First Breaths in Sydney

Krishang Nair, ‘25,  is a Behavioral Economics major studying at UNSW Sydney this Fall 2023. 

That first breath out of the airport was overwhelming. I wished for it back in Philly when I was first applying for the program, I longed for it whilst packing, and I craved it once the scratch of the airplane wheels hit the tarmac. Chills ran down my arm as I stepped out of Kingsford-Smith International Airport, the air enveloped my face as I closed my eyes. Salty, crisp, and undeniably warm for 6:40 a.m., but there were chills nonetheless. The excitement I felt was intoxicating. So much potential, so much to be explored and experienced in a continent, a country, I had previously never stepped foot in. 

I had been traveling with a few acquaintances, some Drexel students I knew of, but barely. Having not truly known them prior to flying across the world, our shared origin while in a foreign land so far from home quickly formed a bond among us. However, after leaving the airport, I parted ways with the three of them as we were going to be living in different places. After hopping into my Uber, I was driven through Sydney with glorious views of the Harbor Bridge and the Sydney skyline in the background. Though it was only my first day, I was going to see all of it. 

Despite the yawns my brain tortured me with, or the weight of my eyelids seemingly increasing with every passing minute, I was determined to stay awake for the entirety of the day. Jetlag would not claim me as its victim on this trip, of that I was sure. Once I arrived and initially settled in, I met up with a distant uncle who had been living in Sydney with his family for nearly a decade. How lucky was I to have family I never knew about in this city? I was only recently introduced to this uncle of mine a few weeks prior to my journey, and he seemed to be a super friendly person. It was only on my first day in Sydney that I understood truly how fortunate I was to have him so close by. He took me grocery shopping, drove me across the harbor bridge, and we sat in a beautiful little coffee shop on the other side of the bridge in a town called “Kirribilli.” Glancing at the menu, I noticed several of the beverages were called by locals by different names. My uncle recommended a “flat white,” a stronger latte, and as we sipped our “bevvies” I felt the warm sunlight on the back of my neck, listened to the chatter of Aussie accents all around us, and glanced at the magnificent Opera House in the distance. I took another sip and thought “Sitting in Kirribilli with a view like that, it’s no wonder the Prime Minister lives here.”