Heading to Sydney

My name is Sam Woods and I am a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh. I am majoring in Finance and Supply Chain with a certificate in international business. I am original from a small town in northern New York called Potsdam. After growing up playing hockey and hunting I decided to head to Pittsburgh for a change of scenery. Outside of school I enjoy playing and watching sports, writing, hunting, fishing, and eating wonderful foods.

In January I will be flying 15 hours over the Pacific to the “Land Down Under” where I will live and work for 3 months. I have known for a long time that I want to study abroad, but I had a tough time deciding where. I went back and forth between Italy and Australia. Europe provides you with something that nowhere else can, the ability to travel to many countries with ease and experience many different cultures in one trip. This along with Italy’s reputation for beautiful sights and unbelievable food was a tough thing to beat. I ended up choosing Australia and I do not regret it. I think that Australia is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I just can’t miss. I figure I will be able to travel to Europe later in life if I wanted to. Australia is an amazingly beautiful place with lots to offer. They have the beaches, the wilderness, and tasty fixings. As Americans, we don’t really hear too much about Australia and I can’t wait to learn about the culture and the people.

As my departure date fast approaches I am getting more and more excited. I can’t wait to take some interesting classes especially my Australian Cinema class. There is so much I can learn from studying a foreign culture and I know I will be able to use the knowledge I gain for the rest of my life. In Sydney, I will be doing a 20 hour internship at Australian Opal Cutters, a jewelry and pearl vendor. I am looking forward to completing my first ever internship experience halfway around the world. I will learn a lot and gain many useful skills that I can use in my future internships and full time jobs. Because it is a small business I am confident that I will be able to do meaningful work to help propel the business. Outside of work, I am very excited to explore Sydney and the rest of Australia, maybe even New Zealand if my wallet lets me. I’m going to be laying on the beach in wonderful weather while the rest of my friends will be enduring a lovely Pittsburgh winter. Perhaps the only thing I am not looking forward to is the day long journey to get to Sydney. With every new experience, one feels conflicting emotions of excitement and nervousness. I have never left North America and am little nervous of culture shock and being in a new place without my friends or family. I am confident however that after a brief adjustment period my nerves will be settled and I will be able to fully enjoy this amazing opportunity to grow and have fun.


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