Australia: Lunar New Year

Submitted by Shenalee Fernando on the 2020 spring semester study abroad program in Australia sponsored by the Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics…

This weekend was such an awesome weekend. It was the Chinese New Year, the Lunar New Year, the year of the rat. My friends and I went to Chinatown, here in Sydney and it was so amazing to be immersed in the Chinese culture. There were street vendors, carnival games, music and little shops that were set up on the streets. We got to see a performance with dragons and rats. There was also a  group of little kids performing in the street. They were very cute! I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was very crowded and very hot. There were so many people. It was nothing like I’ve ever experienced and I’ve been to  New York City, Philly and other cities. The food was amazing. I got these noodles with prawn and crab balls. It was by far the best thing I’ve eaten here. We also went to the Chinese Garden of Friendship. It was breathtaking. It was like a little piece of China was actually here in Sydney. There were ponds with koi fish and little waterfalls. It was beautiful! The whole experience was so unique. I’ve never been to a lunar new year festival, so it was nice to be here and be a part of it.

Chinese Garden of Friendship
Prawn and crab balls

Australia: Public Transportation

Submitted by Olivia Szefer on the 2020 spring semester study abroad program in Sydney, Australia…

Being in Sydney for over a week, I have encountered many times when I was taken aback with culture shock. One particular time was when I was taking public transport, more specifically, the light rail which runs through the central parts of the city. To travel on any public transport, each individual should have an Opal card that holds money on it in order to pay for their journey. Everyone is expected to check on and off on a particular pad in order to pay for the transport, and absolutely everyone – adults, children and tourists alike – tap their Opal cards onto this in an orderly fashion. After tapping the card, they would calmly enter the light rail. This shocked me at first because they could easily rush onto the tram without paying without anyone noticing; however, they choose to be orderly and follow exact protocol in these instances.

Australia: New Heights

Submitted by a student on the 2020 winter session program in Australia and Thailand sponsored by the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics…

I have been in Sydney for a little over a week and have loved it. It has been a very different experience than Thailand was and I am happy I got to see two different ways of life. We have gotten to immerse ourselves in the culture here and see many different places. One of my highlights of the program so far is the Sydney Bridge Climb. Although I am very afraid of heights, I successfully completed the climb and was very happy I did. We also got to visit a walk about park where we saw animals such as kangaroos, wallabies, and a koala. It was sad, but informative to hear about how the devastating wildfires impacted the environment of these animals. I have a few days left in Sydney before heading to Cairns and I am looking forward to what else this beautiful country has to show me.

Australia: Environmental Awareness

Submitted by Harrison Crum on the 2020 spring semester study abroad program in Sydney, Australia…

I’ve been in Sydney for a week now and I have already experienced so many new things. The first of which had to have been the heat. In the United States, it’s winter and quite cold around the country. When I arrived in Sydney, I was thrust into temperatures well above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, much different than the 30 degrees I had become accustomed to. The time change was also a big adjustment. Here in Sydney I am 16 hours ahead of my family back in the States, so figuring out times to call was difficult. When I’m available, my Mom is asleep. And when I’m about to go to sleep is when she’s waking up. But after a few days, I was able to find the times in which we both could talk.

Something that became very noticeable during my first week in Sydney was the environmental awareness across the entire city. Restaurants avoid using single use plastics, there is much less trash on the streets as there are many signs encouraging people not to litter, numerous green spaces, and even at the Taronga Zoo water is reused in most, if not all, of the enclosures. To respect the natural world around you appears to be an essential aspect of Australian culture and everyone does their part to ensure a sustainable environment. This is different from what I’m used to back in the States. Back home, the overall feeling seems to be that the responsibility of taking care of the environment is on the government and big corporations, and less on the individual. I look forward to experiencing more of what Sydney, as well as the rest of Australia, has to offer.

Bondi Beach

Australia: Looking Back

Submitted by Bryn Carlin on the 2020 winter session study abroad program in Australia sponsored by the School of  Nursing…

The last week in Sydney was filled with many activities and feelings as our program came to an end. We were able to learn so much about the culture of Australia in so little time. Of course, we wished it had been longer, and although we know the rain was desperately needed, we wished the last few days could have been a bit nicer as well. Still, we were able to experience so much. We learned about Aboriginal history, had interactions with animals native to Australia, toured the Sydney Opera House, visited many beaches, toured healthcare facilities, and even peaked into parts of the Blue Mountains. I have to admit that even though we saw it nearly every day, I personally don’t think the views of the Opera House ever got old and will remain one of my favorite parts of the experience.

I will never forget this program and am so grateful for the experience. I hope that I can return one day.

Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge at dusk

Arriving in Sydney, Australia

Submitted by a student on the 2020 winter session program in Australia and Thailand sponsored by the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics…

We finally departed Thailand and have arrived in Sydney, Australia. The first weekend upon our arrival, we had the freedom to explore this beautiful city. Personally, I felt that Sydney was very similar to New York City except not as dirty or crowded. The people were friendly and always seemed relaxed, never in a rush. I liked that about Sydney and knew I would enjoy my time here. With my free time, I decided to check out a few local restaurants and coffee shops as well as some significant landmarks. I used public transportation for the first time to move around the city where I saw the beautiful St. Mary’s Cathedral as well as the Botanical Gardens. My favorite landmark so far was Darling Harbor. Darling Harbor is basically a harbor in the center of Sydney where they have various restaurants, bars, shops, and hold frequent events. I have one more week here in Sydney and plan to see the pretty beaches, blue mountains, and maybe catch a sunset as well.

Darling Harbor
St. Mary’s Cathedral
Botanical Gardens
Botanical Gardens
Center of the city in Sydney



Australia: The Walkabout Wildlife Park

Submitted by Elizabeth Dallara on the 2020 winter session program in Australia and Thailand sponsored by the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics…

This week, my study abroad group visited the Walkabout Wildlife Park to learn more about the animals native to Australia and participate in other cultural activities such as hiking through the Aboriginal landscape and learning how to throw a boomerang. It was exciting to pet kangaroos and koalas in the park and to walk freely around with wallabies and emus as well. I was able to learn about these animals and the current efforts of the Park to protect them from potential bushfires. The hike through the Park had some nice views and was educational as well. We learned about the plants and animals in the area and the indigenous people who once lived on the land. It was also an entertaining experience to learn how to throw a boomerang and to watch my classmates’ attempts. Overall, this was a very educational and fun experience.

Cricket – Australia’s National Sport

Submitted by Sydney Berkey on the 2020 winter session study abroad program in Australia sponsored by the Department of English…

Cricket is considered to be Australia’s national sport. If I was being honest with myself, when my group members wanted to go see a professional cricket game, I didn’t think I would be the biggest fan. I imagined that it would be something similar to a baseball game, at which I normally get a hotdog, barely watch the game, and end the night early before all of the innings end with some ice cream. But, with the fear of “missing out”, I went.

Once we got off the tram at Marvel Stadium, I knew it was going to be an experience unlike any other. I was first greeted by the Avengers, hugely painted upon pillars, and then by one of the workers handing out KFC chicken buckets. At first, I was quite perplexed as to why I would need one, but, once I entered the stadium, I understood by the amount of people with them all on their heads. Our big group of eighteen strolled through the stadium, looking like fools, but fitting in, to find our seats.

With a big roar, synchronized clapping, and the singing of the national anthem, the game began. Cricket is a very unique game and isn’t anything like sports back in America, so a group member of mine, who had read “Cricket for Dummies” quickly before arriving, gave me a quick rundown of the rules and how each team had the ability to gain points. The first time the Melbourne Renegades did something spectacular, the crowd roared, and I just went along with it. As the game went on, the rules and scoring started to click, and I was the one the other girls on my program were asking about the rules and how the game was to run. I was normally the first in the group to hold up the red colored point signs that they handed out and could normally predict the amount of points a batsman would receive for a particular hit.

Not only was I able to enjoy and learn about the game of cricket, I was also able to interact with the other spectators. When the rules of the game weren’t completely making sense, those around me (“cricket experts”) stepped in and politely explained why or how things happened. The experience overall was completely different from what I was expecting.  Although I did get some chocolate covered pancakes, I paid close attention to the game, had fun, and most importantly experienced a big part of Australia’s sports culture.


Australia: Newtown

Submitted by Shenalee Fernando on the 2020 spring semester study abroad program in Australia sponsored by the Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics…

About a 30-minute train ride southwest of Darling Harbour, there’s a town called Newtown. There were so many different shops along the road. The shops were really cool. You could pretty much find anything you wanted. There were vintage shops, jewelry shops, restaurants and cafes. I didn’t know what to expect going there, but it was definitely worth the trip. All along some streets, there was street art. They were actually really good and very creative. I really liked walking around town and going into the shops. The people there were so nice and friendly. We also got some food. We went to a place called Lentil As Anything and I absolutely loved it. I loved what they were doing. So, this place serves the homeless. The homeless can eat here for free, whatever they want. The menus change every day, so  there are different foods there all the time. The part that kind of shocked me was that they didn’t have prices. So, you go in and order something, when are you done, you can pay however much you want. That was crazy to me. The food is so amazing and also changing so they get a lot of customers everyday. Everyone I talked to said that they normally pay $15AD or $20AD, because it is for such a good cause and believe me when I say that the food is so incredible. The town itself was very open and busy. It had a good atmosphere and we are already planning on going back soon.

Sydney, Australia: The Rocks

Submitted by Shenalee Fernando on the 2020 spring semester study abroad program in Australia sponsored by the Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics…

I’ve been in Australia for a week now and starting to get into a routine. Classes are on the long side, but we still have a lot of time to explore on the weekdays and of course on the weekend. This weekend, we went on a tour of The Rocks in Sydney. The Rocks have so much history. There were street markets and vendors everywhere at one part of The Rocks. They have so many cools things, ranging from jewelry to clothes to food. There were all different types of food. Foods from Turkey to Brazil and so much more. It was so good. My friends and I tried everything we were interested in. They were some of the best dishes I’ve ever had. I highly recommend walking around The Rocks, checking out the markets and definitely trying the different foods.

These are a few of the dishes we had! Spinach, cheese and chicken Gozleme
Top: Crocodile, Emu and Lamb Skewers. Bottom: Seafood Paella