The RUG gets around
Name: Thom van Amersfoort
Age: 22 years old
Where are you studying?
Sidney, Australia
Fourth-year student of International Relations

Sydney, Australia

Surfin’ safari

Every year, many RUG students decide to do an internship or temporary study abroad. Do they get any work done in sunny Granada? Can they find their way around the giant city of Moscow? And what is it like to dance the tango in Buenos Aires? Part 11: Sydney, Australia.
By Nanette Vellekoop / Translation Sarah van Steenderen

‘Sydney mainly has a lot of hamburger places, which is really great. They’re really good, too, with proper bread and various types of cheese. Sydney is also really varied, because it has so many different cultures. You can kind of see how it’s a little bit a part of Asia, but then there is the English influence in that they also have fish and chips.’

‘People do eat out a lot here. It’s a lot more expensive than in the Netherlands, though. Especially alcohol and cigarettes are just prohibitively expensive. A beer out on the terrace is the equivalent of five euros, a pack of cigarettes will cost you twenty.’

Why Sydney?

‘I wanted to go to a country where they spoke English. I want to work in consultancy, which means I need to take business school courses, so I could choose between the United States, Canada, England, and Australia. Of all the universities the RUG is connected to, Sydney is the best when it comes to what I need. Besides, I’ve always been interested in the city of Sydney.’

Did it live up to your expectations?

‘It exceeded them, even though my expectations were already really high because Sydney is so large. Here, every weekend is like a holiday. And when class lets out, you can hop on a bus to the beach or the kangaroo park.’

‘What I also love about this city are all the different neighbourhoods. They all have their individual vibes and type of inhabitant. Take Newtown for example: that’s kind of the hipster neighbourhood. They have this really long street full of little stops and cafés with different kinds of food.’

Was there anything that was disappointing?

‘They are a little behind on some things here. Public transport is awful, because nobody sticks to the timetables. If and when you arrive depends entirely on the driver’s mood. I once waited ten minutes for the bus and when it finally showed up, it just passed me by.’

‘The bureaucracy here is a hassle as well. It’s really difficult for international students to find a job. I’ve been trying for three months and I still haven’t found one. That’s partially because need a permit for everything, but you only get this permit if you take a six-month course at a university. You even need it if you want to work as a barista, or a garbage collector.’

‘I came here thinking I would be able to work approximately twenty hours a week. I knew that Sydney could be pretty expensive, so I was hoping to find a job. My room for example, which is only twelve square metres, costs me about 900 euros a month.’

Do you know how to surf yet?

‘Yes, I do. It’s true that everyone here surfs; it’s just part of the culture. Bondi Beach is the most well-know beach around here: an endless parade of muscles bodies being pretty in the water. But I enjoy other sports activities here as well. The student housing where I live organises a sports activity and a tourist activity every week. Like I said: there is so much to do in Sydney.’

Previous episodes

Joëlle Blankestijn – Bloemfontein, South-Africa
Georgia Tuhoy – Madrid, Spain
Moniek Smit – Cairo, Egypt
Gabby Rialland – Bogota, Colombia
Marleen Kas – Uppsala, Sweden 
Anton Jongeling – Barcelona, Spain 
Desiree Niezen – Kiel, Germany 
Anton Wuis – Busan, South-Korea 
Juliëtte Eijkelkamp – Yogyakarta, Indonesia 
Iris Groenendijk – Cheltenham, England


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