I hopped off the plane at LAX with a dream and my cardigan… and two suitcases, a lost soul and high hopes of finding the correct terminal quickly.

Waiting for the Train in Sydney
Waiting for the Train in Sydney, one of the many ways to get around the city

1. If you’re lost, ask for help.

Having never flown alone before, I was not quite sure what to expect. I expected to get lost, but not as lost as I did in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. If you’re lost, ask for help. This rule applies for not only navigating your way around the airport but for anywhere you travel.

Students getting momentary lost in Sydney during TEAN Orientation for the Amazing Race
Students getting momentary lost in Sydney during TEAN Orientation for the Amazing Race

My ticket did not have my terminal listed on it, so I followed my number one tip and asked someone where I was supposed to go. I was heading in the correct direction until I needed to take a pit-stop for the restroom, when I came out I completely forget where I was supposed to go again. I thought to myself, ‘I’ve got this, I’ll figure it out eventually.’ I thought wrong. I continued in the direction I was walking until I reached the end of the airport. I had three choices: catch the rail train, exit the airport or turn around and ask for help again. I chose option number one. I jumped on the rail train and went for a little ride, since I didn’t know where I was going I got off at a random spot. I’m now profusely sweating and nervous of missing my flight. Thoughts such as ‘I should have asked for directions. I need to put a non-sweaty shirt on. Mom and dad aren’t going to be too happy with me’ started streaming through my head.

This is where tip number one comes into play, again. I walked up to someone working in the waiting gate and asked for help, I think the look of panic and sweaty shirt gave it away that I needed help. He guided me in the direction I needed to go and even asked if I needed to be walked there. Safe to say, I found my way around (eventually) and learned my lesson to ask for help when you need it.

2. Look to your RIGHT first

You have to be extra cautious when crossing the street. Upon arriving in Australia, I noticed that cars drove on the other side of the road and people walked on the left rather than right side of the sidewalk. At first I thought I was just jet-lagged and imagining things, until I started running into people while walking on the right side. However, bumping into people on the sidewalk isn’t as bad as a car running into you while crossing the street. As an American, I am not used to cars driving on the opposite side. While living here, I have learned to always pay attention when you are crossing the street and to use the crosswalk if there is one close by.

Keep to the left please

3. Study up on your Bus Schedules

Personally, I take the bus everywhere. The price of taking a bus depends on where you are heading. The bus route to classes takes me about 25 minutes and costs $7 AUD round-trip for a ticket ($3.50 each way).

It helps to check the bus times before heading to the stop. Some routes run less regularly than others, so you’ll save yourself from time. You can use this website if you are taking the bus in Newcastle.

Bus Stop
Newcastle bus stop

Even if you study up on bus routes, don’t be afraid to ask the driver for help. You might want to sit near the front of the bus if you’re unsure of where to get off so you can ask.  The bus system is nice and pretty efficient, but it will take longer than driving so allow yourself some extra time, especially before class.

Lastly, when in doubt, just take the 226. This is my new motto since living in Newcastle. This is the bus I use to get to campus and the beaches and then home from pretty much anywhere. So if you are lost and all else fails, I hope this route guides you to where you need to go.

Lauren Manecke is a student at Drake University and a TEAN Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with TEAN in Newcastle, Australia