The allure of great beaches, amazing weather and beautiful people, encapsulated in a world-class city with iconic landmarks, makes it difficult not to fantasize of grandeur in Sydney, Australia. Thousands of international students travel to Sydney each year to live out their dreams of learning and living in the outback. However, little do they realize that the city not only allows them to live and learn in an excellent place, but it allows them to study abroad on an epic scale – studying abroad should be done on an EPIC LEVEL.

Programs such as AIFS Abroad provide excursions and cultural immersion for international students to get to know Sydney with fellow international students. These cultural immersion activities consist of 5-day excursions to the barrier reef on-site orientation in Sydney. While other programs provide more flexibility for students to live and do activities independently such as IES Abroad, both programs offer student housing which is a great way to meet other students and a can also be good support system.

Life in Sydney can be a bit damaging on the wallets, but with a little hustle you can collect a nice amount of piggy bank change to help finance your exploration into the outback. Here are a few scholarships to help stage off the poor starving college student syndrome, because the malnourished study abroad student look is not hot.

Consider checking out websites such as Endeavour Awards, or the Association of Commonwealth Universities website. Check out university websites to find more information about scholarships (Sydney University provides a list of scholarships for international students that attend their University. ).

Another helpful avenue for getting your money right is to check out non-profit clubs and local notary clubs in your hometown for scholarships and sponsoring. Consider applying for one of many student discount cards all over the Internet: we recommend the ISIC Card or the ISE Card.

Culture and Immersion

Sydney has its own vibe and it does not take students long to become aware of it. “No worries mate”, soon becomes the go-to phase for everything in life. This can be credited to it being the largest city and financial capitol of Australia which just so happens to be conveniently surrounded by beautiful beaches in a climate that will keep students in flip flops and bathing suits while in lecture. A great way to think of Sydney is: a big city with many smaller cities in it. Each suburb has its own main street area that consists of shops, bars and restaurants.

Some of the more notable areas to explore while in Sydney are as follows:

  • Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens
  • The Rocks, by Circular Quay
  • Sydney Opera House
  • Royal Botanic Gardens and the Domain
  • Hyde Park
  • Bondi Beach
  • Manly Beach and the Sydney Northern Beaches
  • Darling Harbour
  • Blue Mountains

All of the above areas are easily accessible through public transportation, which is simple and quite affordable. Catching the train and bus from place to place is a great way to see the countryside or just to hop around the city. Check out City Rail for more train information and Sydney Buses for the bus system.

Here is a diamond in the rough that many students will not recognize until it is too late: the central train station in Sydney will take students anywhere they want to go in Australia, and passes can be purchased for unlimited travel amongst selected rail lines for 14 days to 6 months – purchase the passes before you get to Australia and save up to 30%! Cha-ching!


Needless to say, studying abroad ain’t cheap and Sydney does not help the situation. Just to put it into perspective, Sydney is the 7th most expensive place to visit in the world - IN THE WORLD - coming in three places above New York City. Luckily, there are great ways to navigate these turbulent financial waters.

Staying near public transportation will help in reducing transportation cost. If your program does not offer housing then shared accommodation is definitely the best way to reduce this major expense. It is common to spend roughly 120 – 400 USD per week for shared accommodation.

Always check your school housing office for additional assistance - there may be some gems in there. Check out these online classified websites for housing and accommodation:

Some student friendly areas to check out are Newtown, Glebe, Redfern and Ultim.

Contributed by Maxine Sharf


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