The Real Sydney? : My First Module

By Mia Campbell, University of New South Wales, Australia

‘The First Invasion’ Painting at The Museum of Sydney

I arrived in Sydney last week, studying at the University of New South Wales and to my pleasant surprise (not initially) I have to study an extra module as an international student. Although, before I mistakenly identified myself as a sloppy student willing to do the bare minimum: it goes without saying this module has really opened my eyes to the Real Sydney and what it has to offer. ‘Sydney History and Crime’ has allowed me to develop my previous ideas of this city: gorgeous, vibrant, with a wide array of beaches and a winter climate ridiculing the UK’s current summer. I now recognise that Sydney possesses these qualities and more, and I feel indebted to this university for showing me that so early on.

The image above shows me writing this exact blog in the sunshine at my university campus, not an umbrella in sight may I mention! A heads up to anyone planning on going to Australia, our infamous weather compared to theirs is of topical conversation (so brace yourselves).

Anyway I digress, what I would like to stress is that there is so much more than pretty beaches and their warm climate, you just have to dig a little deeper. The Sydney History and Crime module explores the aboriginal community of the past and present in addition to other topical histories which have an evident legacy to Australian’s day to day life.

As an exchange student, studying geography, understandably I did not know a large extent of criminology and history and felt as if I had been plunged in the deep end, rather unwillingly if I may say. These feelings of apprehension abruptly faded away into thin air.  Not only has its walking tours through the botanical garden and visits to the museums, which are all free by the way, set alight my curiosity and knowledge, but I do feel more at home by simply knowing more about the place I am living in. It’s really as simple as that. I feel that these international modules are purposely done to achieve just this, and at the same time get a better idea for the transport system, which iconic and hidden gems to visit, alongside in general just getting a feel for the place you’re living in.

On the Ferry to Cockatoo island in Circular Quay (part of our module to experience the dry dock constructed by convicts on this island).

I am not an expert traveller, in fact I live by google maps otherwise I would be stranded in the Australian outback right about now. However, diving in the deep end, making mistakes and doing do overs and experiencing a place for what it is and not as it is shown to be, might be the only way to truly settle. There is still much I want to learn and do on my bucket list this year, yet this module was a perfect step within my academic journey and new life in Sydney. 

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