So Long, Sydney

It’s all wrapping up now.

As I’m starting to pack my suitcase and move out of the place I’ve been calling home for the past few months, I’m reflecting on how lucky I am.

I studied abroad in Sydney, Australia!

Not too many people can say that. I’m so grateful for everything I have been afforded this semester, and I’m going to treasure these memories and experiences forever.

The classes:

My coursework this semester was surprisingly meaningful. My history lessons provided me with some background through learning about Australia’s indigenous people, understanding the reasons for colonization and federation, and studying modern world history from a new viewpoint. Meanwhile, my government class gave context to Australia’s current political climate, helping me to understand the issues and campaigns happening around me.

The knowledge I gained from these courses really strengthened my sense of belonging in Sydney. When I first arrived, I knew practically nothing of the country I would be living in for almost 4 months, and it felt somewhat disrespectful to be so ignorant. But as the semester progressed and I learned more, I no longer felt like a stranger.

The internship:

I strongly recommend doing an internship abroad. This program is all about the networking. It’s so incredible to meet and work with people from another part of the world, and it really adds to the overall study abroad experience by getting local knowledge and opinions.

Unfortunately, I worked from home everyday, but getting coffee with my supervisor, Alex, was always a treat. It’s hard to have meaningful interactions with locals since I don’t know anyone, so I really valued the conversations Alex and I had.

What I’ll miss most:

I’ll be dreaming of Sydney’s beaches for awhile. It’s going to be tough adjusting to life without gorgeous coastlines and clear, blue water just a bus ride away. I’m so grateful for the hot summer weather we had, even if a few days were almost unbearable.

The food is another thing I’ll miss. Sydney has such a diverse culture, with foods from all over the world. Immigration, particularly from Asia, has provided a broad offering of cooking styles and flavors. One of my favorite places to eat was Spice Alley, an outdoor venue representing the foods of Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and more.

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Living abroad in Australia has reinforced something I felt when I traveled in the past. Wherever you go, you’ll find unique cultures and traditions. It’s important to celebrate the things that make us special, but it’s even more important to realize that those things don’t define us. Traveling makes the world feel so much smaller, and making connections between life in different parts of the world serves as a reminder of how similar we all are.

Everyone should travel more- and should take care to do so properly. There’s so much happening outside your little world, and I encourage you to get out and appreciate it.