These first weeks since I’ve touched down in Sydney have been a whirlwind. In less than 3 short weeks, I have already seen, experienced, and learned more than I could have imagined in this beautiful city that I get to call home for the next 3 months.
So… let’s start at the beginning.
After a draining 24 hours of traveling from New York to LA to Sydney, I finally stepped out of the airport to clear blue skies and 80° weather. Sydney’s seasons are opposite of ours, and I’m currently experiencing the peak of their summer! I absolutely hate the cold, so this was my first sign that I had chosen the right place to study abroad. I met some Pitt friends in the airport, and we hopped in a taxi towards our neighborhood of Ultimo.
Like Pittsburgh, Sydney is a city of many neighborhoods, and each one is known for something different! Ultimo is a hub for students and transportation, with many universities and the largest train station in the city. Most of the students in our program are staying in an apartment called Urbanest, right in the heart of Ultimo. In my opinion, we are in a perfect location, with the whole city at our fingertips.
My apartment is myself and 7 other girls, with 4 rooms, and a large shared kitchen and living space. Right away, we clicked with all of our roommates, who come from University of Minnesota, Providence College, and Pitt. We all shared a mutual excitement and anxiousness about the semester ahead. Believe it or not, 3 of our 8 roommates are named Alyssa, Alyssa, and Alisa. Throw in our Alexa speaker, and you have a LOT of confusion.
Names aside, we all became fast friends and spent our first week exploring the city and all it has to offer.
Meeting all of our roommates and our apartment neighbors made our first day of classes much easier. By the time I started class, I had a familiar face in every single one of them.
Speaking of, I love all my classes so far! I am taking a Global Finance course, an Australian Cinema course, and an Intercultural Communications course. My professors are all Australian which I really like, as they offer insight into these topics on a cross-cultural level.
I have already utilized the Global Finance and Intercultural Communications skills in my internship, and my Australian Film course has given me an insider view on Australian culture and its historical, social, and political nuances as displayed through cinema.
On my second week, I also started my internship! I’m working at a Technology Investment firm called Newport Capital Group, who mostly engages in mergers, acquisitions, and capital raising activities. I was extremely nervous to start there, as I didn’t know what to expect, and have never worked in M&A before. On my first day, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I’d be working with 3 analysts who are only a few years out of university, meaning they were recently in my shoes. Everyone in our office has been extremely welcoming and willing to help me learn more.
After only 2 weeks, I have absorbed so much about their processes, client work, research, business development, and overall goals. I’m excited to see just how much I learn over this semester about their work, and also about how my colleagues were able to find success in the business world and in this career.
My classes and internship keep me pretty busy during the week, but I have spent every free moment exploring Sydney and all it has to offer.
To get anywhere in Sydney, I have taken the trains and busses. Similar to Pitt, we are extremely fortunate to have unlimited access on all of NSW’s public transportation. I have a super easy train commute every morning, and all the beaches, national parks, nightlife, and neighborhoods are only a few train or bus stops away. I have yet to get lost *knock on wood*, and yet to find a place I can’t get to by transit. This awesome free transportation just fuels my excitement for exploring and adventuring.
My top 3 highlights of my explorations so far:
- Our awesome boat cruise with our program. Here, we got to meet all of the students on our program, and see the iconic Opera House, Tower Bridge, and Sydney skyline in all it’s glory.
- The beaches! So far I’ve been to Manly, Bondi, Tamarama, and Coogee. I haven’t even made a dent in all of Sydney’s beaches, but I’m going to try!
- The food… I haven’t had a single meal yet that I haven’t loved. So much of the options here are super fresh, healthy, and delicious.
It’s only been 3 weeks, and I know I’m never going to want to leave. Can’t wait to share more of my travels and experiences!