Sydney is located on the east coast of the state of New South Wales and is the most populated city in Australia. Like the rest of Australia, it has a diverse and multicultural community where the people are friendly and laid back to the extent that you will quickly feel a part of the local community. You will need to get used to some local words and phrases, some of which are unique to Australia. For instance, ‘gooday’ means ‘hello’ and ‘tucker’ means ‘food.’ Lecturers and tutors are usually referred to by their first names, which is a practise not often seen in more conservative cultures. About 1% of the population consists of indigenous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as predominantly English, Chinese, Indian, New Zealander and Vietnamese peoples. Sydney consists of a concentrated area of high rise buildings and a sprawl of other buildings, fringed by the beautiful Blue Mountains to the west, the Tasman Sea to the east and several scenic rivers. It is also home to the famous Sydney Opera House, Bondi Beach and Darling Harbour.
When you first arrive in Sydney, if you haven’t already arranged your accommodation, you may want to stay temporarily in a hostel or guesthouse. Trainees then tend to move on to a variety of places to live. This includes private rented accommodation such as apartments. These are fairly expensive, especially in the inner city and cost a minimum of about $450 - $550 a week. Alternatively, you may share a house with other trainees, where everyone has their own room and shares the living room, kitchen, bathrooms etc including the rent. It tends to be a cheaper option too. Others homestay with local families, where you have your own room and some meals are included in the rent. This is a great way to meet new people and to get to know the new culture in a secure environment.
Supermarkets are popular cheap sources of day-to-day grocery supplies. However, eating out in one of the many restaurants at least once in a while is a must and Australia has the benefits of a diverse range of cuisines, with many Mediterranean and East Asian mouth-watering dishes to choose from. You’re also sure to notice early on that most locals take a trip to the beach regularly, especially during holidays, equipped with a barbie (that’s a barbecue to non-Australians!). The locals are fond of sausages, steak and burgers accompanied with bread, tomato sauce and sometimes salad. Australia has the third largest fishing zone in the world, so seafood influences Australian cuisine greatly and you will find Flake (shark meat) as a normal part of the menu. For dessert you can sample some local Lamington Sponge cake, which even has a national day devoted to it! Other Aussie favourites are beef pies, Chinese dim sims, fried potato cakes, fish and chips particularly in coast areas and pavlovas.
The English language Training Center is situated in the Central Business District and is easily accessible by train. It is only a 10 minute walk from the Town Hall and Waynard stations. It also has the advantage of being within a 15 minutes walking distance of the famous Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, with the prominent Queen Victoria building lying only 5 minutes away. Getting around Sydney is easy due to its integrated public transport network of buses, trains, light rail (trams), taxis and car hire. The train network covers the suburbs and extends to many tourist attractions within Sydney and outside Sydney, including the Sydney opera House, Bondi Beach and the Blue mountains.