By Shaina MacLauchlan, Program Manager
For a student at the University of Newcastle, it can be hard to pin down a “typical day” because of the variety of things happening on and off campus on a daily basis. After spending a semester there myself, I can genuinely say that I never had a “typical day.” There is always something new going on around campus and adventures to be had just a short train or bus ride away!
To start the day, there are a number of coffee shops right on campus, so you can grab a flat white before heading to class. One of my favorites was Gloria Jean’s in the Shortland Building! They have some amazing banana bread, which is always a quick and easy “brekkie” to eat on the way to class. In between classes, it’s just nice to hang out and have a walk around campus. The buildings have an open-air feel and are tucked in between walkways throughout the lush forest surroundings. It’s also nice to hit up one of the libraries to get some work done between classes so you can have the afternoon to explore (if you’re lucky you may even find a free sausage sizzle outside of the Auchmuty Library!). If you don’t have much luck finding a free meal, a meat pie or sausage roll is never too far away.
Looking back at my study abroad experience in Newcastle, the academic culture ended up having a larger impact on me than I thought it would have. Each day of classes was a new experience that took some getting used to. Going into another western, English speaking culture made me a bit blind to the fact that I may experience some culture shock. Where it really seemed to hit me and where I found myself really having to pay attention to my adjustment was my courses. The style of teaching is quite different from the style of teaching I was used to coming from a U.S. university. Courses at Newcastle typically have a large lecture component for an hour or two in addition to a smaller tutorial (kind of like what we would consider a lab component to a U.S. course but for all subjects). Luckily, there are a number of resources available on campus to help students adjust to their academics which are especially great for study abroad students.
After class, you can’t go wrong finding something to do on campus or going downtown. Some of my favorite memories were when I would meet other Aussie students at Bar on the Hill. There are so many events happening at Bar on the Hill, from trivia to bingo to full-on themed parties. If you choose to spend your afternoon off campus, there are endless possibilities in Newcastle. You really can’t go wrong heading to one of the beautiful beaches in Newcastle. My favorite was Bar Beach! I definitely spent enough time at this less crowded beach to feel like a local. You can play beach volleyball at Nobbies or walk out to the lighthouse to watch the sunset over the city. It’s also possible to catch a professional surf competition at Merewether Beach. Another option downtown is to stroll down Darby Street to see the little shops and restaurants. An absolute must is grabbing a milkshake at Three Monkeys (my favorite was always the Cookie Monster)!
On the weekends, you’ll never find a shortage of activities on campus. If you do want to get out and explore, Sydney and the Blue Mountains are just a train ride away!
Learn more about studying abroad in Newcastle, Australia.