When I was younger, I never thought I’d go to Australia.
My sister was the one who longed to travel there, and I would cringe at the idea of living in the land with oversized spiders and poisonous snakes. Yet, here I am. Living down under for two months studying travel writing at Boston University’s Sydney campus and working at Luxury Travel Magazine. Loving it.
As a double major in journalism and communications, I’m one of the most indecisive people I know. I’m going into my last year of college, and I still don’t have any idea of what I want to do after graduation.
So, that’s why I came to Australia for Boston University’s summer travel writing program: to see what’s out there for me. For two months, I get to work at an Aussie magazine and travel down the coast to discover new things and better my writing.
The program is almost at an end now, and I still find myself trying to acclimate to a whole new world -a different season, different accents, and a large, bustling, and intimidating city.
Being someone who hates the sweltering days of summer, I didn’t mind trading that in for a cold and rainy Australian winter. Australia’s winter looks more like our fall, with barren trees rising above as their dead leaves crunch below your feet. All of the Aussies are wearing parkas, but the high is 65, and all I need is a light jacket.
I’ve quickly learned that sandals are frowned upon in winter here. Aussies can be very judgmental about the clothes you wear in winter, but overall, they’re very nice people.
That’s a difference I’ve noticed between Aussies and Americans. Their culture is centered around politeness. Aussies will go out of their way to say hello to strangers and genuinely ask how you’re doing, and they want to hear more than “I’m okay.”
I’ve noticed this a lot at my internship. My boss would always ask me what I’m up to and where I’m going for the weekend. Side note: none of the Australians I’ve talked to in Sydney has been to the Great Barrier Reef, but they’ve been to Thailand and Fiji.
Traveling is also a big part of Aussie culture. Australians are passionate about travelling to different countries and seeing new things. I’m exactly the same, except Australia is brand new for me.
Sydney alone offers so much to see and do. There are the tourist attractions that I went to in the first week of my arrival, like the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanic Gardens, and the Harbour Bridge. But then there’s the off-the-beaten-track places, and those are what I like to discover.
The BU Sydney campus is in Chippendale, a tiny neighborhood nestled between Sydney University and Central, the city’s busiest train station. Though it’s small, and not many Sydneysiders know it exists, Chippendale has so many undiscovered sights.
Spice Alley, a small alleyway that houses a number of really good Asian restaurants, is just around the corner from my apartment. Sydney’s Central Park, a modern shopping center that lights up at night, is down the street. There are a number of art galleries spread throughout the area, just steps away from where I live.
These small places are what excites me about traveling to different cities. It’s what makes each city unique. It’s what makes traveling so rewarding.
Having been in Sydney for the past two months and traveling through the country, I’m reminded of how many places I have yet to go. I’ve been to several countries in Europe, and now I can cross off three Australian cities. As great as that is, it just reminds me that I’m not done traveling yet. And don’t think I ever will be.