Cheers from Sydney!

Jessie Lovallo

Jessie LoVallo

Global Business Institute: Sydney

Spring 2023

Hello, my name is Jessie Lovallo! I am a junior at the University of Pittsburgh studying Finance and Accounting. I am from Buffalo, New York, and have lots of pride in my hometown. I consider myself an above-average student as I have always cared about trying my best in every class and gaining the respect of my professors. Although I am a dedicated student, I also understand that life deserves balance. I value spending time with my friends and family as my first priority. The people I care about in my life have shaped me to be a better person, while also allowing me to be my true authentic self. My experience at Pitt has connected me to a group of amazing people that understand me and support me. I believe they will be in my life forever. Through the development of our friendship, a few of us found a shared passion for studying abroad. I brought up the idea of Australia because my older brother raved about the experience he had a couple of years prior. He graduated from Pitt in 2020 and continued to convince me this was by far his most memorable and life-changing experience. With his persuasion, I decided to follow in his footsteps and I even got lucky enough to have my five best friends eager to join me. I have never been out of the country or even traveled farther than Florida. I feel as though I haven’t had enough world exposure as I want to at this point in my life. It is important for me that I gain some more perspective on the world before I enter post-graduation life. My main goal for this program is to develop some perspective as well as immerse myself in a new culture while continuing to study business. I chose Sydney specifically due to it being a global city that has many different cultures from all over the world. It is also a business-focused city that will hopefully open up opportunities for me to understand the business culture in a different country.

After only being here for a few weeks, I have already discovered so many differences between the US and here. Although it is similar to the US because of the English speaking, it is very different due to Sydney being a very global city filled with all different cultures. My apartment building is great and has shown to be at the epicenter of Darling Harbour. I live only a minute walk to the harbour, which has been extremely packed with people because of the Lunar New Year. We live in the heart of China Town, which has been great for the different food options but can be an obstacle when ordering food due to a language barrier. We arrived at the perfect time in order to celebrate the Lunar New Year because there were so many fireworks every night and even a water show on the harbour. The neighborhood is very different than my Oakland neighborhood back in Pittsburgh. It feels very family oriented and therefore very safe. The parents let their children roam all about with no doubt about their safety. It is very different from Pittsburgh and New York where I feel there is way more safety precaution because of the higher rates of crime that happen daily. Adding to that, there is no worry about guns here, which gives a very different feeling than America. The police cannot even carry a weapon, which is so appalling to me. 

I am very fortunate to say that I love my new roommates and we have all gotten along very well so far. I live with three of my friends from Pittsburgh, along with three new roommates that are sweethearts. Everyone in my apartment has made adjusting to this new living situation much easier and I feel we have already developed a strong support system among one another. The physical apartment itself is also very nice and clean. The style and layout made it feel at first similar to a hotel, but I have already adapted to calling it home. The most interesting thing about the apartment is the fact that we must keep our key card in a slot in order for the electricity to work. This was the first thing to show me how much more sustainable this city is than back home. Sydney’s streets are very clean, with little to no garbage anywhere. It is very rare to see any mice or garbage, which feels refreshingly different than Pittsburgh. I have already adapted to environmental responsibility since being here, so I hope I continue to possess that mindset when returning. 

So far, we have made the most of every day that we can. I have been to many beautiful beaches: Manly, Bondi, Coogee, and Bronte. My favorite so far has been Manly because it takes a scenic ferry for the commute there. It also has many cute shops and places to eat. Bondi was gorgeous but very crowded and overwhelming. It also took a bus, train, and light rail to get there, so it is not an ideal beach trip. Coogee was pretty calm and relaxing, but my favorite part was the Coogee Pavillion with the beautiful view of the shore. Bronte Beach was also incredible because I went to the swimming pool early in the morning which was connected to the ocean. It was so cool to watch all the surfers and made me eager to try surfing soon, regardless of my nerves. Besides beach days, I have made an attempt to try a new cafe every day. Another major difference from the US is that Starbucks is very frowned upon here. Instead of a Starbucks on every corner, there is a locally-owned cafe every few steps. Ordering coffee here is even different. For example, an “iced long black” is equivalent to ordering an American in the states. Also, an “iced coffee” at the majority of cafes means that they put a scoop of ice cream in the coffee, which was very strange to find out. So far, I have enjoyed the cafes and the baristas are all very friendly. We made it onto two boat cruises so far that provided the best views of the harbour. My favorite architecture so far is obviously the Sydney Opera House. Every time I pass by it, my admiration for the building grows. Most recently, we have gone to a concert in Olympic Park at Accor Stadium. It was a huge venue that hosted Post Malone and Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was an amazing show and made me realize how grateful I truly am to be living in this city and having all these amazing experiences. I am looking forward to more exciting adventures with old and new friends and updating this blog post on the details. Thank you for reading this, cheers!!