets and paths along the way. If you can get around some stairs and hills, the coast around Coogee has some spectacular views of which I have only seen the tip of the iceberg, and look forward to continue exploring.
What would my first days in a new part of the world be without a little bit of touristy sightseeing? The extensive bus, train, and ferry routes covered by the Opal card, make areas in and around Sydney easily accessible, with new things to see and do just a short ride from campus. Walking along the water on the coast of Sydney provides for views of some of the most iconic sights in all of Australia, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
Sydney is also home to the Royal Botanic Gardens which contrast the surrounding urban landscape of the city, and provide countless paths and trails with beautiful foliage and views of the harbour. All of these areas certainly lived up to expectations, and I can’t wait to see what else Sydney and all of Australia has in store for me over the next few months!