Everything you need to know before joining
Welcome to Australia, the land of kangaroos and koalas, of bizarre weather and people who love getting wasted!
Isolated from the rest of the world, Australia has a whole continent as its own playground. Yet, probably due to its unique location, everyone here has a non-mainstream (weird, to be blunt) way of thinking and living. Of the whole giant continent, most people would prefer to squeeze themselves into some little corners. As time goes by, these corners grow into big cities, one of which is Sydney where I am living at the moment.
You probably have heard about “love at first sight with Sydney” from all the fancy advertisements and promotions. I bet if you live here long enough, you will be brainwashed into obsession with the city. People here are so self-loving and proud of their city that they try to squeeze “Sydney” in anywhere they can! The very first thing that caught my sight was the Sydney Opera House, which, in a nutshell, resembles multiple shells, one lying on top of the other. Then came the so-called Sydney Harbour Bridge, the city’s icon overlooking the famous Circular Quay. “Such lame names!” I thought to myself. “Come on! Everyone knows they are in Sydney and doesn’t need to be reminded all the time!”
Trust me, the longer you stay here you will find tons of weird things.
Sydney’s unique weirdness wouldn’t be complete without its people. Imagine yourself taking a walk in the morning when some strangers pass by every time, smiling at you and saying “hi” for no reason. I remember standing at the traffic light the other day when two Aussie guys right there struck a conversation with me. Upon knowing that I am from Vietnam, they wasted no time in showing off their Vietnamese vocabularies, which was more amusing than amazing to me, for I had completely no idea what they were pronouncing.
In the process of getting used to this new place, you will definitely meet a lot of Australians. A typical Aussie conversation would be like this:
-G’day mate! How’re ya?
– Good, thanks mate! How ‘bout you?
– I am good! Gotta go now, see you later!
– All right, cheers mate!
There are just so many “mate” in a conversation that newcomers may take “mate” for a personal name. Well, the fact is that it’s cool to address people as “mates” here. The truth is that mateship has been in the fabric of Australian life since the earliest days when male convicts set foot on the strange land. People had to cooperate and work together to survive the new hostile environment. Oh by the way, there are a lot to talk about the environment here!
Simply put, just image how a person mood changes during the day: Waking up in the morning after a good sleep, he feels energized and happy. As the afternoon comes, his spirit gradually goes down. Hungry, he opens his fridge only to find no food left. He suddenly becomes cranky and angry. As he looks around, he sees the half-finished box of pizza on the table since last night, grabs it and devour it instantly. Now he lies back, feeling happy again with his full stomach.
Likewise, you may wake up after your first night in Sydney feeling grateful for such a beautiful sunny morning. Wait for it! While you are taking a leisurely walk in the park, dark clouds, out of nowhere, suddenly creep in, accompanied by roars of thunder. Wind keeps blowing harder and harder as you are about to run around like a headless chicken in search of shelter. Too late! Before you can do anything, it has already rained cats and dogs. What is even more remarkable is how the rain stops exactly the moment you are completely soaked!
Therefore my best advice for you is: make an umbrella your best friend.
And that is probably my only advice in this guide!
You might think it is weird, but excuse me! I have been in Sydney for almost a year…
~Khoa Nguyen, BBA12