Destined for Sydney

US student Malika Gill shares her excitement as she prepares to arrive in Australia for a Study Abroad session at Macquarie.

In exactly one week I’ll be on a plane out of Richmond, Virginia destined for Sydney, Australia. I’m so excited, yet anxious at the same time!

We just had a massive storm that dumped 18 inches of snow, so needless to say I cannot wait to be soaking up the sun down under. On the other hand, the thought of being 10,000 miles from my dad makes me want to cancel my plans and never leave. I know once I arrive in Sydney I’ll be happy with my choice, but right now I’m a little sad.

I have two cousins that moved near Sydney a few years ago, so I’ll be flying in a couple days early to stay with them and get adjusted to the country. Hopefully I can do a little sightseeing and get over my jetlag before I dive into life at Macquarie.

I am a bit scared to start school because it’s so different from the US. When I looked at syllabi for my classes I noticed the grading scale was a lot less lenient and the layout consisted of a few assignments determining your final grade. I know this will be hard to adjust to at first but I’m certain I will learn so much about myself through living in a new country. I also expect to learn a lot more about budgeting my finances since Sydney is one of the most expensive cities in the world!

One of the big reasons I chose to study abroad is to experience a new culture, so I knew that even with English as a common language, Australia would be different from the US. What I didn’t know is that there is so much slang! Another strange thing I’m not ready to accept is that McDonalds, affectionately known as ‘Mickey Ds’ here, is called ‘Maccas’ in Australia. Luckily my best friend picked me up an Australian language and culture book, so I will be reading that on the plane ride over.

I’m studying abroad through Academic Programs International and they helped arrange many parts of my trip like applying to Macquarie and figuring out housing. I did have to apply for a visa, which was approved in one day! The downside was the cost-a whopping $400 USD to obtain a student visa. I really had to remind myself how beautiful Australia is to cheer myself up after forking over that much.

Now all that’s left to do is pack and say my goodbyes to friends and family!