Sydney: Studying Abroad in the Heart of Australia

by Kristen Chung

Sydney is a no brainer for study abroad. Why wouldn’t you want to be caught up in the heart of the world’s most infamous metropolis? From the scenic beaches to the picturesque harbor neighboring the Opera House, you can’t beat Sydney’s atmospheric versatility. There is something for everyone on this island in the sun, and you will most likely discover a new part of yourself at every destination. And, if you need anymore convincing as to why you should study abroad in Sydney, the city that gave us triple threat actor Hugh Jackman, then please read on:

Mother Koala at the Wildlife Zoo in Darling Harbour

Mother Koala at the Wildlife Zoo in Darling Harbour


As a student, there is nothing more important to me than a good deal, which makes studying in Sydney that much better. Aside from the fashionably quirky thrift stores and late night farmer’s markets, Sydney is also student-wallet-friendly, because it provides student discounts around every corner. Flash your student ID at museums, galleries, and select restaurants for great affordable prices. And if you’re fortunate enough to study at a university with exclusive student membership cards, you can purchase things like a ticket to the world’s largest IMAX Theater for just $15. Your bank account will especially thank you if you travel on Sundays, which costs a flat fee of $2.50 for unlimited rides around New South Wales.


Any international student will know that when it comes to relaxed vibes, no one does it better than the Australians, and for good reason! In a country that has sunny skies nine months out of the year and gorgeous beaches just a bus ride away, it’s hard to not let go of all that pent up stress. So why not attend some of the most prestigious schools in a stress-less country? Sydney alone is home to five globally ranked universities, all of which offer an unending list of areas to study. No matter the topic, universities in Sydney are sure to have a unit of study (aka course) for it.

What else do students need to make it through the semester? How about a dangerous combination of caffeine and dogs? You won’t have to go far to find a good cup of coffee on the East coast. In fact Sydneysiders are so passionate about the miracle brew, that they hold an annual celebration in its honor called The Rocks Aroma Festival. But, how many other cities serve you a delicious long black while enjoying the company of man’s best friend? Dog cafes are popping up around the city, so if you’re ever feeling the pressure, feel free to take a break with some adorable canines!

Clown fish in anemone in the Great Barrier Reef

Clown fish in anemone in the Great Barrier Reef


Studying abroad means that you’re ready to open yourself to many different lifestyles and people, and what better place to experience them than in one of the most multicultural cities in the world? Sydney is Australia’s central hub for diversity, and has no shortage of events to celebrate it. From the annual Mardi Gras Parade to the Thailand Grand Festival to the Yabun Festival, the list goes on.

It is also home to the first Sydneysiders, the Aboriginal people. Their history has been preserved in museums and historical landmarks, and while you cannot freely traverse their territory, you can attend guided tours like The Rocks Dreaming Aboriginal Heritage Tour, The Aboriginal Blue Mountain Walkabout, and visit galleries, libraries, and theaters that all showcase Aboriginal art, music, and literature.


Weird is welcome on King Street, home to Sydney’s densest population of students and young adults, where you will meet a colorful hodgepodge of people in a town decorated in Victorian style buildings. And if you ever get bored of the myriad of themed bars down the street, attend any of their special events. My favorites are 20’s swing dancing at Ms. Peaches and Tranny (Drag for you Americans) Bingo at the Cooper’s Hotel.

Manly Harbour as seen from Grotto Point

Manly Harbour as seen from Grotto Point

Not the bohemian type? No problem, for a taste of the finer things in life, you can take a short bus ride to the Central Business District. Here you can visit the Queen Victoria Building for a grand look into boutique shopping or have a posh evening at the Westfield Sydney Central Plaza, which also conveniently hosts the entrance to the Sydney Tower.
If you're the type to lose yourself in nature, there’s no need to travel across the country to be surrounded by mountains, waterfalls, or forests. Aside from the popular attractions, like the Blue Mountains and the Royal National Park, any coastal walk will ensure you a good workout and some unforgettable sights. And if you ever want to take an unconventional dip in the water, you can dive into swimming holes like the Mahon Pool, Lake Parramatta, and the Mermaid pool, just a few of the most beautiful swimming holes in Australia.


When you step outside of the Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, you arrive as an Australian. No matter which university you attend or what you study in Sydney, you will be an honorary Aussie from then on. My time in Sydney has been eye opening and thrilling.

No study abroad experience goes without a few hiccups, but if you understand that you are the only thing keeping yourself from having a great time, you’ll have no problem adopting the laid back Australian vibe.

I truly feel that you won’t find a city anywhere near as vast and beautiful as ours, and that no matter who you are or where you’re from, there is a place for you here in the heart of Australia. And who knows, maybe you’ll get to see Hugh Jackman save a few citizens down at Bondi Beach too.

If we’ve got you convinced, it is time to begin your search for a study abroad program in Sydney!

This article was contributed by the University of Sydney. Established in 1850, the University of Sydney welcomes thousands of international students each year and offers a diverse range of courses and degree programs.