This is the third and final post from Alex Turner ’11, who is spending the summer abroad studying film in Australia.
My travels in Australia have allowed me to experience four very different cities/regions: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast. Each place is unique and showcased a different aspect of Australian culture.
The first part of my journey had me visit Sydney, which I stayed in for the majority of my time in Australia. Sydney is the largest city in Australia, housing about four of its twenty million population. Similar to New York City, Sydney is a melting pot full of immigrants from many different countries often living in separate neighborhoods — this was very clear to me walking down George Street where Chinatown began.
When I asked Australians what they thought about the different cities they described Sydney as snobby. The more time I spent in Sydney the more I understood what so many Australians were talking about. Sydney was like a L.A., a place for the rich and famous to show off the latest fashion. Cocktails after work were a must followed by eating out at fancy restaurants. I don’t think this kind of snobbery was a bad thing, it merely demonstrated what kind of city Sydney is; it’s a career city, made for young professionals. This is where young people go when they are done with university to start their careers. It’s a working city, constantly moving at a fast and modern pace.
Melbourne was the second stop in my travels around Australia. I was shown around by a true Aussie. My guide opened my eyes to a much more cosmopolitan type of city. Unlike the modernity and large size that defined Sydney, Melbourne was set up more like a European city. There was a greater focus on nightlife and clubbing. Due to the discovery of gold in Melbourne, the city was able to develop into a wealthier and therefore more European city. Melbourne sits apart from other Australian cities, due to its unique European influence. It serves as the trend setting city for all of Australia.
Brisbane is quite different from the populated cities of Sydney and Melbourne. This city is a much smaller city in comparison to other Australian cities. Unlike the face-paced lifestyle that other major cities offer, Brisbane follows a slower way of life. Streets are not packed with young career men and women, rather it’s a much more family-oriented city. After the hustle and bustle of a busy life in Melbourne or Sydney, Brisbane is where you settle down and raise a family. Brisbane is tailored to an older generation of Australians who want to relax and enjoy life at a slower speed.
My final stop in my seven weeks in Australia was a weekend at the Gold Coast. Unlike the cities I visited, the Gold Coast is a collection of little cities joined together by a collection of beaches. Exploring this area enabled me to see the different types of beaches around the Gold Coast ranging from the super low-key Surfers Paradise to the upscale Main Beach. So many different types of people live in this area; wealthy penthouse owners to surf bums. It’s the meshing together of cultures that creates the Gold Coast. Everyone can enjoy the beach, just in different ways. However, unlike the major cities, the Gold Coast is significantly more relaxed. Less emphasis is paid to your wardrobe and you are meant to spend your time there relaxing on the beach. A rule of thumb I learned from a true Aussie was that flip flops are only allowed on the coast.
During my summer I spent seven weeks in Australia and it has been and eye opening experience. It was my first trip that I went on by myself, which enabled me to experience a tremendous amount of personal growth. I said that I wanted to go to Australia to experience living in another country and pursue my love of film. I feel that I have accomplished both of those goals. My time in Australia enabled me to do things that I probably would not have done before. I explored parts of Sydney with friends and on my own. I braved the local cuisine and tried new foods that normally I would have been afraid to try. I experienced the culture of Sydney by going to sporting events and theatre performances. I experienced the fast-paced Sydney Film Festival and winded down with a week in Brisbane. I lived with Australians and talked to as many as I could to try and understand their culture. My experience In Australia was full of many ups with a few downs, but it was a once-and-a-lifetime opportunity that I will cherish forever.
Posted by Alex Turner ‘11