Traveling, Adjusting and Learning While Down Under

From my experience so far, everything here is very casual both in and out of the classroom. Everyone is very nice, approachable, and are always willing to help! I enjoy attending all of my classes and learning about the past and current day Australia. One of my favorite components of my classes are the field trips we take. So far, I have been to two museums in Sydney and did a tour of Chinatown. During this tour,  I learned about how Chinatown was created, the symbolism behind some of the art pieces as well as got plenty of food recommendations! I have more field trips approaching for the rest of the semester, such as touring Olympic Park and attending some sporting events. The classes I am taking are Analyzing the Global City, Australian History, Intercultural Communications and Sports Marketing. All of my classes are extremely interactive and also correlate with each other.  We often talk about how Australia was colonized, the events that have led up to make Sydney that city it is today, and the aspects that make it a global city and business hub. Taking these classes was definitely an adjustment from the ones I have previously taken at Pitt. This is because I have all four classes only once a week for 2 ½ hours or 3 ½ hours. Since classes are long, it is easy to doze off and get a little fidgety. To help with this, participating is key to help make the class go by faster as well as make it more fun! Each class has a lecture, group work, and class discussion aspect to make the class more engaging which I find extremely helpful. 

To help adapt to this change in environment, I have found it useful to take plenty of notes throughout class. This helps me stay focused on what we are discussing and is also useful to look back on for homework and tests. It is also helpful to ask plenty of questions and make sure you are communicating if you are ever confused. Since I am in a new country, what is common knowledge to those from Australia may be completely new information to me, so it is important to always stay curious and be engaged in each conversation held. 

In order to leverage your Clifton strengths to be successful in this program, I believe it is all about effort. Ultimately, what you put in is what you get out of this program. If you intend on studying abroad, absorb as much information as you can by taking notes, attending events, starting conversations with your teachers, peers, mentors, as well as interacting with the locals to get as much out of your experience as you can. In order to further enhance your strengths, I would write down your goals personally, professionally and academically so you are able to hold yourself accountable to your goals. When creating your goals  don’t compare yourself to your peers! You are all on different journeys of your life and it is ok to do everything at a slower pace if needed. Just make sure you are enjoying every second along the way of achieving each goal!

I have greatly enjoyed my time in the classroom and in the city and cannot wait for where I go next! 


Mariah Smith