A Mid-Semester Reflection

Before arriving in Sydney, I made special note of the expectations I had and the goals I set regarding my semester abroad. With our mid-semester break looming on the horizon, I thought now would be an appropriate time to reflect on those initial comments, seeing just how accurate my expectations were and assessing whether I’m reaching my goals.

Starting with the academics

As I’ve written about before, classes are often thrown to the wayside whenever talking about study abroad. I went into the semester with that very same attitude, expecting nothing more than to easily finish the rest of my gen-eds.

I’m realizing now that I am getting so much more out of these classes than just another requirement ticked off. Through online discussions, numerous group projects, and field trips in all my classes, I’m learning in a much more meaningful and memorable way.

Looking at personal goals

I have more free time this semester than I’ve ever had before. I had anticipated this, and I immediately knew it would be a problem for me. I do well under pressure, but I struggle when I have too much time on my hands. This was a weakness I wanted to combat this semester, and I am certainly being given the opportunity to do so.

Semester long projects and research papers, which I would have ordinarily waited until the last month to begin, are already underway. I’m budgeting my time and setting minor deadlines for myself, so I can be sure to squeeze in beach time- both now and at the end of the semester.

Speaking of beach time

If you’re still reading, we’re just getting to the good part. Like I said, I’ve found that I have a lot of time to myself. The way my schedule works out, I’m able to explore Sydney’s beautiful beaches often, sometimes up to 3-4 days a week.

Australia’s weather and its beaches were my two primary motivators for choosing to study abroad here in Sydney. Overall, my expectations were met, and then some. Some of the beaches here are absolutely breathtaking, with soft, warm sand and clear, blue water. If you can get away from the tourist spots, you’ll have the most relaxing day.

However, there were some things I didn’t know. First of all, I didn’t realize how humid it gets on these Australian summer days. It usually lies at around 70 percent humidity, but some days it can be much worse. Also making for a potentially uncomfortable day, the sun is much stronger down here. Sunburn is a real threat, and reapplying my SPF 50 is a perpetual feat.

With the second half of my study abroad experience remaining, I’m feeling very confident about meeting the goals I set for myself. I plan to maintain this balance of study and exploration, as it seems to be working out well for me. As far as the beaches go, I’m trying to visit a different spot every time. Be on the lookout for a new post, detailing some of my favorites!