It feels so surreal that I have been living in Australia for just shy of a month now! I have been enjoying my time abroad so much and it makes me sad to think about leaving soon. What has surprised me the most thus far is how adjusted I have become to my new neighborhood and home. Last week a woman stopped me on the sidewalk and asked for directions to Central Station, the main train station. Thankfully, I go to that train station to get to my internship, so I was able to point her in the right direction! This moment was the first time I really felt at home here. This week is the halfway mark of my classes and internship here in Sydney. Three weeks down, three more to go! I felt like this would be a good time to look back on my expectations for the program prior to departure and also reflect on my experiences thus far.
I am about three weeks into my internship with the GWS Giants. The workforce in Australia is much more laid back than it is back in the US. I have already gotten close to my manager, Reece, and the head of our department, Carly. I think the biggest culture shock I have experienced thus far was when I heard both Reece and Carly curse on my first day in the office. I was initially very shocked and taken aback, but I quickly learned that kind of behavior is quite common in the Australian workplace. Hopefully, this can be the one thing I do not take back with me, as it is highly frowned upon in American workplaces! Like I mentioned before, I am in the Sports Marketing program. I expected to go into my internship on the first day and be in the Marketing department, but my internship placement is actually with Membership and Ticketing department. Although I am not gaining direct experience in Marketing, I am still gaining valuable communication and customer service skills. I will be able to take the skills I have learned back home and utilize them for the rest of my professional career. This position has helped to grow my personal confidence and public speaking skills as well, as we are constantly calling and speaking to perspective members. Initially, I was a little disappointed that I was not in the Marketing department, but I now see the vast personal, professional and academic skills I will be able to take with me back home.
Although the courses aren’t too challenging, the assignments do require a decent amount of time and effort. I am taking Sports Marketing and A Global Internship Workshop, the supplement to my internship. Although neither course has exams (yay), they both assign multiple assignments, larger than any I have done at Pitt. I know that this program is only 6-weeks, so the courses have to be condensed which means moving at a faster pace and less time to complete assignments. If I am being honest, I was not expecting this much work from my classes, especially on top of the required 20 hours a week in my internship. Thankfully, I have been able to manage my time well and complete all my coursework while also being able to explore Sydney and travel! Speaking of travel, I just got home from New Zealand this morning!
Sydney celebrates the Queen’s Birthday on Monday, June 10th so classes were cancelled, and work was closed. We thought this would be the perfect opportunity to make the most of being across the world and spend our long weekend in New Zealand! I went with three friends that I met here: Chiara, Emily and Angelina. We spent the weekend exploring Auckland, New Zealand’s business district and even got to take the ferry over to Waiheke Island to explore there, too! Like I have mentioned so many times before, I am forever grateful for this experience and cannot believe it is almost over.