My first trip to Australia was my semester abroad with TEAN at Bond University on the Gold Coast. It was a great introduction to what would become my life in Australia for the years to follow. Two years later, I packed up my life and moved to Sydney to live abroad. I often have people ask me which I preferred, and students want to know where they should study abroad in Australia. This is my head to head analysis of the two locations.

Cost of Living

Gold Coast: While the Gold Coast may be a touch more affordable than Sydney, it can still add up, especially since it’s a popular tourist destination. While it’s not quite a “New York” in terms of what you’ll be paying, you could compare it to the US city of Miami. The prices are higher close to the beach.

Sydney: As a major world city, Sydney is going to be more expensive than most US college towns and smaller cities. In a recent article, Paris, London and New York were cited as the top three most expensive cities in the world while Sydney came in at #10. However, there are definitely ways to spend wisely and make Sydney work for you. It’s just something to be conscious of before heading there.


Gold Coast: If you study on the Gold Coast you’ll be choosing between Griffith University and Bond University. If you’re set on smaller class sizes and a tight knit and modern campus, Bond could be a smart fit for you. Griffith is set in a beautiful forest environment, among the Australian bush.

Sydney: TEAN works with six different partner Universities in Sydney. This group includes a great range of options for majors and campus environments. So whether you’re looking for serene and traditional, or modern and more tech-savvy in a high rise, Sydney has a lot to offer.


Gold Coast: Our students on the Gold Coast choose between living close to campus at Bond University, on-campus at Griffith University close to classes or commute from our beach housing in Broadbeach. The Broadbeach area is a popular place to live both because it’s right next to the beach, and there are a lot of options for restaurants and cafes. I personally think the options we have for our Gold Coast students are all pretty awesome. I visited them recently and was wishing I was back living there.

Sydney: We offer both city and beach housing options for our Sydney students. Living in the city is very convenient because you’re close to major transportation hubs, including Central Station and Bondi Junction. Our beach housing is at Coogee Beach, which is personally one of my favorite beaches in the Eastern suburbs. It’s a laid back vibe and easy to get to the campus, but is more of a commute to city activities. Our team is great at making recommendations on housing based on where you’ll be going to university as well.


Gold Coast: There are ton of great options for students on the Gold Coast. One of my favourite memories as a student here is riding our bikes to Burleigh Heads Beach to get fish burritos from Wahoo’s and sit by the beach.

Sydney: I was such a happy foodie in Sydney. I could go on and on about my favourite places to eat there. It has world-class chefs and restaurants such as Tetsuya’s which has ranked in the top 5 restaurants in the world multiple years. However, it also has an amazing Chinatown (where you can spend less) and never run out of delicious options.


Gold Coast: When in Queensland, you’ll be reminded that you’re in the “Sunshine State” whenever you see a license plate. It tends to live up that sunny reputation. The Gold Coast is slightly more north (remember we are in the Southern Hemisphere now) which means warmer weather for more of the year.

Sydney: Sydney also boasts some pretty gorgeous weather, although it can get surprisingly chilly in the winter (our summer months). Overall, I find the climate to be pretty agreeable year-round and would trade Sydney’s mild winter for a below-freezing Midwest winter any day.


Gold Coast: The Gold Coast is home to several of Australia’s major theme parks, and Surfer’s Paradise, a holiday destination for many Australians. While it’s generally quieter than a large city like Sydney, you definitely won’t run out of things to do while studying there. Plus the Commonwealth Games are going to be hosted there in 2018, which will be a pretty awesome time to be on the Gold Coast.

Sydney: There is always something happening in Sydney, from concerts and festivals to museum exhibits and gallery openings. In addition to everything the city offers, it also has best of what the outdoors can offer. A trip to the beach is just a short bus ride away.

Both the Gold Coast and Sydney can provide an awesome study abroad environment. Do your research to help weigh up which aspects are most important to you.

Explore study abroad programs in Sydney and the Gold Coast.