What an exciting first week I have had in Sydney, Australia!
The diversity, kindness and overall vibe of this city is incredible. I have felt safe, welcome, and inspired all week. Sydney is the 6th safest city in the world!
City life is new to me, since I am from a small town in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I love just walking around in the mornings and exploring, sometimes getting lost on purpose just for the thrill of navigating my way back to a familiar landmark. Jet-lag got me good for a few days, so I found myself waking up before the sun and waiting for it to light my morning adventures. *note: when you walk on the sidewalks, it is culturally appropriate to walk on the left side and people often give you a strange look if you do the opposite.
I was thrilled to find an ALDI grocery store only a five minute walk away from my housing, a large shopping mall, and the central train/bus station which will take you just about anywhere.
On my first day in Sydney, we had an Australian BBQ at a nearby restaurant courtesy of my program. The first thing I learned was that Aussie’s do not say shrimp! They call them prawns. So, technically we enjoyed some prawns on the barbie, despite the infamous “shrimp on the barbie” phrase commonly used in the states.
I’ve learned my way around the city by train, bus, and even ferry! For someone who normally can get lost just about anywhere, this is quite the accomplishment for me. Some helpful apps I use include TripView (for real time train routes) and WhatsApp to communicate with others.
The program I am with, CAPA The Global Education Network has connected me with seven wonderful housemates and an amazing internship experience while I am abroad. Although each of us is from a different part of the globe, we are all equally as excited to be here and bonded quickly over our adventurous spirits. I am happy to call them my new “mates”. We adventured to the Sydney Opera house and infamous Harbor bridge where we enjoyed a cruise with our fellow CAPA mates. My heart was happy finally getting to see these iconic landmarks!
My first Sunday afternoon was spent at Bondi beach, just a 45 minute bus ride away from the center of the city, which was filled with excitement as I shared this experience with two of my housemates, Marianne and Rachel. It was Marianne’s first time on a beach! We had a fantastic time swimming in the Pacific Ocean and walking the coast from Bondi to Coogee, another beautiful beach. The walk took us about two hours, as we kept stopping to take photos and pet all the adorable dogs along the way. Locals found it odd that we were swimming in their winter weather, but it was a perfect sunny day for a swim if you ask me.
This week I started my internship and classes. I am an Event & Administration Intern at Sport NSW, an organization that works with schools and plans events to promote disability inclusion for all sports. What a wonderful first few days I have had learning about the organization, their different programs and partners. I had the opportunity to witness a disability inclusion workshop and training at the Australian Football League on my first day!
I’ve really noticed how laid back and down to earth everyone is here. Just this morning the CEO at my internship invited me and the other intern into his office to have our morning coffee together. We chatted about our studies, careers, and families. It was great to see how humble he remains despite his success and title, and I expressed my gratitude for him taking the time to get to know us.
Something else I have noticed- Australian’s love a good mumble! They are very quiet people, whether commuting on the train or sitting in a restaurant, they keep a lower volume than I am used to experiencing in America. This is something I have had to adjust when I am going places with my fellow American roommates and we have been adapting slowly but surly to the Australian way of communicating.
I have so much to look forward to over the next 6 weeks in Sydney and can’t wait to share my experiences!