July 1, 2013, by paaas1
A Student Sydney Sider
It’s easy to get distracted when trying to write a dissertation in Sydney. The sun, the beaches, the ice cream, the shopping, the surfing… I could go on. But when offered the opportunity to study at the University of Sydney I just couldn’t say no.
I was based in the pharmacy practice research department and was involved in a study about community pharmacists and their attitudes to complementary medicines. It involved conducting focus groups, which we did around Sydney at various locations – a great way to experience the city! I loved my research; however, the temptation to travel in such a remarkable country got the better of me.
I traveled to Ayers Rock, or more correctly, Uluru, which was spectacular. The 10km base walk around the rock ended with heat exhaustion for me, but it was still an amazing experience! I spent another weekend in Melbourne, a fantastic city with so much to see and do. I went penguin spotting at St. Kilda beach, watched a comedy show and spent a day on the Great Ocean Road (which include some koala spotting!).
Sydney is constantly host to a variety of shows and festivals, from the extravagant Mardi Gras parade to Chinese New Year celebrations throughout China town. One excellent festival was the Sydney Shakespeare Festival – A selection of Shakespeare plays performed outdoors on the edge of a beautiful harbour at sunset. I was fortunate enough to see Much Ado about Nothing, which was definitely one of my more sophisticated evenings in Sydney!
The Sydney Sider lifestyle could not be more different to my Nottingham life. A uniform of shorts and thongs (don’t worry – the Aussies mean flip flops) and heading to the beach or the mountains on sunny weekends. I felt that I couldn’t go to Sydney and not learn to surf, so I gave it a go. Some people can get up on a surfboard on the first attempt. Some, like me, needed three full days of coaching before riding a wave (including several unintentional underwater somersaults, a few surfboards to the face and the odd jellyfish sting). But as ever, perseverance is rewarded.
My adventures in Australia were unforgettable, and I would recommend studying abroad to anyone. Making friends from around the world and visiting new places together is an awesome experience. I will always be grateful to the School of Pharmacy here at Nottingham for having such fantastic international research links which enable students to visit institutions around the world.