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Balancing My Coursework as I Study Abroad in Sydney, Australia

Oct 30, 2022 10:15:00 AM / by Eliza Drohan

How do you balance academics and your overall lifestyle during your semester abroad? Eliza Drohan shares some ways she optimizes her time, including suggestions on places to study around Sydney.

“A Dingo ate my homework!” Now, you may not go to jail for saying that, but the repercussions are still there. With Sydney having so much to offer, it sometimes can be difficult to prioritize getting your work done in a timely fashion. Not only is there something to do around every corner but the spring-to-summer weather makes it even more difficult.

In order to optimize time management, some things I do include going somewhere to work, waking up early/doing work at night, and keeping a consistent schedule.

Here are a couple of my favorite spots to do work:

  1. State Library of New South Wales

About a 30-minute walk from student housing or a quick train ride away, this gorgeous building is a perfect place to turn your mind on and shut the outside world out. The library was founded in 1826 and encompasses the richness of history and architecture in Australia. It has a large study area where people from all over the city gather to do work. The library also offers artwork exhibits, map rooms, a café, and loads more. If you need a break from sitting and studying, just stroll around and you’ll still end up learning something new!

Library of New South Wales

Library of New South Wales.
  1. Darling Harbour Library

Wait—the spiral building with restaurants all around it has a library? Yes! The Darling Square library opened in 2019 and the Japanese architect behind the unique building also designed the stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

  1. Coffee Shops

Most coffee shops in Sydney offer free Wi-Fi and indoor seating. If you are a coffee lover (like myself) you’ll probably end up grabbing coffee at some point in the day, so you may as well do some work in the meantime.

Coffee from Auvers Café outside of Darling Square Library

Coffee outside of Darling Square Library.

Stay Ahead and Get Your Work Done Early

It can be tempting to put off work for “the weekend” or a day off—but trust me—when it comes down to it you will be happy to get it done. One of the things that I try to do is wake up early and knock out a lot of my work before the day begins. That way, if something happens during the day or if it ends up being really nice out, I won’t feel bad about going out to explore.

Managing your time is extremely important anywhere but especially while you are studying abroad! 

Hiking at Land Cove National Park in Australia

Hike at Land Cove National Park.

Consistent Schedule

For the most part, the assignments for my classes are due at the same time every week. With that in mind, I usually try and stick with completing the discussion posts or readings at a set time during the week. For example, I have two Monday classes that have discussion posts due before the following class. I know throughout the week I will get busier with other courses and work, so I try and stay ahead and get those done early in the week. It is an easier way for me to be done with my work before the weekend.

Boats at Manly Beach in Sydney, Australia

Hike at Manly Beach in between classes!

Regardless of where you are in the world, classes are just as important as they are back home. Take time to do the readings, turn assignments in on time, and reach out to professors if you need help. Not being stressed about your courses will help you enjoy your time a lot more!

Thanks, Eliza!

Eliza Drohan


Eliza Drohan is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2022, sharing
her story in frequent posts on CAPA World. A Finance and Human Resource Management major at University of Pittsburgh, she is studying abroad in Sydney this semester.

Eliza's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.

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Topics: International Education, Sydney, Australia