By Adrienne Cytto, Staff Writer
I have now been in Australia for two weeks, and I have loved every minute of it. I can finally say I made the right decision in choosing to study abroad in Australia – somewhere I have wanted to visit since my childhood.
As a student in the School of Education, I had the option to study abroad in London, England, Quito, Ecuador, or Sydney, Australia. While I have never traveled to Europe before, I figured London would be the easiest out of the three to visit after college. Ecuador would also be more convenient to visit than Australia, but I was unsure whether or not I would enjoy the aspect of living in a home-stay environment, and living in a Spanish speaking country had both its pros and cons. Ultimately, that left me with the one option I had no doubts about, besides it being the farthest away. My dream has become a reality, going from painting the Sydney Opera House on canvas, to seeing it right in front of me in the heart of the Sydney Harbor.
As an RA for the program, I came two days early along with the Program Assistants that will also be working this semester. Having my friend Stephanie as a traveling companion for the long journey from New York to Sydney made the trip a little less daunting, knowing someone else was having this same new experience as I was. I would definitely suggest anyone going abroad to travel with the group flights if offered, or with at least one friend if possible. It makes traveling a lot easier and much more enjoyable!
It really is amazing that BU has its own facilities right in the center of Sydney. The connected buildings include offices, lecture halls, and a library in one building, and apartment style rooms, laundry, and a roof deck in the next building. The BU Sydney Academic Center is located right by the Central Business District (CBD) and has easy access to all buses and trains, comparable to the Kenmore Square area of BU’s campus.
While I have had time to adjust to life in a new country, there are idiosyncrasies (some more important to pay attention to than others) that remind me that although I am in a country that speaks the same language, it is a completely different culture and environment. Here are the top 10 things I’ve come across so far that remind me I am actually in Sydney and learning the way of life here:
1. Aussie accents
2. Aussie slang
3. Aussie expressions
4. Cars drive on the other side of the road
5. Buses have their own lane and drive very close to the curb
6. Documents are size A4, slightly longer than our 8.5 x 11 paper
7. Pumpkin is actually squash here and iced coffee is not always iced coffee – it’s coffee with ice cream, which I am totally fine with! And you have to try some uniquely Australian foods such as Vegemite and Anzac biscuits too!
8. No tipping in restaurants, taxis, etc. (unless you have exceptional service – then maybe 10%)
9. No tax on clothing and food (more expensive though – minimum wage here is $17 after all!)
10. Queen Elizabeth II is on all the coin currency here and collecting change is much more lucrative here than in the U.S. – $1 and $2 currency are in coins, not bills!
Stay tuned throughout the semester for more posts about my adventures in the land down under!