It has been three weeks since I arrived in Sydney. So far I have only been in classes for a week, so my time here so far has been free to embody my inner tourist and learn more about the beautiful city I get to call home for five months.
Well, you might be wondering, did you do the basics? Did you see Bondi, the Opera House, the gardens? A quick answer: yes. But not only have I already seen the “big three” bucket list items, I have been to Bondi, Bronte, Coogee, Tamarama and Manly Beach; I did the Bondi coastal walk (a must-do!); watched a proposal at the Sydney Opera House; took the ferry; am now proficient at navigating their public transportation system, which includes trains, ferries, light rails, and buses; attended a Rugby game; took surf life saving lessons; went to the Blue Mountains; fed a Kangaroo; went to the Glebe markets; found many beautiful parks (a personal favorite of mine is the hidden gem, Pirrama park); went to the Sydney World Pride Parade; and have met many incredible, life-loving people.
Clearly, it has been a whirlwind of an experience—and these activities do not even include my orientation week or classroom experience at Sydney. What can I say? It is truly a city with so much to offer, for everyone. Each day I find myself struggling to decide between a plethora of choices of what to see and do, which is not a bad predicament to find myself in.
Also, a huge plus side to Sydney is the weather. Coming from the tundra of Minnesota where there is currently a snow storm, going to school in Wisconsin—which is only a few degrees warmer—to a place where I have been soaking in the sun almost everyday makes me grateful for the life I am living.
But aside from all the page-turning, eye-catching aspects of my time here, what I have enjoyed the most is meeting new people who have helped make a large city feel like home. It all started with a shuttle bus. I arrived at the airport, alone, more than halfway across the world, without knowing anyone else coming here. But, thanks to a shuttle service I met someone I can now call my best friend in Australia, Amelia. We both took the same shuttle service from the airport, and not only did she just so happen to be a student at The University of Sydney, but she is also on a semester exchange, knew no one, and lives in the same accommodation as me. A small coincidence that changed my life so fast. Now, since the day I have arrived, I have traversed a large portion of the Sydney area with Amelia by my side. I have met new friends with her, carried way too heavy bags of groceries for 20 minutes, found the quaintest bookshops and best reading places, rated the local chai, beached, strolled, observed, and enjoyed every inch of Sydney that we have been able to.
Sydney is beautiful for its nature, its people, its school, and for who I get to share it with.