Life in Sydney as a foreigner – Travel Tips

Pylon Lookout, Harbour Bridge, Sydney. August 2017

So, I went to Sydney for six months. This would be the first time I would live on my own, everything I know and am familiar with would be at least 22 hours of flying time away, time difference of 8 to 10 hours and a first job experience in an unknown city… An adventure on itself….

So, I got the chance to spend the better part of six months on the other side of the planet. This was due to my studies, to arrange a placement (internship) abroad, with barely any limits, which I considered to be an opportunity I couldn’t pass on.

The preparation

I read multiple forums on what to do before I go to Australia. After watching a lot of border security I got the thought that I need to get everything properly sorted before arrival, as it can be very strict at the airport. Additionally, knowing all the crazy and dangerous animals living there, I looked up multiple things on preventing spiders in my place etc.

Arriving at final destination

The first thing of course is finding out when to leave, to meet the university’s requirements (placement duration and dates of being back in my home country). Booking plane tickets was also a thing on itself, like what am I gonna do, decide for a long(er) layover in a city I want to explore, or travel straight to my final destination as quick as possible, on which a blog will follow later on how to survive a long-haul flight. For booking my tickets I regret not having the info that has been provided in the first blog of Joël, on booking cheap tickets. Check that out here. (Opens in new tab)

Followed by, maybe the most important aspect of staying, my Visa. For others in the same situation as I, as a student for an internship, you need a working/holiday Visa, and costs $450 (Australian). This Visa allows you to stay in Australia for 12 months, and restrictions or any additional information on visas can be found on the Australian government website.

And the last thing I prepared, was my housing which was the most difficult thing to do. Taking into consideration what you personally want is the most difficult thing and might influence the rent price a lot. I chose for an expensive housing option, by renting my own studio apartment near central station (in Redfern). My main tips on this are as follows. First, DO NOT book or agree on a place WITHOUT seeing it in person, don’t sign anything before seeing it in general. Second, arrange a visit at the place that you are interested in. This can be arranged when you still are at home. Third, book a hotel, motel or an AirBnB for a couple of days or even week, to cover the time you might take on looking to the places that you want to live in. Fourth, determine a weekly price range you want to pay, as rent is paid weekly, second, the location and be willing to compromise on cost/location or live a bit further away from your work/internship. Fifth, consider shared housing, it’s first of all cheaper, and if you’re lucky you meet some people, and might create friendships (for life).


So, transport. Sydney is a widespread city. If you look at the map you get on Google Maps you will see how big the city actually is. Sydney has a good public transport network, in my opinion. I’m used to trains not running at all due to a leaf on the tracks, where I’m from, so I mean it operates properly and brings you throughout the city.

In addition to this, Sydney has an additional part of public transport, at Circular Quay (where you find the harbour bridge, the Opera house and the Royal Botanic Gardens), there are a lot of ferries that bring you to great places.

And lastly, the Opal card, similar to what the Dutch readers might know as the OV (Oyster card also similar), is simply in essence your travel card. It can be charged in a lot of stores, and mostly on any corner of any street anywhere in the city you will be able to top the card up. And a last tip, in the weekend on Sundays you have (from 4am Sunday till 3:59 am Monday) a travel cap of AUD $2.50 spread over the day… Perfect to go somewhere further away then in the city centre.

Enjoy your stay in this amazing city! And if you want to share with us, simply tag us in your post on Insta or Facebook! Safe travels!

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