Molly McCarthy

University of Newcastle, Australia


After about 34 hours of traveling, I arrived in Sydney, Australia on February 12.

My flight landed around 9 a.m Sydney time, which meant it was 5 p.m the previous day at home. I immediately called my parents to let them know I made it; they were making dinner while the day was just beginning for me.

The following days were spent exploring Sydney with other CIS abroad students and learning how to survive in Australian society.

I got to see the Sydney Opera House and go surfing at the famous Bondi Beach, which was amazing.  I also ate kangaroo for the first time.

After a few days had passed, it was time to head to my university in Newcastle. I was sad to leave Sydney, but so excited to get settled and meet new people.

I arrived two weeks before classes started, so it was a bit quiet at first. I had plenty of time to explore the town and get groceries and other items I needed.

There were a few events throughout the week including a pub crawl and a trip to a water park in Sydney. Orientation started a week after I moved in.

Contributed Photo: KSC junior Molly McCarthy with a group at Bondi Beach learning to surf.

Contributed Photo: KSC junior Molly McCarthy with a group at Bondi Beach learning to surf.

That was a lot of fun and a great opportunity to meet my block-mates. There were theme parties, beach days, barbecues, a scavenger hunt and more.

I live in an apartment with four other people. Two of them are boys from Sydney, one girl from Sydney and one girl from Norway. We all share one bathroom and a kitchen.

There are 25 additional people who live in my building. Aside from my Norwegian roommate, I’ve met a few people from England, and others from Singapore, South Korea and Brazil.

My campus is beautiful and a lot bigger than what I’m used to at Keene State College. There is a bank right on campus and a bar as well.

There are two outdoor pools and a 50-meter Olympic sized pool at the gym. I’m looking forward for classes to start. It will be my first time sharing a classroom with hundreds of students.

There are a lot of differences that I’m slowly getting used to. Aside from the size of the school and the 16 hour time difference, the number-one difference is the climate. It’s currently summer here— which I am loving.

It’s around 75 to 80 degrees most days. Also, cars drive on the opposite side of the road which was crazy at first. The people here are all super nice and welcoming and very laid back. Another big difference is they use the metric system here.

The time difference can be tough in terms of keeping in touch with family and friends. In the beginning it was overwhelming.

There is only a small window of time when my family and I are both awake at the same time. Luckily my campus has Wifi so I’m able to communicate with them without a problem. As of right now, the homesickness isn’t too bad. I definitely miss everyone but I stay busy and I’m enjoying all of my new experiences.

While everyone speaks English, their dialect is slightly different and I’m starting to pick it up. I’ve noticed that Australians abbreviate everything and anything.

Contributed Photo: Newcastle Beach.

Contributed Photo: Newcastle Beach.

For example, McDonald’s is always  referred to as “Maccas,” and if class starts at 2:30 p.m., they would say “two-thirt.”

My first trip to the grocery store was overwhelming because all the brands are very different. Luckily, my Australian friends filled me in on what is good.

If there is a bad part about Australia, it’s definitely how expensive everything is. I’m buying the necessities, but saving money so I can travel. My destination list includes New Zealand, The Gold Coast, The Great Barrier Reef and Melbourne.

Despite the prices, I’m loving Australia. I’ve been here for just about three weeks and I already can’t imagine leaving. I can’t wait to make the most of the next 126 days!

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