My Study Abroad Expectations

When I applied for college a few years ago, one of the most important considerations for me was quality of study abroad programs available.  As study abroad was one of the things I was most looking forward to in college, I had high hopes for my experience abroad.  Prior to departure, I was expecting a number of things to happen academically, professionally, and personally.  From an academic perspective, I wanted to take the opportunity to take courses outside of my major that I would not have the opportunity to take back at home.  With rigid major requirements it would be difficult to accomplish this goal while also remaining on track to graduate, so when I found out I could fill other requirements while also taking interesting classes, I was very excited.  Professionally, I was eager to learn more about accounting and business in an actual work setting.  I had never worked in my field of study before, so I was expecting to learn many things about my major.  As mentioned in previous blogs I was not quite sure what to expect task wise for my internship, as I have heard many great internship stories as well as many stories of interns fetching coffee.  Personally, as a Pittsburgh native I have never lived away from home, and studying abroad in one of the furthest possible locations from Pittsburgh is a great way to quickly gain valuable life experience.  I was a bit nervous about living alone, especially because I had very little experience cooking food.  While many students went through the transition of living on their own after arriving at college, I really did not have that experience quite yet.  In addition to living on my own, I was incredibly excited to see a part of the world I otherwise would almost never have the opportunity to see.  Many bucket list items reside in the region, such as the Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, and the mountains of New Zealand.  Over the course of the trip, some of my expectations were accurate and some were not.  Academically, my goal of learning about another country and its culture was fulfilled.  Professionally, my expectations were shattered and I had an amazing experience working closely with an Australian startup.  Personally, I was able to function on my own by navigating a foreign city, cooking my own food, and maintaining personal responsibility.  I also was able to experience so many fantastic places including the three bucket list items previously mentioned.  Overall, I think my expectations for study abroad were reasonable, and after reflecting I am able to better appreciate my time in Sydney.