Sydney: Nice Place to Visit; Wouldn't Want to Live There Past Review

By (Geoscience, Wellesley College) for

University of Sydney: Sydney - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes, study abroad was worthwhile. Once I realized that it was my experience to have and I did not have to define it by anyone else's experiences, it was easier for me to enjoy the culture and my time in Sydney. Study abroad really is what you make of it. I tried as much as I could to fit into the culture and do the things that my local friends did because I could always come back to Sydney to be a tourist but I may never get to live there again the way I did for the past five months.

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.

The workload was less than the one at Wellesley but still enough to be challenging. The grading system was easy enough to understand once it is explained. The scale is not the same as it is in the US as far as letter grades go so for example getting an 80 on a paper is great in Sydney whereas that's considered pretty average here. The classes were huge in comparison to Wellesley so I found that I did not have to attend lecture all the time that had 200 people in it. Instead attending my tutorials which were discussion based was enough for me to learn and master the material efficiently. Having lectures recordings and slides posted online was also convenient.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I did not go with a program; however, going on my own was a rewarding and challenging experience. I was on my own when I arrived and literally did not know a single person. It was nice to get a completely new start and to challenge myself by being out of my comfort zone without people to automatically meet and potentially bond with.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I shared a two bedroom apartment with another student from Singapore. The neighboorhood we lived in was lovely and close to uni and the heart of the city. The apartment came fully furnished. However, for the amount of money we each paid per week compared to friends that I had with similar setups it appears that we were being tremendously overcharged.

* Food:

There are many cheap Thai and Indian places around uni campus that are good to eat out at. Look for lunch and Happy Hour specials. The quantity of food served is generally a bit less than in the US; however, the quality was almost always good for me.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I went and played in the Australian University Games in the Gold Coast and that was one of if not the best experience I had while abroad. It was pricey but more than worth it.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Overall, I felt safe in Sydney. There are some places not to travel alone at night just like any major city but most areas I felt safe with a group of friends. I had to use the University Health Services once while there and they were very efficient and helpful.

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? Sydney is quite an expensive city to live in. Alcohol is almost double the cost it is in the US. Getting into clubs is expensive. Transportation is cheapest by bus and by train as opposed to taxis. Food is also quite a bit more expensive than it is in the States. The local markets, however, are great for cheap, fresh fruits and vegetables (much better quality and cheaper than the supermarkets). I would say personal expenses per week can run anywhere from 50-100 if you are on an extremely tight budget.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? There are fees for pretty much everything in Sydney. I would advise purchasing a Student Union membership at the University of Sydney because members receive a lot of discounts on campus and at all events and clubs/orgs.


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

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • People
* What could be improved?
  • Housing