With any new start in my life – the new year, a new semester, or a new adventure – I always map out a few goals that I hope to accomplish. When I first came to Sydney, I came with no expectations. I wanted to be open to all opportunities and enjoy life without limiting myself. Although I had no expectations, I had a list of goals.
When studying abroad, it is easy to get lost in the new environment and neglect academics. Most students who have studied abroad in the past, or who are currently studying abroad, can attest to this. Although many of my friends from home are convinced that I am not taking classes based off the pictures I send them, I can assure you that the courses I am taking are very important to me. Being a Pitt CBA student, I know how important it is to understand business on a global level. My main academic goal while in Sydney, is to grasp international business better by being immersed in a new culture. My International Marketing and Managing Global Supply Chain courses are key players in this goal. Since Australia has no language barrier and has many similarities to the United States, I was unsure if I would acquire all the international skills that I hoped to gain. After living and studying in Sydney for quite some time now, I have to admit that I was totally wrong. Sydney is filled with many diverse cultures and truly is the definition of a global city. Through my classes, I have gained insight on how to conduct business in many different global markets, not just Australia. From living in the city and interacting with the diverse community, I have been able to participate in an array of cultural traditions and try various new cuisines.
Personal growth is another very significant part of studying abroad. Spending a whole semester in a different country, emerging yourself in different cultures and traditions, and traveling shapes a person. I had a few personal goals set for myself when coming abroad, and I am happy to say that I am on track to achieve them. My number one goal was to be open to anything. I wanted to take as many opportunities as I could, say yes to almost anything, and be adaptable in all situations. It is really hard to have a strict and rigid mindset while abroad. In almost all situations, you need to be easy going. For example, you will gain a whole new set of friends when you go abroad. The main thing that you will all have in common, is your desire to see the world from new perspectives. It is really important to go with the flow and take on new challenges when exploring a new city with new friends; it allows you to enjoy your time so much more. Another goal of mine was to become more independent while abroad. Although it is amazing to make new friends and travel to new places with them, I knew that I also wanted to grow individually. Taking time to reflect on yourself while abroad is a great way to achieve this. I keep a daily journal to help me with this goal. My journal doubles as both a place to keep memories for my future self and a place to reflect on the choices I make and lessons I am learning in Sydney.
Overall, my advice to anyone who plans to study abroad, is to not limit yourself and to take chances even if they scare you. Creating a list of goals that you hope to accomplish is a great start to any new adventure.