Everything you need to know before joining
Diggin’ It Down Under
Sydney has it all — beaches, nightlife, outdoor sports, and a big, big country to explore. That’s why the Jags call it (unofficially, of course) the most “kick ass” city of all. And it’s probably why Australia is one of the top destinations worldwide for foreign students. In fact, foreign students represent the second-largest sector of Australia’s economy, second only to mining.
S P Jain’s Sydney campus is brand new, located at Olympic Park (where they held the 2000 Summer Olympics, uh, duh…). This is where Sydney hosts big rock concerts and other large-scale events on the weekends.
Safety — The first question Indian parents always ask is whether Sydney is safe for Indian students. The answer is an unequivocal YES. True, Australia did have a few racial incidents, but these are long in the past. We have not had ONE SINGLE incidence of violence, racial or otherwise, reported by our students. That said, remember that Sydney is a very large city. Would you hang out in the bad parts of Mumbai or New York at 8:00 am? Would you get drunk in the Chicago or London ghettos? Of course not. So use your head, and you’ll be just fine.
Housing — By their third and fourth years, Jaguars are older, more mature (hopefully), and ready to live independently. So instead of a hostel or dormitory, they stay in regular apartments. These are 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartments housing four students each, and come completely equipped with furniture, washer, dryer, dishwasher, stove, microwave, pots, pans, etc. They are about a 40-minute walk from campus. It’s flat, so most students get bicycles. They LOVE these apartments, by the way. Some students rent places on their own (not connected with the school). You can save money this way, but it tends to be less convenient.Transportation — You can get around by bus and train. There’s a train station just two blocks from the campus, and a bus stop right near the apartments. There’s also a ferry from the apartments right into the heart of downtown Sydney. Frankly, it’s not as cheap or easy as in Singapore. (Almost nothing in the whole world is, for that matter.) The buses stop running at night, and they’re not that frequent. Some students buy a car, either on their own or together. This can be kind of a hassle, though, because there are very limited parking spots on campus. Still, a car comes in really handy when you need to haul a big load of groceries home from the store. The best idea is to get a bicycle. It’s almost totally flat between the apartments and the campus, and with a bicycle you don’t have to wait for a bus.
Jobs — Foreign students in Australia are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week when classes are in session, and up to 40 hours a week during breaks. Part-time jobs off campus pay up to $20 an hour (sometimes $30 on Sundays), which explains why so many Jaguars work. That said, there aren’t too many employment possibilities close to either the apartments or the campus. Most students who work do so on the weekends, when they have time for a longer commute.
Money — Australia, in general, is more expensive than either Singapore or Dubai. Groceries, fast food, bus tickets, clothes, and practically everything else costs quite a bit more than you will expect. (Think London, New York or Tokyo.) Also, in the school’s apartments, you have to pay for utilities and things like Internet. So be sure to factor in more spending money that you did for the other campuses.
More — Actually, we don’t need to tell you that much more about Sydney. By the time you’re ready to go there, you will (a) already know how to take care of yourself in another country, thanks to your time in Singapore and Dubai; and (b) already know a lot of Jaguars in earlier cohorts, who will give you the real scoop on absolutely everything.
Also, check out Living and Working Guide to Sydney (below). Warning: it’s really big, about 50 pages in PDF format.