Insider Guides - International Student Guide to Sydney & NSW
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The Insider Guide to Sydney and NSW is designed to help you enjoy your new home on your terms. Filled with local student contributions, this guide not only helps you get settled, but gives you the 'inside word' on adventure, shopping, nightlife, food and more. What will you discover?
New experiences and adventures
Studying in New South Wales is not just about hard work; there is time to have fun too. This section explains a little more about the Australian way of life and gives you some top tips on going out and about and enjoying yourself.
Australia is a culturally diverse nation and is a society where equality, tolerance and freedom are valued. Australians have a reputation for being informal, friendly and welcoming. Most people will greet you by your first name. The lifestyle in Australia is very laid back, and socialising often centres around family and friends, food and drink, as well as outdoor activities like watching sport or going to the beach.
Faith and beliefs
Australia does not have an official religion; however freedom of religion is encouraged and valued. As a result, Australia is religiously diverse and continues to diversify, with religious organisations playing a strong role in public life. In NSW you'll find places of worship for a huge variety of faiths. Many universities have prayer rooms and interfaith chapels, and you'll find temples, churches, synagogues and mosques in many locations.
Australians like to celebrate, and there are several public holidays in the NSW calendar. On these days some businesses and educational institutions will be closed. Popular holidays include:
- Australia Day: 26 January, marks the day in 1788 that the First Fleet arrived in Sydney Cove from Great Britain, led by Captain Arthur Phillip.
- Easter: March or April, a Christian celebration to mark the death and resurrection of Christ. On Easter Sunday many Australians give Easter eggs as gifts. The Easter long weekend runs for four days- Friday to Monday, and Good Friday is the day most major businesses will close.
- Anzac Day: 25 April marks the date that Australian and New Zealand troops landed in Gallipoli, Turkey in 1915. Many people attend dawn memorial services and marches to remember those who have fought for Australia and New Zealand or lost their lives in war.
- Queen's Birthday: In NSW the Queen's Birthday public holiday is held on the Monday following the first Saturday of June and is the official Birthday of the Commonwealth Head of State, usually celebrated with a fireworks display.
- Labour Day: The first Monday of October, celebrating the Australian labour movements, achievement of a working day limited to eight hours.
- Christmas Day: 25 December, a Christian celebration to mark the birth of Christ but also celebrated by Australians of all denominations. Followed by the Boxing Day holiday on 26 December.
- New Year's Day: 1 January, often celebrated with fireworks and parties
You'll be spoiled for choice when it comes to going out in New South Wales. Choose from theatre, music, dance, sporting events, festivals, eating out, or exploring the natural world. Australians love the outdoors, and you'll find there's generally something on all year round. For more information on events in your area, check out the What's on in NSW website.
If you would like to explore the state during study breaks, you will find there are lots of wonderful trips to choose from. Visit beautiful beaches, explore world heritage sites, enjoy family activities and have an adventure. Check out the Visit NSW website for more information.
Australians are known for their love of all things sporting, so if you love to watch or play, you'll have a huge variety of activities to choose from:
- Spectator sports: Watch soccer (football), AFL, rugby union or league, tennis, netball or cricket at major sporting grounds. Some of the largest events include the Australian Open (Tennis), the Boxing Day Cricket Test, and the Australian Rules Football (AFL) Grand Final.
- On campus: Many educational institutions offer students the opportunity to be involved in activities and sports, including team games, martial arts, field sports, athletics, bowling and more.
- Local parks: One of the best ways to see Australians doing what they love best is to head to a local park. There, you can watch friendly football matches, ride your bike, play tennis – and much more. Check with your local council for more details of what's on offer in your location.
Check out sydney.com for all the events happening in Australia's largest city!
Visit NSW has up-to-date information on the events and experiences across NSW
On the City of Sydney's What's On website you can subscribe to receive the weekly newsletter to discover the best events that Sydney has to offer!
The Welcome Dinner Project - connecting newly arrived people with established Australians
The Welcome Dinner Project is enabling newly arrived people - including international students - and established Australians to meet over dinner conversation in the comfort of their own home. This project is accessible to everyone! There is no cost involved and support can be provided for transport, child minding and translation when necessary. All you have to do is register your interest to either host a Welcome Dinner in your home or simply participate in a Welcome Dinner in your area and Joining the Dots will be in touch to take you through the next steps! Register today!