Your life at Sydney
Get involved in student life
The University of Sydney Union (USU) is a student-led organisation that provides you with fantastic opportunities to:
- develop your leadership and teamwork skills
- find entertainment
- join clubs and societies
- meet others with similar interests.
You can also become involved as a volunteer and make a contribution to the university or broader community, though a special interest club for international students such as Unimates.
There are also dozens of clubs offering support for various nationalities, such as students from Malaysia, China, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Japan.
International Student Lounge
The University of Sydney Union’s International Student Lounge located on level 4 of the Wentworth Building is an excellent place to get access to useful resources, enjoy cultural experiences, relax and meet other international students.
The lounge has staff who are available to help you transition (begin your new life) in the University community. There are weekly cultural and international student programs, free computer access, and tea and coffee.
Transport – getting around Sydney
Sydney has a very extensive public transport system, including buses, trains, light rail and ferries. There are also private bus companies that service some areas. In order to make sure you get the best value for your transport dollar you should visit:
- Timetables, fares and general transport information: www.transportnsw.info
- Sydney buses: www.sydneybuses.info
- Sydney trains: www.sydneytrains.info
We strongly recommend you investigate the value of prepaid tickets and multiple journey tickets. You may also be eligible for a concession (discounted) ticket, depending on your situation.
Some international students on certain scholarships and some Study Abroad and Exchange students are entitled to a concession. Check with the Campus Card Centre.
Cultural and religious diversity is an important part of life in Australia and people are free to practice and follow their own beliefs and religion. The predominant religions in Australia are Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Taoism.
Some of the major religions and their Australian websites are listed below:
Anglican Church of Australia
Catholic Church in Australia
Seventh Day Adventist
Uniting Church in Australia
The University of Sydney has a Multifaith Chaplaincy Centre, which provides free spiritual support and pastoral care to students and staff on campus. The chaplains are appointed by their faith community and officially recognised by the University.
Shopping for groceries
There are several supermarket chains in Sydney. These include the large stores Woolworths and Coles, and smaller supermarket chains such as Franklins and Aldi, which sell food products and household goods at discounted prices. These supermarkets provide fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen foods, canned goods, meat, bread, laundry and cleaning supplies and much more. The larger supermarkets usually operate seven days per week.
In most Sydney suburbs there are also convenience stores such as 7-11, which often have extended trading hours and sell a range of groceries including milk, butter and bread. The goods in these stores can be more expensive than in supermarkets.
Halal and Kosher butchers
For an up-to-date list of halal butchers and restaurants in Sydney, visit the NSW Islamic Council website.
For an updated list of kosher butchers and restaurants in Sydney, visit Jewish Australia Online.
Buying household items and clothing
The major department stores in Sydney include David Jones and Myer. Both are located in the shopping district of the city centre and also have outlets in suburban areas, usually in shopping malls. You can buy an extensive range of clothing, shoes, household goods and electrical items from these department stores, but they can be expensive.
Discount variety stores such as K-Mart, Best & Less, Target, and Big W often sell less expensive clothing, along with household goods such as linen and electrical items. Sydney has two Ikea stores where you can also buy household goods: in the suburbs Tempe and Homebush.
There are several clothing factory outlets in the area around the inner city suburb of Surry Hills, which sell clothing at reduced prices. Check the Bargain Shopper’s Guide to Sydney for more details.
Markets are a good place to purchase new and secondhand clothing and all sorts of household goods and food. The Sydney Fresh Food Market is located in Flemington and Paddy’s Market in Flemington and Haymarket (Chinatown). Visit www.sydneymarkets.com.au for details.
Markets are also located in suburban areas. For information about these, visit www.you.com.au.
To find out where you can get other bargains in clothing, shoes, household goods, furniture and much more, visit these useful websites:
- The Bargain Shopper’s Guide to Sydney
- Trading Post (print versions can also be purchased at most newsagents)
- Locanto, a classifieds website where you can list and browse accommodation opportunities, furniture and other household goods in and around Sydney
- Gumtree, a classified ads and community website
- Garage Trail Sale, where you can look up garage sales coming soon to a neighbourhood near you.
Sydney is a multicultural city and has an incredible variety of food available. There are many cheap restaurants and cafes in and around the University’s Camperdown and Darlington Campuses.
The Cheap Eats Guide to Sydney book lists many of the cheaper restaurants and cafes around the city of Sydney. The guide is available from most newsagents (small shops selling general goods) and can also be found online at www.eatstreets.com.au
The Friday edition of the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper has an extensive entertainment guide to activities in Sydney over the weekend and into the following week. The guide is called Metro, and lists community events, exhibitions, live music (such as jazz, rock, classical and country) comedy, theatre, lectures, courses and private tuition, fairs, concerts and children’s activities, many of which are free.
The website www.sydney.citysearch.com.au also provides information on current community events in Sydney.
Look for half-price days (usually Tuesdays) at cinemas such as Event Cinemas and Hoyts or your local independent theatres. There is a Hoyts Cinema at Broadway Shopping Centre, very close to the University’s Camperdown Campus.
Sydney has an extensive range of independent cinemas such as Stanmore Theatre, Paddington Twin, the Chauvel, Palace, and Dendy (Newtown and Circular Quay), which show foreign language films and art house movies.