Coming into this study abroad experience, I had very high expectations. This trip has more than lived up to it, helping me develop academically, professionally, and personally. The classes have given us a very hands on approach to learning the culture of Sydney by taking us on numerous field trips around the city, such as the Museum of Sydney and the Australian Reserve Bank. It is one thing to learn about a place’s culture from afar, but experiencing these things in person is very beneficial in immersing yourself in a city.
When I first arrived, it was a bit shocking to be in such a huge city with no prior knowledge of where I was going or how to get around. Over time, I have become very comfortable in Sydney. Having to take public transportation most places has been instrumental in establishing a level of familiarity with the city. I feel confident I could get anywhere I need to be in Sydney.
My internship has taken up a large amount of my time in Sydney. It was somewhat awkward at first going into and office knowing that I am only a part time worker for a few months, but that eventually melted away. It was difficult to establish a relationship with coworkers at first because I am only in the office for 20 hours a week, while most are here full time. Eventually after a few weeks, some familiarity was established and relationships began to open up. My coworkers were always very nice and friendly, asking about my various trips and about life in the States. Over time, we began to get lunch together some days and establish more of a friendship.
One challenge with my internship that I had to face was the field I was in. My supervisor is in the accounting division, and I have no experience with accounting in a workplace. It was difficult and slow to pick up at first, but after completing some easy tasks in the beginning I began to work myself up in difficulty as I learned more. If I had to give advice regarding the international internship, it would be to not rush anything. There will be plenty of time and opportunities to establish relationships with coworkers and a good dynamic with your manager. You will have ample opportunities to learn and develop your skills. Most of all, try to enjoy the experience. This is a once in a lifetime trip and the internship is there to help you succeed.