My first week in Sydney

Submitted by Navleen Kaur on the 2024 Spring semester program in Sydney, Australia

Today, January 20th marks the first week of classes in Sydney for me. The GAV organization had planned a walking tour of The Rocks neighborhood for all of us. Our tour guide explained the historic significance of this town by detailing how and why civilization grew in Australia. I learned that once the US declared independence on July 4, 1776, the UK was not allowed to send people over to the US. Soon, the UK encountered overpopulation and an increase in the crime rate. Desperate to relieve their jails, the UK decided to send people to Australia. The walking tour helped me learn a lot about how settlement in Sydney began. The adjustment to life in Sydney has been relatively easy. Sometimes I forget I am in another country because Sydney is similar to any American city. The people are very kind and helpful! There is also a lot of diversity here. I have seen people from all cultures and walks of life in this city. I also found transportation to be super convenient in Sydney. There are regular buses, trams, and trains anyone can take to get from one part of the city to another. The biggest change for me has been that in Australia, everyone drives on the left side of the road. When I am crossing the street, I always make sure to check both sides of the street because I am always confused about which lane the cars will be driving. Something I love about Sydney so far is that there are an abundant amount of food options here. I am sure it has to do with the great diversity in this city. I am very excited to travel to Surrey Hills soon and try some good food! (Submitted January 20, 2024)

Sydney: The City of Cities

Submitted by Riley Hazel on the 2024 Spring semester program in Sydney, Australia

By now, I’ve been in Sydney for almost a full week. I’ve been to so many places, met so many people, and got to experience the sights and sounds of the city. That’s the beauty of this city, the sights and sounds. Quite simply, there is nothing like Sydney. No city, not even Los Angeles or New York City, can be compared to this one. The feeling Sydney gives off is indescribable to other cities in the US and quite frankly, the world. I was shocked to see how adverse this city is and how many cultures reside there. Not only that, but the pure beauty of it as well as the many parts of nature Sydney provides. I take a 20-minute walk to my classes and every day I find something new and just walk in awe of the rich culture this city has to offer. The architecture of houses varies from Victorian to modern, but even then it has a charm that no other city can compare to. You don’t feel dirty like you do in other cities, but rather you get the peaceful, busy emotions that the suburbs give off. I’ve been to New York City plenty of times, but Sydney is just way above that. I was shocked most about walking on the left side as well as traffic being on the left side but you quickly get used to it. Overall, Sydney so far has been a city of wonder, shock, and beauty; the city of cities. (Submitted January 18, 2024)

Sydney Bridge Climb

Submitted by Taylor Cannon on the 2024 Winter FINC/BUAD program in Sydney, Australia

During our time in Sydney, we had the unique opportunity to do the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb. The massive bridge is a staple of the Sydney landscape and is commonly photographed with the opera house that sits right next to it. While ascending the bridge, the view was absolutely breathtaking. We could see a completely clear view of the city skyline as the sun was setting. The steel bridge itself weighs in at an impressive 52,000 tons and was created in 1932 by hundreds of workers. Our guide explained the history of the bridge as we ascended to the peak, which is 187ft, or 20 stories! 

Being able to see the city we spent two weeks exploring in full view was so incredible and such a memorable experience. But what I think made it the most fun was spending it with such good friends that I made along the way throughout our trip. I wouldn’t trade these people and this experience for the world and know I am going to cherish it forever! (Submitted February 4, 2024)

Study Abroad in Australia

Submitted by Samantha Urspruch on the 2024 Winter BUAD program in Australia

A Day at the Sydney Fish Market!

Exploring the Sydney Fish Market can be an exhilarating experience for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the rich culinary tapestry of Australia. The vibrant atmosphere is filled with the salty scent of the ocean, the lively chatter of vendors and customers, and the kaleidoscope of colors from an array of seafood on display. To truly make the most of this experience, stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing the opportunity to try new and unfamiliar dishes is essential. We also took a cooking class to learn about the cuisine and culture of the area!

A Day in the Blue Mountains!

We had a beautiful hike through the Blue Mountains in Australia! These iconic peaks, cloaked in eucalyptus forests and adorned with picturesque landscapes, offer a hiking experience that is nothing short of breathtaking.

A wonderful cultural experience in New Zealand!

In the heart of New Zealand’s North Island, the Mitai Maori Village offers a unique and immersive experience that goes beyond a typical dinner outing. Stepping into this cultural haven, visitors are not just treated to a meal but are invited to partake in an authentic Maori feast and celebration. The evening begins with a traditional welcome ceremony, a powhiri, where the locals showcase their rich cultural heritage through song and dance. The rhythmic beats of the waiata (songs) and the fierce expressions of the haka create a very moving atmosphere.

(Submitted February 4, 2024)

Study Abroad in Sydney, Australia

Submitted by Elias Tapia on the 2024 Winter Winter BUAD program in Sydney, Australia

Week 3

Sydney is a city located within the state of New South Wales, Australia, where life is constantly booming, with people constantly on the move as there is so much to do and see within Sydney. This introduction to the city came from the historical landmarks all around, as their statues are everywhere, commemorating the different aspects of its history, ranging from inspirational stories to very controversial ones. The culture that is found in Sydney is very individualistic. All the people that were commemorated had some form of aspiration or individual goal to improve themselves or the country itself. This remains true when participating in various Australian customs and activities, as even though it is meant to be a group effort, it rather feels as though it all relies on oneself rather than the group. This is captured perfectly through the Botanical Garden in Sydney, as this garden doesn’t go out of its way to look extravagant but rather shows the beauty that is found within the country to speak for itself as it doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone.

Sydney as a city is massive, filled with buildings reaching the highest points in the sky, with its local plant life adding to the atmosphere of the city as if it were in a different world in itself. The city provides so many different forms of transportation with buses, trains, light rails, ferries, etc., giving the person different options on how they want to get around this stunning city. The mode of transportation that I preferred was the light rail. It was easy to follow, easily accessible as you were able to see where you were going as the windows made it simple to find where one was all the time, and came every ten minutes or so. The light rail’s final stop is at Circular Quay, which led to the Sydney Opera House, which had such a rich history, with the building now being used by various artists, shows, etc., with it constantly booming with different interpretations of the arts. This was an amazing place to be, as the Opera House is one of the many landmarks that Australia is known for, and so finally being able to see it in person wouldn’t have been possible without this study abroad experience giving me this experience of a lifetime. (Submitted February 3, 2024)

Week 4

The last week within Sydney, Australia, was bittersweet, as I had grown used to the buildings, the beaches, transportation, etc., so the thought of leaving it all was very surreal. One of the highlights of this trip was that I was able to try a Kangaroo dish within one of the restaurants the group visited, where I was served cooked Kangaroo meat, chips, salad, and soy sauce with a knife to cut through the meat. The dish was not for me personally, as it was later explained that the reason kangaroo meat is not usually consumed is because these animals are very healthy in that they have very little to no fat composition within their bodies, meaning their meat can never be cooked to a crisp like steak, pork, etc. Due to this reason, kangaroo meat will always be very chewy and only to the liking of a select few, with many Australians refusing to eat it out of principle as the kangaroo is their national animal. 

There are many places to visit within Sydney, and one of the places that I was fortunate enough to visit was Bondi Beach, with the scenic ocean views and the people being more friendly and laid-back than those in the main city. This captures what day-to-day life is like for most people, as the beach is close by for many, with active surfing classes and groups, with the area to actually swim being small as the rest is occupied by the surfers, with everybody just wanting to relax and just have a good time.

One of the most memorable moments of the trip was the Sydney Bridge Climb, with the group being able to take advantage of this opportunity with the tour starting late in the afternoon and ending towards the night. This experience was able to give the most beautiful view of Sydney possible with all the city lights, with each part of Sydney being able to be seen, such as Bondi, Manley, etc., and flying foxes flying around these gorgeous buildings. The tour guide with the group was very energetic and very helpful throughout the entire process as they explained the history of the city and the bridge itself, as some parts of the bridge serve no architectural purpose but are there for more of an appealing design. This was amusing as even though certain parts serve no purpose, the people of Sydney kept it as a way to remember how far they have come, which really felt inspiring as not many people would think like this in similar circumstances. As I was at the top of the bridge, it became a reminder of how important it is to go out and try different experiences, as this view wouldn’t be possible if I only stayed with what I knew. (Submitted February 4, 2024)

Last Week

Submitted by Isabelle Lieber on the 2024 Winter FINC/BUAD program in Sydney, Australia

For the final week we visited multiple companies, had 3 free days and did a tour of  the opera house. At the opera house we learned about the history and got to see  each of the theaters. On our free days we went on a boat, went to a horse, and  Manley beach. (Submitted February 2, 2024)

Exploring Australia’s Wildlife

Submitted by Taylor Cannon on the 2024 Winter FINC/BUAD program in Sydney, Australia

Visiting Australia’s Native Animals.

Australia is home to some of the most unique flora and fauna in the world, which we got the privilege to visit. While visiting the Australian Wildlife sanctuary nestled in the New South Wales region, we were able to get up close and personal with the animals native to this amazing country. The 80,000 acre lot is home to animals such as kangaroos, wallabies, and emu that roam the property freely and are generally welcoming to guests who are eager to pet them. In addition to this we were able to hold some of the reptiles being rehabilitated such as the shingleback lizard and boa constrictor snakes. While learning and interacting with these awesome animals, our tour guide led us on a guided tour of the main area of the rehab center to visit other animals such as the koalas, bats, dingoes, llamas, and so many more. It was the coolest experience to be so up close and personal to these amazing animals. (Submitted February 2, 2024)

Underwater Paradise

Submitted by Aliyah Figueroa on the 2024 Winter BUAD/FINC program in Thailand and Australia

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving at the Great Barrier Reefs.

The Great Barrier Reef is a city underwater, filled with vibrant, beautiful marine life. While diving and snorkeling, I encountered sting rays, fish, and turtles. The gorgeous coral is home to many different species, making it a great sight for anyone fortunate to see these creatures in their environment. To keep the Great Barrier Reef healthy, it is important to use reef-friendly sunscreens and follow the rules in protected areas to maintain the balance of this beautiful ecosystem. This is a must for any underwater lovers, whether you are a beginner diver or snorkeler. The vibrant colors and diverse marine life can promise an unforgettable journey into the world’s most magnificent underwater paradise.

Walkabout park and Sydney bridge climb

Submitted by Gerrit Elliman on the 2024 Winter BUAD/FINC program in Thailand and Australia…

Title: A Day to Remember: Connecting with Wildlife and Nature at Walkabout Park in Australia

Australia, a land of stunning landscapes and unique wildlife, has a way of captivating the hearts of travelers. My recent adventure in Walkabout Park was nothing short of extraordinary. From mingling with friendly kangaroos and curious emus to exploring the picturesque hiking trails, my day was filled with unforgettable moments of connection with nature and the fascinating creatures that call Australia home.

Encounter with Kangaroos and Emus:

As I entered Walkabout Park, the anticipation of meeting Australia’s iconic wildlife reached a peak. The park’s open spaces allowed me to interact closely with kangaroos and emus in a natural and unencumbered environment. Walking through the park, I found myself surrounded by kangaroos lounging in the sun, their gentle nature and inquisitive eyes making for an enchanting experience.

Feeding and petting the kangaroos was a highlight of the day. The park provided opportunities for visitors to offer food to these marsupials, creating a bond that felt both intimate and surreal. The emus, with their distinctive appearance and amusing personalities, added an extra layer of excitement to the encounter. Observing these creatures up close was a privilege, gaining insights into their behaviors and daily lives.

Kangaroos at lunch time

Hiking Amidst Nature’s Beauty:

Beyond the interactive wildlife experiences, Walkabout Park offered a network of hiking trails that promised a journey through Australia’s diverse ecosystems. The trails wind through lush landscapes, showcasing the country’s unique flora and fauna. Each step was a revelation, with vibrant birdsong providing a soundtrack to my exploration.

The hiking paths took me through dense eucalyptus forests, where the scent of the leaves filled the air, and I marveled at the towering gum trees. Along the way, strategically placed viewpoints provided breathtaking panoramas of the surrounding hills and valleys. It was a reminder of the vastness and natural beauty that defines Australia.

Australia’s iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge stands as a testament to engineering brilliance and offers breathtaking views of the stunning Sydney skyline. Recently, I had the opportunity to embark on the Sydney Bridge Climb, a once-in-a-lifetime experience that took my appreciation for this architectural marvel to new heights—literally. Join me as I recount the exhilarating moments and panoramic vistas from my unforgettable journey to the summit.

The anticipation built as I approached the Sydney Harbour Bridge, knowing that I was about to undertake a thrilling adventure that promised unmatched views of the city and its surroundings. The Sydney Bridge Climb is not just a physical ascent; it’s a journey into the heart of Sydney, providing a unique perspective that few get to experience.

Before the climb, our group underwent a comprehensive safety briefing and was equipped with specially designed BridgeClimb suits. The knowledgeable and friendly guides ensured that we were well-prepared for the ascent, both mentally and physically. Safety measures were of the utmost priority, and the climb was designed to accommodate participants of varying fitness levels.

The climb itself was a mesmerizing blend of adrenaline and awe. The initial ascent took us along the lower arch of the bridge, providing a close-up view of the harbor, Opera House, and the bustling city below. As we continued upward, the panorama expanded, revealing the vastness of Sydney and its coastal beauty.

One of the highlights was traversing the catwalk to reach the summit. Standing 134 meters above sea level, the view from the top was nothing short of spectacular. The harbor glistened below, framed by the cityscape and the distant Blue Mountains. It was a surreal moment of accomplishment, knowing I was standing atop an iconic structure that has played a significant role in Sydney’s history.

At the summit, I had the chance to soak in 360-degree views of Sydney—a visual feast that included the Sydney Opera House, Darling Harbour, and the expansive Pacific Ocean. The ever-changing colors of the sky added to the enchantment as the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the city. (Submitted February 1, 2024)

Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb: A Luminescent Journey with Study Abroad Companions

Submitted by Harry Anderson on the 2024 Winter BUAD/FINC program in Australia…

Embarking on the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb at night is an adventure that transcends the ordinary, and when shared with a study abroad group, it transforms into a collective memory etched in the heart forever. The excitement is palpable as we gather, slipping into our jumpsuits and securing our harnesses, anticipation bubbling within the group like a shared secret. 

Dressed in the iconic jumpsuits, we become a united front, ready to conquer the heights of the Harbor Bridge under the cloak of night. As the harnesses click into place, a sense of camaraderie builds—an unspoken understanding that this experience is not just about the breathtaking views but also about the bonds formed with fellow adventurers. 

As we ascend the bridge’s arches, the city beneath us transforms into a mosaic of twinkling lights. The Opera House and skyline stand as beacons, welcoming us to this nocturnal spectacle. The shared gasps of awe and whispered conversations add a symphony to the whooshes of cars hundreds of feet below us. 

The Sydney Harbor Bridge Night Walk with our study abroad group is not just a visual feast but a shared journey of exploration and connection. The luminescent cityscape becomes the backdrop to our conversations, laughter, and the forging of friendships that will endure long after the night sky fades away and our trip comes to an end. (Submitted January 31, 2024)