My time in Sydney was life-changing and it’s a shame that my time there was cut short. I’m still thankful for the experiences I was able to have and the challenges I was able to overcome.
I would say one of the most difficult challenges I faced while in Sydney was having to manage my time in order to create a balanced schedule. After the initial honeymoon phase of being in a new country, the semester really got going for me. Classes began along with my 20 hour-a-week internship meaning my free time became very limited. My Mondays were filled with classes, and then my internship schedule had me working from Tuesday to Thursday. As I described in a previous blog post, my commute to my internship with the GWS Giants began at 6 am and ended at 5 pm. Fridays often involved homework and by the time the weekend came, I was so exhausted that I never really wanted to go travel around the city.
My lack of time management was probably the one thing I regret about my trip. I hadn’t had any previous experience with working while attending classes so I never realized how challenging this balancing act would be. If I was to do it all over again I would change how I approached my schedule. I would recommend to future study abroad students to make a plan each week of one thing you want to accomplish. This could be partaking in a fun activity or visiting a new part of the city. Hold yourself accountable for completing this plan at the start of your week. It will give you something to look forward to each week and when your journey is complete you can say you’ve taken every opportunity you had to have the best experience possible. This is something that I wish I had done and I think would have made my study abroad experience that much more enjoyable.
Even though my lack of time management was disappointing I’m still thankful for the transferable skills I can take away from this adventure. My understanding of the importance of managing one’s time is definitely something I can transfer to the working world. I’d also say that my customer service and communication skills have vastly improved from this experience. My internship with the GWS Giants had me answering calls from customers who needed my help to solve their problems. As the weeks progressed, I became more and more comfortable answering these calls, solving people’s problems, and communicating with strangers in general. I used these skills around the city in Sydney as well. I found the best way to travel and navigate a large city like Sydney was by simply asking locals. It’s something I would recommend future study abroad students try to do. Speaking over the phone or on the streets with Australians occasionally led to really interesting conversations. These interactions enriched my experience abroad as I gained some perspectives from other people’s viewpoints. My newfound ease in holding a conversation is something that I also believe will translate very well to future internship or career opportunities.Even though my time in Sydney was cut short, I enjoyed every minute I had. There are countless memories from this adventure that I will never forget. To future study abroad students, I would say take advantage of the free time you have and don’t be afraid to drift outside your comfort zone, but maybe steer clear of the Vegemite because it’s not good.