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Student Stories

Jai Chandran

Jai Chandran is studying Bachelor of Arts at UNSW Sydney

“I’ve been here for 18 months now, and while I still can’t tell you precisely what made me want to study out here, what I can say is that I don’t regret it at all. Moving to Sydney was the best decision I ever made.

“I am studying a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English literature and minoring in anthropology. I chose the BA because of its flexibility. I didn’t have to declare my major until second year, so could spend my first year dabbling in various disciplines from indigenous studies to art history, economics to dance. Even as my course progresses there are still plenty of ‘free electives’ to try my hand at whatever happens to tickle my fancy that semester. Contact hours vary depending on module selections, but the average BA student probably has 12-14 hours a week (a combination of lectures, seminars, and tutorials).

“Away from the lecture halls, classrooms and books, I couldn’t want anything more from Sydney. Whether it’s grabbing some waves at the beach, enjoying every type of cuisine imaginable, experiencing a vibrant art and cultural scene or just heading out to the Cross for a night out, this is a city that never fails to live up to its hype. It has all the going-ons of a major city without being as cramped or as unfriendly as London. Initially I was a little daunted by the cost of living, but soon found the ‘right’ places and bargains to navigate my way through on a budget while still enjoying student life. As a student every penny matters, and I quickly learnt to love thrift stores and to find the seemingly daily ‘free food’ available on campus. There’s also tons of ‘student deals’ to be found on things from cinema tickets to getting in free at clubs.

“Why would I recommend Sydney? Because even after living here for more than a year, I’m still constantly surprised and amazed by all it has to offer.

“Obviously leaving everything behind and moving overseas to study is a bold move. It’s less ‘stepping out of your comfort zone’, and more ‘blowing the whole concept to smithereens’. I’m not going to lie and say everything was hunky dory from the get-go, because it really wasn’t. While in many ways Australia is like a Western country in the East, the idea that it is England with better weather is pretty wide of the mark. It has its own culture, sense of humour, and slang (some of which I found so bizarre at first I genuinely felt they might have been speaking a language that wasn’t English). There was definitely an adjustment period, but from the moment I arrived I made a conscious decision to just go with it and try to embrace everything – though I’m still yet to wear socks and sandals to the supermarket, as many of the locals seem to. I often get asked how welcoming people here are, and my answer is always that it largely depends on you. If you’re outgoing and friendly and love to get stuck in and really embrace it all, you’ll find people very welcoming indeed.

“I feel a lot more settled here in my second year than I did for much of my first. I’ve moved out of university accommodation and into a flatshare with some mates, and it really does feel like home.”

What Jai says about Study Options…

“I found Study Options simply by googling something like ‘applying to Australian unis’, and I’m so glad I did. I was recovering from fairly major surgery when I was applying and they made the whole thing so simple. Everything was really well explained; they helped me make sense of the Australian uni system. They the helped me through the whole application process and the visa, step by step, and just made it so it wasn’t at all stressful. Having seen friends try to navigate UCAS, I was so glad for Study Options’ help during my application.”