Are you coming to Sydney for one semester on a Study Abroad or Exchange programme? Make the most of your experience and live with Aussies and other Internationals with the convenience of a friendly community, and a delicious meal plan. Study Abroad student Ariel Hurwitz shares her recent experience:

Living at Mandelbaum was basically like being adopted into a home for a semester. From the first moment to the final goodbye, the community was warm and supportive. Affectionately referred to as “Mandy” or “the Baum”, the Mandelbaum house offers exchange students the opportunity to meet and live with locals and other exchange/international students. Before signing up however, there are a few things to consider about the Mandelbaum house.

First, the community is small. The people you will meet at Mandy will become your friends and you will see them often. There are people who choose to be less involved in the Mandelbaum community, which is fine, but people will know about you regardless. Drama is an inevitable part of a student living arrangement. The cleaning and kitchen staff will see you after a big night out and will be able to make speculations about you based on a simple analysis of your trash. Luckily, they’re wonderful people.

Second- the Jew thing. Yes, the Mandelbaum house is a Jewish college. Yes you will eat kosher and you will acclimate to it. Yes you will learn about Jewish holidays and about Jewish culture. No, you will not be constantly harangued with Jewish doctrine, Jewish customs, or even Jewish people. The Mandelbaum house is possibly one of the most diverse places I’ve ever lived. The demographic transcends country, racial, ethnic and most other social strata- it’s part of what makes the community so special. So don’t be worried about that.

Third, the location is fabulous.  Situated a block away from Newtown (where you want to be) and right next to campus, you’re never too far from anything exciting. There are a lot of things to do in Sydney and you should take the time to explore as much of it as possible. Luckily the house is a quick walk from a train station and multiple bus stops. Don’t forget that the University is huge, which means taking a couple extra minutes those first few days to find your classes. Unless your classes are in the brand new business building in which case you have about a 3-minute walk to class.

Finally, the kitchen is fabulous. There are always snacks out and the chefs make every possible accommodation for students. Compared to other living arrangements, it is much more convenient to have a meal prepared for you than learning to budget, find the best grocery stores around Sydney (and carry your groceries back home), and cook yourself an enjoyable meal.

If you want to live in a small, loving and fun community, apply to Mandelbaum! Your study abroad experience will be fun no matter what, but as I learned, a comfortable living arrangement can really ease stress when balancing travel, school and whatever else you decide to do with your study abroad trip. Don’t forget to have fun out there.

By Ariel Hurwitz, Mandelbaum Resident