Our time here in Sydney is almost over. Christmas is coming and we still are not getting used to see fake Christmas trees right next to a palm tree when it is almost 30°C outside.
When we got here in September, we got to know each other very fast and the MHMK students became friends and we all also made friends from all around the world. The college is in a very beautiful and old building, which looks like a castle. Parts of the movie “The Great Gatsby” was filmed here. Besides, Nicole Kidman married Keith Urban in the chapel next to the college where we had our welcoming ceremony and in general, it is a popular location for wedding because you have a great view all over Manly and the ocean. There are around 1200 students at ICMS and most of them are coming from overseas. Most of the German students are living on campus, but some decided to look for a room in Manly. Manly is a suburb of Sydney and it takes half an hour with the ferry to get to the city.
We started with an orientation week in the middle of September, where we got officially enrolled and there was a barbeque and sports event and also a cocktail evening at the college. We only have classes three days a week, but we still have to do a lot of assignments, so it was not like relaxing all the time. At college, we have to wear a business attire, which means that the boys wear a suit and tie while the girls can choose between a skirt or trousers and a blazer.
We have four subjects and have an exam in three of them. During the semester, we also had to do essays and presentations. Currently, we are in the middle of our finals. Compared to Germany, the semester is very short, however, it is more stressful than at the MHMK. Right now, it gets hotter and hotter outside, which is why we are really looking forward to next week when we have more time to relax at the beach.
The college offers some different daytrips like to the Blue Mountains or the Hunter Valley, where you can taste wine. Many of us also went to a wildlife park and we could pet a koala and feed kangaroos, which was very exciting. Some also went to a surf camp for one weekend to take some lessons. Manly is a great place to surf, so it is worth learning it.
Sydney is a very beautiful, but expensive place to live. You can do a lot of different things here, there are many beautiful beaches and also lots of possibilities to travel. We went to a famous nightclub called Ivy together, where there is a pool and we even saw Rihanna. Bars and clubs close earlier than in Germany, which means around 3am. In Manly, there are rather bars than clubs and some students take part in table tennis and beer pong tournaments during the week here. Last week, we had a barbeque together at the beach in Manly.
Australia in general is not much different from Germany regarding its culture. It is especially the cost of living which is different from Germany. Food and drinks, cigarettes and the rent for a room or apartment are relatively expensive. Still, we think that Sydney is worth it and we are all doing very well here. Some of us will stay after the exams in order to travel around Australia, others are going home for Christmas.
If you want to work in Australia, there is a so-called RSA required for most jobs. This is a license to serve alcohol and you can do it online. The minimum wage is around 17$, which makes life much easier, but still you have to decide if you can handle your studies and work part-time.
Next week, we are having a cruise party around Manly and Sydney harbour as a farewell event. This is organised by the college and there will be food, drinks and music, so we are already quite excited.
I can really recommend you to do your semester abroad in Sydney, it is a great place to study and offers an awesome experience.