CAPA Diversity Advocates scholar Maria Do shares the reasons why she's drawn so much to Sydney and how her time there has strengthened her connection to her Vietnamese culture. She also explores Chinatown and Little Italy and gets a fine taste of the cuisine there.
Taking part in the CAPA program allowed me to be independent and discover what I wanted for my future. My favorite part of Sydney was the diversity. Sydney was so much more diverse than where I live in the United States, and it helped me to accept my Vietnamese culture more, and not feel ashamed of my culture. Studying in Sydney was also my first experience living in a city, and I had to get over my fear of taking public transportation so that I could explore the many diverse neighborhoods of the city.
My apartment in Sydney was adjacent to Chinatown, which offered a great combination of modern city bustle from tourists and locals alike as well as historic buildings. The streets of Chinatown are full of musicians singing and playing instruments, especially violin and keyboard, and the restaurants hustle on the sidewalks to convince both locals and tourists to choose their restaurant among the many choices.
The best cream puffs are at Emperor’s Garden Cakes & Bakery in Chinatown. Make sure you visit this place before you leave! There is a long line every Friday night when it comes to the night market.
Cabramatta is known a “Vietnam Town,” and it was my home away from home. I missed the Vietnamese food I had at home and coming to Cabramatta allowed me to eat the food I loved growing up.
Mid-Autumn Festival in Cabramatta!
During the first weekend in Sydney, my friends and I went there to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. I then went back there for the food, especially the wonderful (and cheap) banh mi’s at Daily Delicious Bakery, as well as the authentic Vietnamese offerings at places like Viet Hoa Bread, Tan Viet Noodle House, and Pho Tau Bay.
The cheapest banh mi at is Daily Delicious Bakery! Priced at $3.50 AUD… it’s unbeatable!
I got my friends converted to try banh mi! I highly recommend the pork and chicken!
In addition to exploring Cabramatta and Chinatown, I knew I wanted to explore other diverse neighborhoods, and during my pre-departure research, I found Leichhardt, or “Little Italy.” Here, you get the best, authentic Italian food like pasta, gelato, cannoli, and pizza. Like Cabramatta, people from diverse backgrounds come together to celebrate the beauty of Italian culture through food and entertainment, including during their annual fall festival.
Cow & the Moon won the World’s BEST gelato in 2014! (Yes, a gelato shop in Sydney beat Italy….) You have to try the winning flavor “Mandorla Affogato”.
Studying abroad has helped me in many ways academically, professionally, and personally. With this experience, I gained networking skills while learning what I want to do in my future career.
Maria Do is a senior majoring in International Business at Augustana College. She studied abroad with CAPA in Sydney, Australia in the Fall of 2019 and was a Diversity Advocates Scholar.
At CAPA, we seek to foster increased student diversity and to provide all participants with the opportunity to explore, challenge and redefine their identities in distinct ways. Launched in Spring 2017, the Diversity Advocates Program (DAP) is an extension of this philosophy and provides resources for advocates to pursue diversity initiatives of their own within their global cities.