As I am writing this essay I’m currently at the Gold Coast Airport due to a layover waiting for my flight back to Sydney. I am on my way back from my “spring” break in New Zealand- such an amazing, once in a lifetime experience. A nice getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city and the routine of school and work.
This week-long break not only signifies my time in New Zealand but also signifies the halfway mark of my semester abroad. A bittersweet moment for sure; looking back I am realizing that I’ve made so many great memories but I’m also realizing that there is still so much I want to do!
I’ve been abroad many times before and have studied abroad twice before my current program. Therefore, before I departed I had in the back of my mind a few things I expected were to be inevitable. First, I knew I was going to be overwhelmed at first with how new everything is and the feeling of wanting to do as much as I can. I knew I would be hanging out initially with the people I knew from Pitt but I also wanted to make some new friends! Academically, I predicted the school work to be lighter. I knew that classes met less times a week than what I was used to and that Australian professors more laid back than American ones. Professionally, I had no idea what to expect. I only had a faint idea of what I’d be doing in the office but nothing other than that. Due to the busy work schedule of my direct supervisor and the time difference, I was not able to have a video meeting with her and go over my duties and expectations.
Now that I am halfway through I can easily answer whether my expectations have changed or not. On a personal level, my expectations have lowered. It’s easy to chit chat with locals but surprisingly very hard to befriend them- especially when you are placed at a uni (as the Aussies call it) where there are no local students. I have met and become friends with many students on the same CAPA program as I am on. Not quite as many as I had hoped but I blame that on my housing placement. Academically, my expectations were met somewhat. I have to admit that it is difficult to switch from study abroad mode to school mode so any amount of school work seems much more monumental than it actually is. I’m very surprised with the amount of group projects, though! All three of my classes have some sort of group project incorporated- some even with our London counterparts! Professionally, even though I had no expectations I am very satisfied with my internship placement. More on that in my next blog!