A semester in the land of kangaroos
I’ve always planned to visit the other side of the world, Australia, but never thought I will be so lucky to spend a whole semester in the land of the kangaroos. You can imagine how excited I was, when in March I found out I will spend one of my CEMS terms in Sydney!
Fortunately Sydney didn’t let me down, the city is beautiful, and the CEMS Club is doing its best to make our semester unforgettable. The most intense week of my life started right after I arrived in the middle of July: the block seminar. Our interesting courses in the topics of Design Thinking and Gamification were held in the 17th floor of a skyscraper in downtown. During the whole week we’ve been working on local companies’ problems – the largest insurance companies and startups were present as well - with international teams.
The courses usually finished around 5 pm, we had various programmes in the evenings: on Monday dinner next to the Opera House, on Tuesday boat trip in the bay of Sydney, then dinner in the bohemian suburb on Wednesday… After holding the presentations for the companies on Friday, we set off on our 3 hours way to the compulsory surf camp. We spent two nights at a completely abandoned coast, as there was no light pollution in 100 kilometres, I’ve never seen the stars so extremely clear in my life before. Surfing wasn’t bad either, but the water was kind of cold even in a surfsuit during July-August, which is wintertime over here. Once I caught sight of some fins in the water – luckily they belonged to dolphins, who came to surf with us! It was an awesome experience.
Since then one and a half month passed, I’m already done with the quarterly exams. The CEMS courses are really interesting, and the professors are also great, no wonder, that the USYD is among the top universities in Australia. One campus is very close to the city centre, built in American style, everything within 20 minutes walking distance; beautiful buildings, bars and restaurants, everything we need. The other campus is in the already mentioned skyscraper, where one whole floor is only for the business master students.
The CEMS class - seventy students from all around the world, with 20 Germans as the biggest group – has quite a lot of programmes together, every week at least 2-3 parties. The CEMS Club is also quite busy with organising us several programmes; besides the surf camp we had a sport day, quiznight, a onesie party, BBQ, and we could expect way more to come.
Australians are incredibly nice and helpful, but surprisingly only 23 million people live in this ‘small’ island. The country is the acropolis of various cultures: half of the population is Asian, while 25% of people living there were born in another land. Everyone could easily find their favourite places, restaurants and clubs from the abundant possibilities.
Living in Australia is extremely expensive, compared to Hungary food costs 3-4, while accommodation even 5-10 times more.
The weather didn’t meet my expectations in the beginning: whole August was cold and rainy, but as September came the summer set in. Since then it’s way more nicer; sunshine with 20-25 degrees. I was told from October the weather will be good enough for surfing without a wetsuit, cannot wait for it!
That’s how I spent my first weeks in Australia, if you have any questions, feel free to write me on facebook! I could only recommend Sydney, especially if you like lively cities, amazing nature and last but not least, you are not afraid of animals, that are on the watch for eating you up!