At this halfway point in the semester I can confidently say I am very comfortable in my new city. I find myself using my phones’ GPS less to get around the neighborhood, and my commute to work and school requires little thought. I’ve pieced together where certain towns are and where certain landmarks are located within Sydney.
No pivotal experience got me to the comfort level I am at today, but rather the amount of time I have been here. After the first few weeks I got the hang of living in Sydney with Aussies. I got used to hearing certain words in their vocabulary I normally wouldn’t hear at home and most importantly got used to how traffic runs the opposite direction compared to America.
As much as I am comfortable, however, I still very much feel like a tourist. I may know where I am going but I don’t think I look like an Aussie and certainly don’t talk like one! I feel obligated to take multiple photos of the Sydney Opera House every time I pass it, and I still need my phone to convert metric units or currency to standards of unit I can comprehend.
I have yet to have that “abroad” moment of realization and I doubt I will have one at this point! I think this is partly due to the multiple similarities between American and Australian culture and environment as well as how different in culture countries I’ve visited previously before were compared to back home. I thought I’d feel a little homesick as this is the longest study abroad program I have been a part of, but I find myself too occupied with my time here to be! I do miss certain parts of home, but am certainly am in no rush to go back home.
Transitioning into my internship took some time but was not very difficult. Before starting I thought I would feel lonely and distant as this would be the only environment where I would spend prolonged amounts of time as the sole foreigner. However, my supervisor and a number of other coworkers made an effort for me to feel welcomed. It took a few juice runs and lunches to really connect with my supervisor but the Australian culture of being chatty definitely helped in growing a relationship with her. My advice to those transitioning into international internships would be to definitely do some culture research but above all relax! The office is just as excited to have you on board.