Welcome to Sydney

There is so much to do in Sydney. Where will you begin? Exploring all that Sydney has to offer is a great way to spend your time when you’re not studying, and you’ll make memories to last a lifetime.


As Australia’s city with the biggest population (Melbourne is second!), there are nearly 5 million Sydneysiders (that’s what we’re called) living here, working and having a blast. In such a big city, there’s so much to do.


You might want to visit Sydney’s tourism highlights first, to be ready for when you’re showing your friends and family around. Sydney’s Opera House is world famous. You can take an inexpensive tour that will tell you its history and point out why its architecture is fabulous and unique. Have a drink or meal while looking across the water to the famous Harbour Bridge. And of course, don’t leave Sydney without seeing a show. At the Opera House, there are plays, concerts, music and… opera.


The Taronga Zoo is at the top of many “must” lists for the opportunity to meet Australia’s zany wildlife up close, as well as a host of international animals too. C’mon, we know you’ve always wanted to pet a koala and see a kangaroo up close. The Thai elephants, snow leopards and meerkats will amuse and engage you too. Visiting the zoo is a great opportunity to hop about a ferry or boat to glide across that famous Harbour.


It all depends on what you like doing. You could explore Australia’s aboriginal culture with a special tour and Aboriginal art at the Art Gallery of NSW and Museum of Contemporary Art. You can shop til you drop in Sydney’s Central Business District (CBD) or in the many shopping precincts and neighbourhoods all over Sydney. Check out the second-hand stores in funky Newtown. Taste some of Sydney’s best coffee in Surry Hills. Get to know your classmates over sensational Thai, Korean and Chinese food around Thainatown and Chinatown. Soak up the buzz of all the people walking around Sydney’s picturesque Darling Harbour.


Sydney’s official website is a good place to start your research, but tourist guides and brochures can help you out as well. We’re sure your family and friends who’ve been to Sydney will also offer you advice. Good luck exploring!

Living with others

Living at be. is a great opportunity to make friends, socialise, study together and live together. The accommodation is designed so you can enjoy common spaces to relax, make meals and drink tea.
For some of you, it might be the first time you’ve lived away from your family; for most, it’s likely to be the first time living with so many people.

Living with others can be a challenge and it can be easy. Here’s a few pointers to keep in mind.

1. Take responsibility:
your actions and the way you live now have consequences on other people who are in your close proximity. You’ll want to clean up after yourself in the common areas, not only your rooms. You can contribute to making sure things are working properly, and make sure the doors close behind you properly for good security. It’s all about thinking not just how you can take care of yourself, but how will you help take care of the people you’re living with.

2. Treat others as you would like to be treated:
Most people would like to be treated with kindness, politeness and respect. Maybe you’d like to be asked before someone borrows something of yours. Maybe you’ll like people to be quiet in the hallways when you’re trying to study. Maybe you’d like to be invited to join in a meal. When you think about how you’d like to be treated, you can also extend that to other people.

3. Recognise differences:
At the same time, people are not all the same, and this is going to be a crucial lesson for living together. People come from all over the world, with different cultures and different situations and kinds of families. You can never assume that just because you think a certain way, that someone else is going to understand you. It’s also important to not make judgements. Someone who might be quieter than you isn’t necessarily unfriendly! Someone who likes to listen to loud music might not be a rude person. Recognising how different we are is fascinating and a gift, and helps us to get along.

4. Communicate.
Since we are so different, and can’t read each other’s minds, communication is going to be important. We can’t assume that other people will know what we like or want unless we can be open and talk about it. You might want to just have friendly chats, or organise a more formal way to talk about issues in the accommodation. Noticeboards can help for announcements or requests for help. Find as many ways possible to keep your communication open and flowing, even if you’re shy! It will benefit everyone in the end.

Most of all, take this opportunity as a gift. Many people in the world don’t get much of a chance to leave where they grew up, or get to know a really diverse group of people. Studying at university, and living in communal accommodation, is a way to broaden one’s horizons, make friends from around the world, and learn about new cultures and ways of being, while understanding your own culture better.
Your new abilities to understand others and get along will help you out in life, no matter whether it’s in your job, the next place you live or in your relationships and friendships.

Have fun!

Getting active in Maroubra

Sydney is divided into ‘surburbs’ rather than ‘villages’, ‘neighbourhoods’ and ‘districts’. The suburb of Maroubra is in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, about 10 kilometres south-east of the Sydney Central Business District (CBD). There are about 27,000 people living in the suburb – now including you, as a resident of be.
Much of what Maroubra has to offer is outdoors. You don’t have to be an athlete or super-fit to enjoy the suburb. You can take everything at your own pace, but getting outside will be a good change of pace from the inside of your classrooms.

A good long walk in Australia is called a bush walk, especially if you’re walking through bushland (basically any land that mostly has vegetation on it). If you were to follow the coastline south from Maroubra Beach, you’d enjoy spectacular views across the South Pacific Ocean while going past beaches, golf courses and bushland. The whole trip to Botany Bay takes 5 hrs to hike 13.4 kilometres.
The coastal walk north of Maroubra goes across the rocks to Lurline Bay. If it’s high tide, you might want to go inland along the local roads. You can then head over past famous Coogee Beach, Gordon’s Bay, Clovelly Beach and end up at Waverley Cemetery with its amazing, peaceful views. You could spend nearly 3 hrs on this 8.5 km route.

Australia’s a great place to enjoy the water, but the conditions can be too rough for swimming. If you’re at the beach, always make sure you swim between the flags that are up for your safety. Or even better, take advantage of a special feature of Australia, the rockpool. Right north of Maroubra Beach at the base of Jack Vanny Reserve is the Mahon rockpool, a swimming pool carved into the rock with a beautiful wild view.

You could also take up sports like surfing (lessons are available at Maroubra Beach) and snorkelling. Renting a snorkel is easy, and if you’re trying it for the first time, the protected bay at Clovelly Beach is perfect. There’s a large wall underwater that stops most of the waves so the conditions aren’t so rough. You’ll be amazed at the beautiful fish you can see: squid, whiting and mullet, or perhaps the one of the famous Big Blue Groper that live there.

Less salty but closer to be. is the Des Renford Leisure Centre. At the corner of Robey Street and Jersey Road, you can take advantage of an outdoor Olympic pool, two indoor pools, and a gym where you can do yoga, Zumba and group fitness classes. Right across from the Centre in Heffron Park are Netball courts as well as a 2.1 km criterium cycling circuit. There’s a tennis centre up at Snape Park. Not far away is the ANZAC Rifle range, the largest rifle range in the southern hemisphere, just in case you want to learn to shoot targets!

All of this doesn’t even mention the sports and recreation activities available for students at UNSW. With over 30 clubs to join and a fitness and aquatic centre, the choices are yours if this is where you’re studing.

Your year of study may be just as active for your body as it is for your brain!