Sydney Australia: Best Experience of My Life! But I'm Still in Debt Because of it. Past Review

By (Actuarial, Bryant University) for

Arcadia: Sydney - University of Sydney

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The knowledge you gain of other cultures and the independence that you develop from this experience is priceless.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Extremely different. Lecturers do not want to know their students. The "tutes" (tutorials) which are the only small group sessions are jokes and you don't learn anything from them. However, the classes were some of the most interesting I have ever taken. It was very difficult to adjust to 200-300 people per class coming from a small school that has 20-30 students per class. The workload was definitely manageable. Also, the designated courses for study abroad/international students are jokes. You barely have to do work, so having one of them in your course load makes it much easier to enjoy your time abroad.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Arcadia staff were extremely nice, friendly and knowledgeable. However, there seemed to definitely be a lack of events for the group to partake in. Could have used more options to go out into the city, get together to eat, go on a cruise, anything. After orientation there were few options for things to do with the Arcadia group. Also, the larger trips that you pay extra to go on were not compensated for the size of the number of students with Arcadia. Trying to go on one of these events was like trying to get concert tickets that sell out in 20 minutes. You literally had to wait by your computer and try to book your spot the second it became available. If they're going to have such a large group of students they need to find a way to accommodate everyone so people don't have to fight for spots in the hosted events.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living with Australians was one of the best parts of going abroad. They became my best friends. DO NOT LIVE WITH FRIENDS FROM HOME. It would have ruined the entire experience of studying abroad. I lived in the Sydney village which has a perfect location - right beside school, 10 minute bus ride from the city, and local bars everywhere. The apartments are nice and you feel completely safe the entire time. They have free internet which is huge especially when you want to skype home whenever you feel like it. Only complaint would be no air conditioning. It was very tough to adjust to the heat. I had to buy 3 fans and take benadryl when I first got there.

* Food:

SYDNEY IS SO EXPENSIVE. What ever you plan to bring financially, bring twice that much. Food is so incredibly expensive. I would walk close to a mile just to avoid paying for the bus to cut down on my grocery trips. You'll learn to cook very quickly because you will pay an arm and leg if you want to eat out. There are some reasonable Thai options all over, but reasonable means $10 for the food and $3.50 for the drink. It adds up very very quickly. Food overall in the country is good but its hard to enjoy sometimes because of the cost.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Every part of studying abroad was fantastic. My best example was that I played rugby with a local team because I play here in the States and it was one of my favorite memories. Every Australian I met was extremely friendly and fun to hang out with. My advice to getting to know Aussies would be to just go up and try to meet everyone as a person, not an American. My experiences showed that people who go around boasting that they are from the States and how great it is there are looked at as extremely arrogant. They don't care where you're from, they just want to meet you and have a good time. No need to disrespect them by bringing up what you do and do not like about their country.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt perfectly safe the entire time while in Sydney. Obviously, don't do anything stupid but I never had a concern about safety.

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)

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Location
* What could be improved?
  • Advice for financing the trip
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Any person who wants to experience life in a large city and a huge university should go to the University of Sydney. Anyone will truly love it here. My one piece of caution though would be to seriously be concerned about how much you will spend. Sydney is one of the most expensive places to live in the world.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

New York, New York

Course Department: History
Instructor: Stephen Murray Robertson
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The workload consisted of three research papers and going to tutorials. The lecturer was by far the best I've ever had. The class was so fascinating. It was a foreign perspective one of the most essential parts of American history. I'm a math major, but this class was definitely my favorite. The research papers were somewhat difficult to learn how to do but insightful and interesting once completed. Great course.
Credit Transfer Issues: None. Perfect History elective transfer