My arrival to Australia

31 October 2022

Student Ugne Vilkeviciute takes us through his arrival and first steps in Sydney

I arrived in Sydney in the morning after an 8-hour flight from Thailand where I have spent a month enjoying tropical weather, amazing, cheap food, and some of the kindest people. After long security checks and a trip to my new home, Queen Mary Building (which is a dorm really close to campus), I experience feelings of overwhelm, exhaustion, and excitement. I am finally here! Elevator trip to my room on the floor 8 and voila, I am now living with a view to Sydney’s CBD area! But this day is bound to be long. I came with one 60 litres backpack all the way to across the world, so I need sheets and kitchen utensils, and food as well as a scarf. To be completely honest I expected weather to be warmer, but maybe that’s just contrast between weather in Thailand and Sydney that made me think it is really cold here in winter (it is usually around 17-20C).

The shopping centre everyone recommended me is called Broadway, so I head there, but since everyone is, many of the products I need from Kmart (the cheapest shop to get all the household products) are sold out. I decide to leave and head to a different shopping centre in Marrickville. I find all I need in here and head back with a backpack a little heavier than I would prefer.

First days here are not easy, but they hold a promise of new experiences, discoveries, and fun. Every day this week there are events in the LG floor of my building and there it seems many people already know each other and have formed groups, but everyone is very friendly and open to a conversation and will invite you to go out together. 

Besides events at QMB, there are events organized by university itself. Many of them might seem to be sold out but my advice is show up anyway as many people that registered won’t and you are very likely to get a spot. That’s what I did to go to indigenous knowledge tour in Royal Botanical Garden. It was great to get a bit more in touch with indigenous culture, values, and knowledge as the guide herself was from one of the indigenous nations. Besides botanical gardens are really nice place to visit due to variety of plants that you might have never seen before. The tour was also a great opportunity to meet other exchange students and see the famous Darlington Harbour. 

During this first week was intense but after it the semester started, so it only got more difficult, more interesting, and more fun. The most important thing for me was to allow myself to stop and check in how I’m feeling and having calls with my friends in family.