Goodbye, Sydney.

I can’t believe my trip to Sydney has finally come to a close. The last 6 weeks flew by: It seems like just yesterday I arrived in Sydney and met all of my roommates (who I now consider some of my closest friends) for the first time. And now here I am, back in Pittsburgh already.

I’ve had a few days since my return to America to reflect on my time abroad. Overall, the experience was incredible. Some aspects of the trip were a little different than I thought they would be, but I gained more from my time abroad than I ever imagined.

The first gain came from my internship. My time interning with Athletics NSW exposed me to some aspects of marketing and of Australian workplace culture of course, but it did much more than just that. During my time with Athletics NSW, I was lucky enough to experience a beautiful emotion we call passion. Undoubtedly we’ve all been passionate about something before; though this time for me, it was different. This time, it wasn’t something I felt, rather something I observed.

Every single person I met through Athletics NSW- every employee, every official, every runner- all had one thing in common: a passion for running. That in itself made my internship experience rich. Personally, I knew nothing about track & field going into the internship (and quite frankly, still don’t), but I didn’t need to. I witnessed the excitement in their voices as they reflected on different races, the way their eyes lit up when sharing runners’ results, and the camaraderie created through the shared love of the sport. It was beautiful honestly, and quite heart-warming. It made me realize that marketing is the right field for me, and it inspired me to ensure I work for a company that shares my same passions so that I can be apart of a bond similar to the one I witnessed at Athletics NSW.

The next thing I gained came from Australia itself. The country was beautiful. Every so often I would catch a glimpse of something just for a moment, like the sun setting behind the Harbour Bridge, the feeling of the sand beneath my toes at Kewarra Beach, or the way the sun glistened off the Opera House. And in that moment, I was aware. I was aware of how beautiful the sight or the feeling was, and I was aware of how blessed I am to live the life I live. Those moments, though small and humbling, made my time abroad worthwhile.

Finally, I can’t sign off this blog without discussing the third gain: the people. I met countless people on my trip to Sydney, both Australian and American, that made my trip a thousand times more special and unfortunately, there’s too many to name them all. But most importantly, I couldn’t have asked for better roommates (pictured). There were only 6 of us (two less people than all of the other apartments on the program), and we were the only co-ed apartment. I didn’t know a single one of them prior to this trip, but now I consider them all like siblings. Its amazing how a person can go from being a total stranger to being one of the most important people in your life in just six short weeks. Living together, we got on each other’s nerves from time to time, but I wouldn’t trade any of them for the world. The hardest part about leaving Sydney was knowing I was leaving my roommates. I will hold the memories we shared together close to my heart forever. So thanks roommies, you made my time in Sydney unforgettable.

I can comfortably say after completing this trip abroad, I am a better person. I am more knowledgeable, more cultured, and most importantly- more appreciative.

Thank you, Australia. You have changed my life. I am forever indebted to you.