After months of extensive research, which entails following every Australian Instagram account possible, and a complete day of travelling, I have finally made it to the land of Vegemite, Tim Tams, and the Hemsworth family. I’ve only been in Sydney for a few weeks, but it is already starting to feel like a second home. Because moving halfway across the world can be quite challenging, I thought I would share a few tips that helped me settle in Sydney.
Firstly, it is important to note that there is a 14 hour time difference between Philadelphia and Sydney. Therefore, jet-lag is unavoidable. However, there are a couple of ways to battle through it. The number one must do is to stay active and by all means avoid the 1 hour “nap” that will inevitably turn into a ten hour long sleep coma. Once you have arrived to Australia, unpack and get going. Explore your new surroundings, For example, take a walk around Glebe Point Rd for some of the cutest coffee shops or do some apartment and supply shopping at the Broadway Mall which has both Target and Kmart. Unlike the United States, Target is a small store while Kmart is the more popular option due to their wider variety of products and cheaper prices. After some walking and shopping, you can go back home to enjoy a good night sleep at a reasonable time, so you are ready to take over Sydney in the morning.
Secondly, get an Opal Card as soon as you land in Sydney. This will be your main form of transportation around Australia. One perk of being an exchange student is that you can apply through the opal website for a concession card that gives you half price discounts on all trips. During my first week here I realized that this is the most affordable way to travel.. Public transportation is extremely well organized and efficient. There is an opal app that allows you to check the balance on your card and plan trips based on your location and the buses/trains available. Also, an important day to keep in mind are Sunday Fundays where you can enjoy unlimited days of travel for only $2.50. This makes Sundays the perfect day to take a trip to the Blue Mountains, Bondi Beach, or Manly Beach.
Lastly, the secret to vegemite is two parts butter to one part vegemite. All these things helped my move to Sydney as smooth as possible.