Out and About – My Exchange Semester

Students enrolled at Lund University are given the opportunity to go on an exchange semester abroad. This is an unforgettable experience which among others will allow you to meet a diverse range of people and make many new friends. It is doubtless one of the best things you will be able to do at university.

This semester I am studying at the University of Sydney in Australia. Prior to my studies in Lund I lived in this wonderful city for almost a year. Sydney is a vibrant city with a great atmosphere and the friendliest people, which is why it was an easy choice for me to come back here. In the remainder of this text you will get to know how it is to be a student in Sydney and what it is like to live here.

Living in another country is completely different from a holiday. Meanwhile on exchange you will be able to do a lot of travelling, but there are also responsibilities. Australian universities, as opposed to Swedish universities, have overall more requirements in terms of attendance and participation. Rather than a final exam at the end of the course, there are several smaller stages throughout the course where the students’ knowledge is tested. The standard setup for each course is one lecture and one tutorial every week. The tutorials correspond to the seminars that we have in Lund. This learning approach requires you to be active from the course start.

The University of Sydney offer their students exceptional assistance. I have had great support from my assigned adviser and my teachers. What have surprised me the most is how concerned the teachers are about their students’ progress. In comparison to Lund, teachers at the University of Sydney are better to aid their students on an individual level.

Going on exchange is much
more than just studies. There are so many different activities and events going on all the time, so there is always something to do in Sydney. In the school’s welcome speech all exchange students were encouraged to always say yes to anything. I strongly recommend this as a rule of thumb. Allow yourself to be spontaneous and adventurous. Open your mind up to new experiences and the fun will come your way.

The Sydney nightlife offers a diverse selection of clubs and bars and is frequently visited by famous artists, with both Adele and Martin Garrix performing last week
(I managed to miss both of their performances). There is certainly something for everyone, every day of the week. It is expensive to go out in Sydney so this is probably what much of your student loans will be financing. A great advice to save some money is to drink goon. This is the cheapest box wine available and happily consumed by most people on a budget. Although be aware, it is known to deliver massive hangovers.

As for daytime activities, you should visit the beaches surrounding Sydney, among these the famous Bondi beach, where you can take a great Instagram picture and make your friends back home jealous. The Blue Mountains is another popular destination to escape the city life where you
can experience stunning, scenic nature.

Here is a list with some of my favourite things to do in Sydney:

  1. Visit the Sydney Opera House and explore the Royal Botanic Garden: The Opera House is beautiful
at night with its contrast to the darkness. The neighbouring Royal Botanic garden is also a great place where you can take a walk, go for a run or have some wine with friends.
  2. Walk through Hyde Park: Take a stroll through Hyde Park located in the city central, come here to relax with friends or to do some outdoor exercise. The park is a great place to relax and get some fresh air.
  3. Go surfing at one of the eastern beaches: Surfing is always fun and what better place to do it than in Australia. Even if you are a great swimmer be sure to follow the lifeguards’ instructions, there are a lot of strong currents.
  4. Spend a sunny day at Manly beach: Manly beach is easily accessible via the public ferries from Circular Quay. The ride back offers great views of the Opera house.
  5. Walk (or run) the bondi-Coogee Coastal Walk: This stunning walk features incredible sceneries of the ocean, cliffs, bays and passes several beautiful beaches where you can stop along the way for a swim, or for a drink and bite to eat. I recommend you go here in the early morning to see the sunrise.
  6. Sydney hosts a variety of free festivals, among these Vivid: This event transforms Sydney into a wonderland of light, music and
ideas. The festival is known as the world’s largest outdoor gallery and everyone can enjoy it for free.

While on exchange, you will confront new challenges every day. Everything is new and you will be adjusting to a new culture as well as speak a new language. For some it might be challenging to be far away from their families. But I promise that all the fun and memorable experiences you will have from your exchange semester makes it all worthwhile.

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