Planning on Studying Abroad in Australia? Here's What You Need to Know

Jillian Ramirez, Pitt in Sydney'20

Although there are many study abroad guides and checklists out there, there are some bits of advice I’d like to share with those who are planning to study abroad in Sydney, Australia based off of my own experience studying abroad there this past semester.

Bring a Book

You may think you’re really never going to read that book that you’ve been carrying around each time you travel for the past three years, but you might be surprised that you actually reach for it out of your carry on this time around. The trip to Sydney is just so long. From waiting at the gate in the airport, to the first six-hour plane ride, to the second 15-hour plane ride, you actually might want to take your earbuds out and pull your eyes away from a screen for a bit. 

Be Ready for Rain

Although you might have a picture in your mind of Australia that consists of endless sunny days on the beach, this is not exactly accurate. During my stay in Sydney, we experienced the beginnings of the breaking of a three-year-long drought. It rained often and sporadically, stopping and starting again throughout the day in between periods of sun. You will still get your share of sun, but you should pack a raincoat and an umbrella so that you can enjoy your time in the rain as well.

Always Wear Sunscreen

The sun may not always be out, but the UV index is always high. This means that even when it’s overcast, you are still at a high risk for getting burnt. Make sure you wear sunscreen, 30 SPF or higher. And don’t worry, you’ll still come back to the U.S. with a nice tan.

Don’t Tip, Seriously

Servers at restaurants have a livable wage, so they do NOT expect you to tip them! You may be uncomfortable with this concept at first – I know I was – but remember that it’s what they are comfortable with, and you’re in their country after all.

Pay Attention to Prices

The value of one USD is greater than one AUD, so don’t be surprised when prices are a little higher than you’re used to. One entrée may be $17 when you’re used to paying $12 for something similar in the U.S. But keep in mind that the price you’re paying is in AUD. 

Download a Currency Converter App

What I mentioned above can get a little confusing, so downloading a currency converter app is a great way to see how much you’re actually spending. You simply plug in the price of something in AUD, and it instantaneously converts it to USD. So, you can quickly see that the $17 AUD you’re spending is really only around $11 USD.