The University of Iowa

My daily routine in Australia

April 30th, 2019

During my preparation and anticipation for studying abroad in Newcastle, Australia, I always wondered what my everyday life would look like while living here. After living here for about a month, I have figured out what that looks like. And let me tell you… I am not upset about it.

Australian lifestyle and Australian university are similar to what it is like back home which made adjusting a little easier, but living in this beautiful city has more to offer than what I was used to.

This is what a typical Wednesday looks like for me studying at the University of Newcastle.

On Wednesdays, I have one class at 1 p.m. so I like to do things in the morning. This Wednesday I woke up at 8:00 a.m. to catch the train into the city to get breakfast at a cafe.

The Warabrook Train Station is practically on campus and is about a 10-minute walk from my dorm. If you’re thinking about going to Newcastle, when you arrive you will NEED to get an Opal card and the Opal App (literally a lifesaver). This will give you all the timing and information for public transportation.

After taking the train to Newcastle Interchange, I got off and switched to the light rail (tram) which takes you right into the city/beach. It may seem like a long process just to get to the city, but it only takes about 20 minutes.

This morning I got breakfast at a café called Bluedoor with a friend. I ordered the breakfast bruschetta and an iced latte.

I enjoy exploring the different cafes around the area. Australia presents all of their food so beautifully and everything tastes so good! If you get the opportunity to study here, some cafes I would recommend here are Bluedoor, Kafey Cafe, Ground Floor, and One Penny Black. They all have great tasting coffee and delicious meals. Something to keep in mind: ordering coffee in Australia is not the same as America. You can’t walk up to the counter and ask for a coffee with milk, they will look at you like you are speaking a different language.

The most popular coffees here are called:

● Long black: Espresso with hot water

● Flat white: Espresso with steamed milk

If you want an iced coffee, often they come with ice cream in it. Just be aware that your usual coffee order is probably going to change while you are here!

We finished breakfast around 10:30 a.m. so I still had about an hour and a half to spare before I headed back to campus for class, so we spent it at the beach. When I say I spend most of my days at the beach and getting coffee, I am not joking. The coffee here is delicious and the beaches are beautiful. I enjoy starting my days at the beach reading a book or listening to a podcast. This helps me relax and is my form of meditation. There are many different beaches in the Newcastle area and they are all stunning. A few are Nobby’s Beach, Newcastle Beach, Bar Beach, and Merewether Beach. They are all fairly connected and easy to get around to using public transportation!

There are many different beaches in the Newcastle area and they are all stunning

The morning seems extravagant compared to school in Iowa, but after the beach, the rest of my day is pretty similar to back home. I came back from the beach and then spent 2 hours in class and 2 hours at the library. Yes, you do have to study while studying abroad.

Classes in Australia are similar in some ways and different in others. Be prepared to fully focus in class the first couple weeks in order to see what the expectations are since they are a little different. For example, I am halfway through my semester and I have yet to have a test or quiz. Your entire grade for the semester is based off about three entries so it is critical that you do extremely well on those. Attending class is crucial!

A walkway on campus

By the time I was done studying at the library, it was around 5:30 p.m. so I came back home, made some dinner and got ready to hit the town that night with some of my new Australian friends. The Aussies love their nightlife just as much as we do in America! Although it is extremely important to go to class and get your homework done, it is also important to have a good time and make some friends. I find that going out helps me network myself, make a ton of friends, and helps me feel less homesick. Staying busy and not sitting in your room is the number one way to avoid homesickness!

This is what most days look like during the week with rotating events on campus at night. The University of Newcastle has many events on campus that I love to take advantage of. I have met many people through these events that I now have formed close relationships with.

Living and studying in Newcastle has its similarities to studying in Iowa. But the differences are what make living here so amazing. Now that days have become routine for me and don’t feel like I am on vacation anymore, I try to not take it for granted. I know when I get back to school in Iowa next fall I will miss the mornings at the beach and the cute cafes I got to enjoy. These small things throughout the day are what make my study abroad experience so lovely!


Megan Schnoebelen is a UI journalism and communications major from Des Moines, Iowa, spending the semester at the University of Newcastle in Australia on the Iowa Regents Semester in Australia program.  

Interested in going abroad? Learn more about first steps