Although there is a stereotype of Australians being laid-back, lying on the beach and barefoot, it couldn’t be further from the truth (well at least during the work week). Australians are hard workers and there is an expectation for me and the other students to get our work done in a timely fashion. Being “on-time” to class means being fifteen minutes early. Also, classes are structured a bit different than Pitt as well, with classes being once a week for 3 ½ hours. It is a resourceful way to get all of our classwork done while still having part of our day to explore.
Since I had been planning to study abroad since sophomore year, I saved a lot of my elective courses to do now. A lot of my classes are relevant to Australia and their culture which has been a great way to learn about the country. My favorite classes so far are Environmental Debates and Australian Politics. The environment in Australia is an extremely important issue in the country considering all of the wildlife, geographic features and the coral reefs. One of the biggest issues they are facing right now is coral bleaching in The Great Barrier Reef.
My international finance course is online through the London CAPA study abroad. Navigating this class was a bit difficult at first because of the time zone differences. I was still traveling when the first class happened and every other week the class is at 2am Australian time! Luckily, I have been in constant contact with my professor, and we have been able to work out a solution for me. It is pretty incredible that I’m a student at Pitt, studying abroad in Sydney and taking a class from London!
The best way I have been able to navigate my coursework is going to a different place to do work. About a 2-minute walk from our housing is a new building with a library in it called Darling Harbour. My favorite place to go to is the Library of New South Wales. It is an absolutely gorgeous building with artwork, beautiful architecture and people from all over gathering to study.
Currently, I am still working part time for the company I worked at this summer. With the 14-hour time zone difference, I have had late night meetings or work early in the morning. On addition to school, working can sometimes be stressful. The past two weeks have been a good time to help me get adjusted and work out a daily schedule. I have learned to be organized with my calendar and prioritize time management skills. Luckily, I have all the resources I need at CAPA and reaching out to my advisor at Pitt.