Living Like A Local

My time abroad is racing by, I feel like I only just arrived and yet over a month has gone by. Living abroad in Sydney has been an amazing experience and I have experienced so many new and exciting things. The first moment it truly hit me that I was abroad was while I was about 2 hours north of the city hiking in the blue mountains. I have always enjoyed hiking and the blue mountains, a world heritage listed site, are a perfect location to hike. While I was hiking I saw so many new plants and animals and it began to sink in that I was so far from home on an entirely new continent. It was an incredible feeling knowing I was going to be in this place for 3 months every day able to find and experience new things. The fact that this experience was so delayed however confused me. I had already been living here for a month and Sydney is a completely new city to me, much different from Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, and yet I had felt comfortable living there very quickly.

About 2 weeks after arriving I began to become comfortable with my daily commute, my apartment and my work. I settled into a routine during the week and the days began to fly by. It is amazing living, traveling, studying, and working in Sydney. I was surprised however that I adjusted so quickly to the city. The more I have thought about it I have started to attribute this to Globalization and “Americanization”.  Globalization, the process by which businesses or other organizations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale, can be seen almost everywhere. In Sydney, a very western city, globalization is present on an unprecedented scale. When I first arrived the city appeared very similar to many American cities and on its face it still does have many American features. There are many American businesses and products. In addition to this Sydney is such a diverse city, especially where I am staying near chinatown. This diversity is a wonderful way to experience a number of different cultures and makes it easy to fit into society, but can make it difficult to focus in on one culture. Given these factors I think it makes sense that I so easily adjusted to Sydney.

These points aside it is worth noting that a strong diverse Australian culture still exists. When I was in Katoomba, the town nearest the blue mountains, a more obvious stereotypical Australian presence was present, in contrast with the incredibly diverse city center. As I have spent more time in Sydney I have been able to differentiate between the cultures I see in my everyday life. It is great living in this diverse globally connected city, and over the coming weeks I look forward to continuing to integrate into the city.