Things I WISH I knew and SORTED before I arrived in Sydney

By Mia Campbell, University of New South Wales, Australia

Studying abroad on the other side of the world is already daunting, so it is important to feel at home swiftly. Admittedly this does take time, but the list I will commence is a faster next step in the right direction.

  1. Sorting Accommodation:

I stayed for a week in a hostel ‘Mad Monkey’ in Coogee which was a great way to make friends and meet students, locals and people travelling alike. I could not sort out accommodation without an Australian phone number, so it was a harsh trial flat finding. But if you are proactive and arrive a week minimum before summer term begins it is doable.

Most convenience stores like -‘Emzysmart’ supply sims which is an easy first step. However, it should be noted that one of my friends has been here for over a month and still has not found a flat. Sydney accommodation is short and has now been labelled a ‘housing crisis’ as prices are not student friendly. “Flatmates” was my best friend during this time, my budget sat on 350 dollars maximum(180£) a week but I managed to get one for 150£ in Kingsford (ten minute walk from university). I would rather have this than a place in Coogee for example so I have more money to travel and do things, but this is down to your own personal preference. Plus, the light rail and public transport is very efficient, so you will not be missing out. You really find that you do not spend that much time indoors anyway. So even though it was almost impossible to find a sharing house with friends, it did not make much difference; make the most of the outdoors!

  1. Bank account

My bank is with the Australian Commonwealth which you can sort out online before arriving, as it takes a week to receive your card. The significance of this is that it is easier to get a job and cash out- if the landlord requires so- to pay rent without a large exchange rate. I did this via Monzo which only charges less than 1% exchange rate -this is much better than getting it out via Monzo ATM which does tot up over time. 

  1. Go to Optional Seminars, O week and Orientation

It is easy to say no to an optional requirement, especially in the first term when you only have one module a week at University of New South Wales. But I urge you to go. In fact I met a lovely group of people from the USA at orientation. I owe thanks to Orientation events as I have spent lovely days out and fun nights out with since, in addition to free BBQ and gelato! Plus their uni accommodation provided by their university has a hot tub and a pool … I am not saying I am friends with them because of this, that would indeed be very shallow of me, but it is definitely a bonus!

The quicker you do these things, and complete the admin, the quicker you will feel settled. I was a bit of a mess- leaving things last minute initially with the mindset ‘it will come around eventually’- but as reality set in I realised this was not the reality.

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