Life on Campus and Classes
Life on Campus is one of the greatest experiences you will ever have. A lot of people share a room, which are not too big and you share a bathroom and a kitchen with the people on your floor.
There is always someone around you and you will have the chance to live together with your closest friends. If you are homesick or having a bad day there are the Residental Leaders on each floor, who have always an open ear for you and will gladly take you out for a coffee. There is also a TV Room where you and your new friends can meet up to watch some Netflix or just chat. Located on the second floor in Moran House is a Computer Room with a couple of sofas, where you can work on your Assignments.
Classes and teaching at ICMS can be quite different from the ones in Germany. First of: one only has about three to four classes, which makes about 2 to 3 days of Classes a week. But there are several Assignments in each subject over the course of the semester, which can take up quite some time from the rest of the week.
So, keep the workload in mind, but don’t forget to enjoy the beach and all the activities Manly has to offer you.
Activities in Sydney and from ICMS
There are plenty of opportunities to participate in different activities in and around Sydney. The ICMS organises a variety of day trips for students, such as a trip to the Blue Mountains which I went on. Now the Blue Mountains is definitely worth visiting with its breathtaking views. We also watched an aboriginal theatre play and had the opportunity to take pictures with some native aboriginals.
Another great trip which one can participate in is the Hunter Valley Wine trip. I didn’t attend this outing, however friends of mine told me how great it was, tasting lots of different excellent Australian wines.
Now my overall favourite trip, was Surf Camp. Surf Camp goes over a whole weekend and you take a two hour coach ride, all together, to what seems like the middle of nowhere. This is right by the Seven Miles Beach, which offers the perfect opportunity for a complete beginner to learn how to surf. All equipment was provided and on the Saturday I had two surf lessons and one on Sunday. Food and accommodation were also included in the price. The Surf Camp Crew even took us out for a fun party night! I highly recommend this trip, as you don’t just learn how to surf properly, you also get to know people from different universities and are part of a big surfing family. You’ll probably catch the surfing fever just like I did! And guess what, ICMS has surf boards, so all you really need is to buy or borrow a wetsuit to continue the fun on Manly Beach!
Living off campus, getting around and working:
Not living on campus can have as many bright sides as living on campus. I didn’t want to feel like living at home again, prefer to make my own food and have my own place and meet people apart from those at ICMS. So, I decided to live off campus in Manly. My flat is luckily very close to the ICMS, the Corso (which is kind of the main road in Manly) and Manly Beach, so I can walk almost everywhere. Other students from ICMS living in the area around Manly are still well-connected, as there are many busses.
The connection to the CBD of Sydney is quite good as well: There is the ferry, the fast ferry and several busses. For access to public transport you only need an OPAL card, which you top up with some money and then tap on and off. (Taking the ferry one-way costs approx. $8, a bus ride of 30 minutes about $4). When taking the bus, you have to wave to the bus driver when you want to get in. Also, Australians are very polite when getting inside of the bus: There is a clear line and everybody waits inside the line until it’s their turn to get in. Finally, in the end of a bus drive Australians typically say “Thank you” to the bus driver before getting out of the bus – this is a god example for the typical Aussie friendliness.
Another part of not living on campus is having to cook your own food. In Manly there are several supermarkets and one of the cheapest is Coles. Some ingredients are still quite expensive (e.g. avocado/nuts), but milk, eggs, pasta and vegetables are all affordable. There are many good pre-prep dishes in the supermarket, as zucchini noodles, salads or simply already chopped up vegetables. You will also find Dr. Oetker frozen pizzas, 4 minute Mac&Cheese and something I have never seen in Germany before: a whole coocked chicken, ready to eat, in a plastic bag for takeaway.
As the rent and costs for food still sum up, some people (including me) decided to get a job here. A lot of students found work in restaurants and bars. These employers appreciate when you have experience and for most restaurant jobs a RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) certificate is needed. Important is, that with our kind of student visa we can only do the RSA before being in Australia, as for some weird reason we are not allowed to do it here – so if you plan to work in a Bar or Restaurant better do the RSA before coming here.
Finally, even though living off campus, there are plenty of possibilities to see the other ICMS students. During classes or in the break is a good time for a small chat, but an even better opportunity is to join one of the sport activities ICMS offers. And if that isn’t enough, a lot of people come together at parties in the basement (the student bar at ICMS) or afterwards in Shark Bar or at other clubs or bars around Manly or Sydney. Life in Manly definitely doesn’t get boring, and there is always something good to do.