These past three months in Sydney have exceeded any expectations I had when studying abroad. Not only have I made incredible memories and lifelong friends, but I have learned so much about Australia and what it means to live and experience a global city.
One of the most shocking things about Sydney, Australia is how many other cultures and backgrounds people have. I have learned to appreciate different food, people and history in a way that I would not have been able to back home. While here, I joined a gym nearby in my neighborhood. During class one day, the coach pointed out that every single person there was from a different country–and no one was Australian! That moment was extremely powerful changed my perspective on how I saw Sydney.
Sydney is the most environmentally conscious city I have ever been emersed in. During my time here, it has been an extremely eye-opening and something that I hope to pursue further in my personal life and career goals. Sydney ranks 34th in the world for sustainability and first in Australia, which is important considering how many different ecosystems surround it. Within the city of Sydney, there are over 100 beaches, and it is full of coves, bays and rivers. Just north of Sydney lies the Blue Mountains, which is comprised of a range of mountains that extend from the Great Diving Range and the Wolgan Gap. Inside the park, there are over 400 fauna species including kangaroos’, dingo’s and swamp wallabies. With that in mind, it is vital for Sydney to help keep clean the beaches, water, and greenspace while working to improve the lives of its citizens.
One of the most inspiring trips I went on was through my environmental debates class. We visited a man and innovator named Michael Mobbs. He was the first ever environmental lawyer in Australia and has completely gone off the grid with his house right in the middle of Sydney. It was interesting and put life into perspective as he showed us around his house and told us about how much waste humans produce. In addition, he owns a company called “Cool Seats” which is a way for families, restaurants, and small businesses to compost their food right outside their building. In addition, it acts as a bench and a local garden. I found this extremely creative and multi-purposeful which has started to inspire me on with something I hope to pursue in the future.
It is hard to put in perspective how much I have appreciated and grown from this past semester in Sydney. I have been able to explore places and experience opportunities I never imagined, including concerts at the Sydney Opera House, hiking along the Bondi Beach coast or watching the World Cup with thousands of Socceroo fans. Not only has it inspired me to prioritize traveling in my life but it has showed me how much I hope to help others find this same passion for travel and learning new things.
I only have one more semester at The University of Pittsburgh and although I am sad about this chapter ending, I am excited more than ever about the future. Studying abroad how shown me that I can thrive in different places and new learning environments, and I want to take advantage of that. After graduating, I plan to do exactly that. I am extremely grateful for these past three months and will take away the things I have learned for the rest of my life.