Sydney Stole my Heart (and my Wallet)
Exactly two weeks after arriving in Sydney I can undoubtedly say this was the best decision of my life. All of my anxieties, worries, and fears were left in the trail of the Qantas airplane we flew on. From the moment I reached the airport I had already met dozens of new people, and now 14 days later I have adopted a new sense of independence, confidence, and eagerness to explore my new home.
Alongside these new traits though has come a serious toll on my bank account. Sydney is beautiful, but you certainly pay the price to live here. A small coffee from a street vendor (and keep in mind a small in Australia equates to kiddie cup in Australia), can ring up to $4.50 AUD. A single load of laundry costs $8, and if you want a yummy dinner be ready to throw in at least $30. All of this doesn’t even include the absurd night life costs, with cover charges up to $30 and drinks at least $10 a pop. For those of you looking to study in Sydney I by no means say this to deter you, but definitely be prepared. On the plus side, minimum wage here is around $20 AUD/hour so I quickly took it upon myself to find what they call “casual” work. Being a study abroad student this type of work is perfect because it requires the least amount of commitment. The job I found at an after school day care allows me to change my availability every week and has certainly put an ease on my mind and bank account.
We really hit the ground running when we arrived in Sydney with orientation entailing a walking tour of the city, a day trip to the Blue Mountains, and a sunset dinner cruise throughout the harbour. On day 4 we moved into our student apartments and were able to go shopping and get situated. That itself took 3 days considering neither Publix nor Bed Bath and Beyond are popular here. All was well after a little exploring, and I learned that Woolworth’s is a great Publix substitute and K-Mart helped with some apartment basics. A group of girls and I planned a spontaneous trip to Melbourne the following week since we didn’t start class for ages. Flying domestic in Australia is MUCH simpler than in America, security took about 5 minutes to get through which was a pleasant surprise. Melbourne reminded me a lot of NY, and the Great Ocean Road tour simply took my breath away. Only surprise- – hostel life. I guess I should’ve expected it for only $20 AUD/night, but the living accommodations were far from 5-star to say the least. However, the communal aspect of a hostel is exciting because you’ll meet tons of other backpackers with the same agenda!
Needless to say I can’t believe two weeks has already flown by. I have so much to look forward to and can’t wait to see what the future holds. In the upcoming weeks we’ve already booked a Hunter Valley wine tour, One Fish Two Fish extreme adventures spring break trip, and potentially a long weekend in New Zealand. The wanderlust is real.