On February 12th, 2013 I commenced my study abroad journey to Sydney, Australia and the five months I spent there turned into the best and most amazing five months of my life so far. The friends I met there (both American and foreign), the places I traveled to, and the experiences all helped to mold that semester into a special time in my life.
When people think about Australia they believe it to be very similar to the U.S. because we both speak the same language. While there were many likenesses between the two countries to be found, I also discovered many differences that I grew to accept and love.
Here’s my assessment of Australia vs the United States
Meat pies, Chicken burgers, Sausages (Hot Dogs), and Alligator and Kangaroo meats are some of the most popular and unusual dishes that Australians eat in their daily life. I also noticed that they love to put fried eggs in Caesar salads and their hamburgers, which is something that the U.S. does not do. However, since Sydney is a melting pot for many different ethnicities, all other foods can be found and enjoyed there as well.
Accents and Slang
I think everyone knows that Australians have the coolest accents! Even though I was prepared to go to country where they sound differently from Americans, I never thought about having to learn Australian slangs. For example, their “what’s up” is “how you going” and instead of saying “a lot” they said “heaps” and for “are you interested” they use the phrase “you keen”. There are of course many other slang words that I learned while being there, but those are just some of the ones I heard the most of!
Nightlife and Drinking
Australia is definitely a country to visit if you love to party and drink copious amounts of alcohol! The drinking age is 18 there, as it is in Europe, and the culture amongst the teenager and adult Australians is very drinking and party oriented. Sydney has a plethora of very cool bars and clubs; my favorites were the ones near the water such as Cruise Bar and the ones with a spectacular rooftop view such as the Glenmore. As a poor college student on a semester abroad, I drank a lot of boxed wine, they call it Goon, which tasted awful but did the job!
To begin with, Australians call college uni and their classes and uni social life was very different from American college life. I was enrolled at Macquarie University for the semester and had to adjust to a very different school environment. Their classes had two parts to them, a lecture and then a tutorial. The lectures were large classes that met once a week with a tutorial class that was smaller and more intimate that met after the lecture, once a week as well. It was something that I had to get used while I was there but coming back to my class schedule now, I much prefer the Australian way! Another bonus to Australian college life is that they have a bar on campus where you can go to and grab a quick beer or cider between classes!
As for the uni social scene, all I can say was that it was crazy and fun…and A LOT of themed party nights! I stayed at the Macquarie Village that housed not only Australians and Americans but also other people from across the world. It was exciting to meet other students from Europe and Asia, to name a few. Wednesday nights were the most anticipated nights of the week because everyone from the village made their way to best college bar nearby called the Ranch, which hosted themed nights every other week.
The most popular sports played in Australia are Rugby, Footy, and Cricket. The Australian guy friends I made there were all into those sports and into their own chosen teams. Those sports games are a big thing in their country, which are always combined with drinking. I was able to attend one Footy game in Melbourne, which was really exciting and fun to watch. My favorite part of those games, however, is during halftime when the little kids get to play that sport on the huge stadium fields in front of the crowds. In addition, no game is complete without a few cups of beer and a meat pie!
Spring Break Destinations
Lastly, another great thing about studying abroad in Australia was having the opportunity to visit other exotic countries nearby during our spring break. I was fortunate enough to spend a week in the absolutely magnificent and breathtaking country of New Zealand. Everywhere I looked was equivalent to staring at a postcard, that is the only way I know how to explain the wonder and scenery of that particular country. However, there were many other equally amazing places to travel to nearby Australia, such as Bali, Thailand and Fiji. Furthermore, even looking at the country of Australia as a whole: the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Cairns, Byron Bay and the Whitsunday Islands were popular vacation/spring break destinations as well.
About the Author
Amanda Trikas is a student at Quinnipiac University. This is her first guest blog post for Travefy.