Beautiful sunset image of the Sydney Harbour


Preparations and Arrival in Sydney, Australia

June 27, 2022
• by
Maria Belardinelli
G'Day from Sydney!

G’day from your matey Maria!

I am currently in the Winslow-Maxwell abroad internship program and will be documenting my experiences and lessons along the way! 

Sydney Opera House


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Preparing to move abroad is no small feat, so it is crucial to stay organized and realistic. After being accepted into the program, I met with advisors to help get my resume out to companies in Sydney. These advisors also helped arrange my housing, as it would be difficult to find a two-month lease. I filled out an application for a Work/Holiday Pass (visa) with the Australian government and a health declaration form. Right now, all visa holders who are fully vaccinated may travel to Australia without a travel exemption or Covid-19 testing. 

To enter Australia, you are required to complete the Digital Passenger Declaration Form. This process begins one week before your flight and must be approved before you can check into your flight (photo below). You will need to upload your vax card, passport, and flight itinerary to achieve this. Upon landing, you must show your DPD on your phone while going through the “E-Passport” lane where you get your photo taken. 

DPD Form


Next, I registered for “International SOS,” an abroad safety/insurance application in case of an emergency. 

 Another important decision to make when moving abroad is how to handle your cellular plan. When deciding how to handle your data plan, you have 2 options:  Option 1: purchase an international plan with your provider (it can be pretty pricey), or Option 2: buy a SIM card locally (prepaid and allows you to call internationally but with a limited amount of international texting). 

Lastly, I packed my bags with an assortment of professional clothes, casual wear, and a few nicer tops for nights out!  It is currently winter in Australia, so my sweaters and jackets took up a large amount of space in my luggage. 

I planned to arrive a few days ahead of the internship program so I could adjust to the time change and explore a few cities outside of Sydney! 


Upon landing, I was quite disoriented because the flight from California to Sydney was about 16 hours.

Flight Path

Our plane departed on Friday evening around 11 pm, and I landed early Sunday morning (technically, you will ‘lose’ or ‘gain’ a day because you need to fly over the International Date Line. I recommend trying to sleep on the plane as it will help you adjust to the 17-hour time change from California to Sydney. While this time change seems daunting, it’s quite fun living in the future!

Check out this fortune cookie I got here- it says, “Don’t worry about the world coming to an end. It’s already tomorrow in Australia”

Fortune Cookie


Having an Opal card in Sydney is your best bet for getting around town. Options for public transit include the light rail, trains, busses, and the ferry! The city loves to encourage people to use public transit, so they offer some incentives for Opal Card holders, such as : 

  • Weekly travel reward- if you take 8 journeys mon-sun on your Opal card, you get half-price travel for the rest of the week. 
  • On Sundays, you can travel as much as you want using opal and the max you will be charged is 2.70 AUD. 
  • A weekly cap of 50 AUD- after spending this amount, the rest of the rides are free. 

Sydney is known to be a very safe city with a low crime rate. Regardless, when traveling abroad, you need to have your wits about you, especially if you are navigating through large crowds or taking public transit.

Friendship Ferry

I spent my first few days walking around the city, seeing the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, exploring the historic Rocks district, and adjusting to the time change! 

Next up: I am off to visit Uluru Rock! 

With love, 

Your matey Maria 

Cloudy City SkylineStreet view Streets with view of Harbour Bridge Opera House

Apps I recommend

I strongly recommend downloading the apps before departure: 


Tripview Lite


XE Currency Converter. 

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