Sydney, Australia: the best 12 months of my life Past Review

By (Communication and German, Trinity University) for

Arcadia: Sydney - University of Sydney

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was the best year of my life and I plan on moving back to Sydney right when I graduate. I made lifelong friends and fell in love with the country. There are so many places that I still need to go to in Australia which I plan on doing when I return. I also learned how to be more independent when I was abroad since I was really far away from my friends and family from home and had to rely more on myself.

Review Photos

Arcadia: Sydney - University of Sydney Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I discussed this in the previous section. There are less assignments but you will have to work a lot more on them since they are usually worth 40%-60% of your final grade. They grade a lot harder (70s are considered good grades) but they will most likely be scaled up by your home university. Most classes have a two hour lecture and a one hour tutorial each week where the lectures have 100s and students and the tutorials have around 20 students. Most professors put their lecture slides online as well as recording of their lectures. You don't have to go to lectures but you do have to go to your tutorials.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Arcadia administration in Australia was amazing. They were easy to talk to and always planned events where we could meet up and talk about our experiences. I went on hikes with them, got coffee with them, and they gave me great traveling advice. They greatly contributed to my experience and are part of the reason why I loved Australia.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in Sydney University Village (SUV) which is a university apartment complex. There are studio apartments and 5-bedroom apartments. I lived in a 5-bedroom apartment and loved my experience. My first semester abroad I lived with two girls from Kenya, a guy from Australia, and a guy from New Jersey. The second semester I lived with one girl from Boston, a guy from Tucson, a guy from Ithaca, and a guy from Asia. My program let us rank which housing options we wanted and I was very pleased with my choice. SUV is within walking distance of campus. It is in Newtown which is great area that has tons of restaurants. You can also catch buses right by SUV that go downtown (20 minute bus ride) and to the beach (40 minute bus ride).

* Food:

There are so many restaurants in Newtown that you could eat at a new restaurant each day for months. You can find almost any type of food you want also. The Thai restaurants are really cheap and there are tons of them. A lot of restaurants are cash only (or have credit card minimums of 10-15 dollars) so keep that in mind when you want to go out to eat. There are also great restaurants in Darling Harbour and in the Rocks. Going out to eat can be fairly expensive so if you are buying groceries I would suggest going to Coles or Woolworths.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Going to Australia was one of the best decisions I ever made. I am so glad I stayed there for a year because I was able to really feel like I was part of the community. Arcadia has a free excursion to Jervis Bay where you go surfing and bush walking with a local aboriginal who knows a lot about the land and the culture of her people. She also tells stories that have been passed down through the generations. It was a really fun trip!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt really safe while I was in Australia. I never got sick though so I cannot give any helpful advice on their healthcare services. However, I did go to the University's health center with a friend when she was sick and they seemed really nice and saw her right away.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent around $200 a week on food and personal expenses but that was because I went out to eat for almost every meal.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you don't want to spend a lot of money on food then I would suggest going to grocery stores and making your own food. Everything is fairly expensive in Australian so all you have to do is be a little bit more money conscious or accept that you will be spending more money than you are used to. Also, buy alcohol in the duty free shop before you get to Australia because it is really expensive. I would also bring tampons unless you are fine using them without applicators. Bring makeup from home too its a lot cheaper there.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

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  • Americans
  • International Students
  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The people
  • The place
* What could be improved?
  • I would have the orientation program in Cairns
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? There are so many amazing people in Australia and places to go that you will never be bored. Australia has so much to offer and there are so many different things to do that a diverse group of students would benefit from this program.