This experience of leaving home and coming to Sydney has been crazy, challenging, and the best thing I have done. Here is a timeline of my time here and some advice I have:
Week 1: Arrival I got to Sydney on a Wednesday and didn’t start school until the following Tuesday, so I had six days to go sightseeing and explore. My host family introduced me to a family friend who goes to my school and is my age and the two of us and my host brother (who was two years younger) saw each other four times before school started. Getting to know her before school started gave me someone to talk to when I got there and I am so thankful for that. When I went to the city, Manly beach, and Chatswood and it has one of the biggest shopping malls. CEA also took us on a great day out in Sydney with all the other new study abroad students and all of who I would later become friends with this was a fabulous day. Then I finally went to school where everyone was so split friendly and nice and willing to catch me up in classes and show me around the school.
Week 2: Ski Camp One week after I started school I left and went on the Year 11 Ski Trip in the Snowy Mountains. Thanks to CEA for securing me a place on the camp before I arrives or I would have missed this amazing time with meeting new Friends. At this point I had only gone to 3 days of school, so this was basically intensive friend making. It was overwhelming at times but I am so thankful I went because I got to know everyone in my grade, best thing I could have done.
Week 3-10: I spent the next weeks getting to know people at my school, seeing the city, and hanging out with my host family. I didn’t have classes on Tuesdays so I would go sightseeing by myself (if it was “too touristy” for my friends) or go out with my Aussie friends. I also got to go to my Year 11 social, which was a school dance that is on a boat and everyone dresses in costumes.
Week 11: Great Barrier Reef I went on Safari to Cairns, Queensland During this was a 7day trip we went snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef twice, we went to the Australian Outback, we spent a night in a rainforest, and we swam in waterfalls. I cannot speak highly enough of this trip, it was the highlight of my trip.
Week 12-20: I returned to school and filled my Tuesdays and weekends checking off things on my Sydney Bucket List (which you should definitely make). I also discovered a love for the beach and one summer started approaching I was there all the time.
My personal Advice:
• Make a bucket list of things you want to do in Sydney
• Take every opportunity you get
• Make the most of the time after school to go to the beach and spend time with friends
• Don’t come in with crazy expectations, just go with the flow
• If you’re going somewhere cool like the The Great Barrier Reef rent or buy a GoPro
I have to say I so much support from my CEA coordinator. She was very very helpful and always there for me and I am very thankful for this as I did need this at time and this opportunity help me grow as person and be able to situations I would never have experienced at home.