Hi everyone! My name is Chloe Cushing and I’m currently a junior studying abroad in Sydney, Australia. When deciding on a location, I ultimately chose the University of New South Wales (UNSW) because I could take classes for my Finance and MSI concentrations and my International Studies minor. Also, UNSW has a similar start and end date as Boston College, whereas many universities in Sydney do not (so, be on the lookout for that!).
When coming to Sydney in early August, I really had no idea what to expect. I didn’t have much knowledge of the country (beyond the basics) and had no idea what student life was like as I knew no other students that studied there.
My curiosity and desire to explore a place so far away overcame my fears and I arrived in Sydney early August. The thing that has surprised me the most since coming here is the weather. Keep in mind that while August is a hot month in Boston, it is still winter in Australia, which means it gets as low as the mid 40s and up to low 60s. I was surprised at how much I used my light jackets, leggings, and jeans in the months of August, September, and even October. Sydney is experiencing an unseasonably rainy year, so there have been many days where I have run home from school in the rain! I live just a little over a mile from campus in a suburb called Coogee. I know many exchange students that live on campus or in the city, but I highly recommend trying to secure accommodation in either Coogee or Bondi as it’s a short bus ride to school, you are so close to the beach, and there are endless food and entertainment options.
My situation is also unique because I live in a student accommodation house with about 29 other exchange students, all of whom are from Europe. I am the only American, and I honestly love it. I have been able to forge life-long friendships with some of my housemates and since many of us attend UNSW, we are even lucky enough to have some classes together. Many of the people I live with attend other schools around Sydney, but we all have fun spending weekends together and regular day to day life.
Some of my housemates and I (I’m in the blue dress) before we went to a horse race! (A popular thing to do here)
The school aspect at UNSW is a bit different than BC. Some classes differ, but for the most part, you have fewer assignments and you have one lecture followed by one tutorial each week. A lecture is self explanatory, but a tutorial takes place in a smaller classroom where you discuss the week’s material with your tutor and other classmates (very similar to a lot of classes at BC).
My highlights from my first few weeks here were seeing the Sydney Opera house (duh), getting to know my housemates, and starting my intensive Winter Term course. This is a course that lasts about 4 weeks and is only for exchange students. There are several very cool courses to choose from, and I ended up doing “The Marine Environment”. We learned all about Australia’s marine life, the ocean, and even went on some immersive field trips. The class wasn’t too hard, the professors were extremely nice, and the main point was to get you more familiar with Australia. I highly recommend this course for anyone interested!